Launching with Story

Saturn V Rocket LaunchJust as the success of a story depends on how engaged the listeners are, a business launch is as exciting as the customer believes it to be. Because stories drive 60% of conversation, the thrust around your organization’s appeal and excitement to the customer hinges on your ability to tell its story. When preparing a new product or service launch, a smart company will tap into the tastes and cravings of its customer base with an appetizing story. The following are four questions to ask to make the launch successful with a good story that ignites the conversation and gets your target audience excited.

What is the Single Focused Goal of the Story?

It is important that before your company roll out the launch, it is very clear why people should care. Show in a fantastic way how your product or service will make your customer’s lives better. This can be as comparatively simple as a campaign that donates a pair of Tom’s shoes for every purchase, or the elaborate launch of the new BMW Z series a James Bond movie.

Why Would Someone Pay Attention?

Launching a product or service should create a sense of surprise. The story surrounding your product should invoke a “have to be there” feeling. Demonstrate the impact with a protagonist and a challenge. Steve Jobs did this successfully when introducing the iPod, “The coolest thing about iPod is you can take your entire music library with you right in your pocket.”

Why Would the Audience Care About It?

When your launch is a multi-faceted story that invokes senses, emotion and desire, you will engage the customer at their core. Make the story something that the customer wants to be a part of. This could be through grass-roots events leading to a climax, guest speakers or a cause they believe in and cannot miss being a part of. The effect of an incomplete launch is an untrusting, disingenuous feeling, much like Phillip Morris changing to the Altria Group amidst tobacco lawsuits.

Why Would Someone Share It?

Your story is a success when it is retold again and again. Amplifying your story via word of mouth, between friends is the best way to get messages out and to evangelize your brand. This could be as ornate as a high budget video with a celebrity or as simple as a photo graphic that followers could share. You can build virality into your business with a mechanism that requires sharing in the product or service model. For example, jeweler Tiffany & Co. shares different definitions of love and invites customers to share their perspectives and personal stories.


Based on material from the book, The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change. Jennifer Aaker covers use of story in business in her new Stanford Innovation & Entrepreneurship course, The Power of Stories to Fuel Innovation. Learn more about bringing the power of story to your business.