Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Coming Back From The Dead

Dodging heavy gunfire, Neo races up a fire escape and into a motel in search of room 303, the exit out of the Matrix. He makes a dash toward his salvation and kicks in the door. But there stands agent Smith who empties his gun into Neo’s chest.

Back in reality, Trinity is watching Neo’s life drain away. She then leans over and whispers the Oracle’s words in his ear, “She told me I’d fall in love. And that the man I loved… would be the One.” She then presses her lips onto his, miraculously bringing Neo back to life.

If only it was possible to do the same with companies!

Well, there is one company who rescued its air freshener from going belly up, Procter & Gamble (PG).

PG originally pitched Febreze to people with smelly homes: smokers and pet owners. The American multinational thought its stink-destroyer was going to be a bestseller.

But months afters its launch, the air freshener acted like a shoddy store shelf decoration.

Stumped, PG started interviewing people who belonged to their target audience and came to a startling realisation: people who smell bad are completely desensitised to their own stench.

In other words, mister and misses Stink aren’t motivated to freshen up their clothes and homes.

Convinced there were people who would like Febreze, PG brought in the experts. And after much pondering the think tank zero’d in on their star customer: the neat freak.

People mad about cleaning apparently not only want a clean house, but a house that smells clean. So PG killed the bad odor story and advertised Febreze as the reward for cleaning your home.

“Once it’s dry, nothing is left but the smell of clean.”

Now the air freshener was flying off the shelves, generating hundreds of millions of dollars.

If anything, Febreze’s revival is proof that a good story is critical. So even if your service’s value is great, nobody cares if it’s missing a story.

In fact, without a story, your value is as good as dead.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach