Mentor Mornings: Stories That Sell

cartoon drawing of Ted speaking before an audience

Back in my Leonhardt Group days, when I was selling brand design, I often used personal experiences to help our clients understand the power of our work. Stories, I found, could breathe life into what was otherwise is a pretty dry subject. Design, is of tremendous interest to designers, but most clients don’t find the discussion of the imagery, that communicates brand messages quite so engaging. So I used short personal stories to illustrate the power brand design had to connect on an emotional level. I used stories to describe how brand design made people feel. Stories that showed how design invoked emotional attributes that are the foundation of all great brands.

I tried to use experiences that might be similar to their own. Experiences that are warm, human and inviting. Experiences that teach by example. Using these experiences, I found is far more effective than describing process or reciting case studies.

Here’s one of my favorites:

It was a beautiful summer beginning. A light breeze. Bored, I slipped out of the house and wandered up the street. School had been out for a few days, maybe a week. Not long enough to slip into a summer routine. With nothing to do and idleness on my mind I headed to the corner store. The neighbor’s dog trotted along with me. I was about eight.

There was a group of the big boys sitting on the steps in the sun talking, chewing Double Bubble and drinking Coke. One of them handed me a Coke and moved over so I could sit and join the group. I felt like I’d been accepted into the secret inner society of men.

My love of Coke the brand cemented on that day. Coke became a symbol of summer companionship, acceptance, maybe even love. Sugary soft drinks were not allowed in my house making the impact of the taste and the moment that much more powerful. I don’t expect that it was my first sip, but it was a taste of a special kind of power; the power of being part of the gang.

I don’t order a Coke often. But when I do, I remember that beautiful day when Coke came to mean so much to me.

Bring your own story

 If you’ve used stories to sell bring one of your favorites to tell the group. Or, bring your own story of how one of your favorite bands wormed its way into your heart. Please keep it to three minutes or less.

That’s our topic for Saturday’s Mentor Morning gathering aboard De Anza. Come prepared with your story. Together, we’ll discuss and compare notes on how to sell with personal vignettes.


  • September 30, 2017
    10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Location:   The De Anza III

Venue Phone: (206) 914-8338

Address:
4507 Shilshole Ave NW, Seattle, Washington, 98117, United States