What do you mean to your customers?


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There’s been a lot written in many corners about the need to tell a compelling “story” about your brand. At its heart, a unique, believable story provides a great way to make a brand more “human” and more relatable to people.

While many brands are taking this advice to heart, one thing that often sets them back is that they believe the story they are crafting needs to start with the brand, product or service. But in reality, any compelling story, whether you are writing a short story, screenplay or creating a narrative for a brand, starts with the audience you’re trying to persuade. We start with the audience’s needs, desires and experiences. Then truthfully communicate how our brand is an integral part of that story.

By way of example, I’d like to share this American Airlines ad from the 1960’s that sold the idea of First Class Business Travel. First class travel for business was (and is) a hard sell—tickets could be three or four times as much as ordinary coach travel. How could a company possibly justify paying such a premium for what most CFO’s would understandably view as a commodity?


American Airlines went about it by telling a story about the importance of “freeing the businessman from the usual annoyances” so he or she could concentrate on “winning the battle.” Reading the copy from this well-worn tear sheet (which I’ve been toting around for a few decades now) is next to impossible, so I’ve transcribed it here:

“Why generals have always had a tent of their own.

(Thoughts on first class travel – a series by American Airlines.)

It is not because rank hath its privileges. The reason is much simpler.

The man who’s supposed to be thinking about the battle needs a place to do it in.

It’s the same with the extra service that a general gets. The idea is to free him from the usual annoyances so he can concentrate on getting the war won.

These are also the reasons a man with business on his mind flies first class.

The privacy, the roominess, the comfort and the over-all atmosphere ease the burden of travel for men under pressure.

Business travelers have been the mainstay of our company for some 25 yeas. Fully 86% of all air trips are strictly for business. And our first class service emerged as the result of this.

It was not designed for the so-called carriage trade, and it is not an investment in luxury.

It’s an investment in the man who gets off the plane.

If you would like to know more about the habits and patterns of the business traveler, please write to: Director, Bureau of Travel Analysis, American Airlines, Inc., 633 Third Ave., New York 17, N.Y.”

Was this ad successful? Truthfully, I have no idea. But I have to believe the story a business traveler gets from this ad would mean a heck of a lot more than a photo of the airline’s airport lounge or a claim that its seats are six inches wider than coach seats. He or she would get the idea that this airline respects what I do, and it actually delivers on ways to make my life easier.

In other words, when your create your brand story, don’t forget the main character.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mickey Lonchar
Mickey Lonchar has spent the better part of two decades creating award-winning advertising with agencies up and down the West Coast, Mickey currently holds the position of creative director with Quisenberry Marketing & Design, a full-service advertising and interactive shop with offices in Spokane and Seattle, Wash.


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