In this book, one of a series I have already reviewed, Seth discusses the power of stories and how both marketers and the people they market to tell themselves these stories.
The first section is devoted to explaining the how and why that this phenomena works. Seth suggests that telling ourselves stories is one of our oldest cultural traditions. He also suggests that telling a story isn’t a bad thing.
One memorable scene for me was when he was describing a tea chop he was sitting in: how the cup clacked against the stone table just so, the lighting, the soft music, the smells, the old dog under a counter whining softly. Then he told us that the tea he was drinking was a third of the cost across the street, but that wasn’t the point. The TEA wasn’t the product. The STORY was. That story was of the orient, of luxury, or traveling to another place. It was a story of how one wants to feel when drinking a cup of tea.
And in that thought, the extra price was worth every penny.
Seth thankfully also talks a bit about weasel marketers who lie for their own gain and to the detriment of their so-called customers, like when Nestle sold their powdered milk formula to Africa explaining it was healthier than breast milk and the resulting diluting of the milk powder and using of infected water caused an increase in baby deaths when sticking with breastfeeding wouldn’t have.
There is a power in telling a story and selling it to those who want it, but it is a great power that must be used with responsibility.
Another in a long line of great Seth Godin books. Pick it up after you’ve read some of his other basics like Purple Cow.