In Search of the Purple Squirrel

The Marketing Power of a Story

The other day I was talking with a friend. Not about marketing, just about relationships and the stuff of everyday life.

I made an offhand comment which caused her to stop and ask a question. I said, “You know, there’s a story there.”

To which she laughed and replied, “It’s always a story with you.”


Stories are the way by which human beings relate to one another. Stories make it easier to remember facts and information and to associate with the world around us.

Stories are also the key to good marketing.

If you walk up to ten people and try to sell them something, chances are you’ll get to see the backs of ten people’s heads. But if you walk up to ten people and tell them a story, most of them will stick around at least long enough to find out if your story is interesting or relevant to them. A few may still vanish after deciding it’s not but some will stick around for your story.

In order to sell to strangers, you need several things:

  • A crowd of properly targeted people who may actually be interested in your story and/or your product.
  • A story they will be interested in listening to.
  • A product or service that has a logical tie-in with the story you tell.

A well crafted story, and a product or service that has a logical tie-in to that story, is the key to selling to strangers.

Your story could be about the product itself, about the company that makes it, about people who have benefited from its use or about the need for the product in the world.

With a good enough product and a compelling story, price almost doesn’t matter.

So tell me a good story…

Simple Isn’t the Only Route to Effective

mcdonalds-logoCommon wisdom has it that, to be effective, a logo must be graphically clean and simple.

Granted, a much higher percentage of clean and simple logos are found to be effective at promoting their brands than complex logos.

nike_logoSome of the cleanest logos are so effective, you don’t even need to see the whole thing in order for the logo to do its job of connecting you with the brand it represents.

Or the logo can even be highly stylized and still be instantly recognizable.

USMC_logo1None of  this means that more complex logos are inherently less effective than their simpler counterparts.

For instance, the United States Marine Corps has a fairly complex logo that still enjoys a very high degree of recognizability.

USMC_logo2Even when stylized, it still retains its core essence and its ability to represent the Marine Corps brand.

So when it comes to logos and branding, the keep it simple mantra isn’t always so… simple.

Delaware Produce Exchange

Pears in my back yard

A lot of people have small backyard gardens or herb gardens in pots.

It’s typically the case that you grow more than you can use of certain kinds of produce and of course no one grows everything they would like to eat.

Enter the Delaware Produce Exchange!

This absolutely free online resource is intended to help small farmers and backyard gardeners buy, sell and trade their excess produce, cuttings, seeds and whole plants.

For example, once my plants start producing I fully intend to list items and hope to find people interested in trading with me. Currently in my small back yard I am growing:

  • four different kinds of apple trees
  • two different kinds of peach trees
  • two different kinds of pear trees
  • an almond tree
  • four different kinds of grape vines
  • three different kinds of raspberry bushes
  • two different kinds of blackberry bushes
  • two different kinds of blueberry bushes
  • four different kinds of strawberry bushes
  • a lemon tree
  • a fig tree
  • spinach
  • four different kinds of lettuce
  • two different kinds of tomatoes
  • green beans
  • peas
  • carrots
  • aloe
  • two different kinds of mint
  • chives
  • scallions
  • an assortment of different herbs

Grapes in my back yard

As if all that weren’t enough, at her own house, my fiance is growing:

  • two more different kinds of blueberry bushes
  • a third kind of raspberry bush
  • an orange tree
  • a kiwi tree
  • four different kinds of mint
  • two different kinds of Swiss chard
  • two different kinds of tomatoes
  • aloe
  • three different kinds of basil
  • chives
  • scallions
  • an assortment of herbs
  • an assortment of edible flowers

All of this stuff is organic and obviously it will be WAY more than our combined families can possibly eat.

Granted, some of the plants are still small. Some are immature and will yield only handfuls of fruit. (Of course that situation will change over time.) Even now though, there is just no way we can make use of it all.

With all this produce, you can see why we started the Produce Exchange. We will freeze some of what we grow. We’ll also eat some, dry some, can some and probably even sell some. We’d also love to trade some for other things we are not growing or that we won’t get enough of from our own plants.

So if you live in or around Delaware, check out the Produce Exchange. You can read postings as our guest but will need to register to write your own postings or respond to others. It’s absolutely 100% free and there is no obligation of any kind.

Come trade with us!

I am launching a new website,, dedicated to non-grape winemaking.

Photo credit: Emiliano De Laurentiis for iSante magazine.

I love traditional grape-based wines as much as anyone. In fact, I grow several varieties of grapevines. I also have many varieties of berries, orchard fruits, flowers, herbs and vegetables.

So what else to do but begin experimenting with making wine from the abundance of my own back yard?!

And of course, I want to have a way of sharing my experiences with others. Tell people who are interested what tastes good, what tastes bad, tricks to make things easier and resources for getting started.

And so was born.

If you have any interest in wine, especially in wine making or in non-grape wines, go check it out. And tell a friend or two!


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