Starbucks tells a story


Great example: Starbucks’ Black Apron Exlcusive (TM) coffees. This is Starbucks’ limited edition selection of fine coffees. Packaged, presented, pitched, and priced at a premium.

But listen to this description of the newest coffee brand, Elephant Kinjia:


High on the western slopes of Mount Oldeani, an extinct volcano, grows the intensely flavorful Elephant Kinjia coffee. Complex and refined, Elephant Kinjia has an acidity and flavor marked with wonderful black currant notes and a chocolatey finish. Elephant Kinjia owes its name to the paths, or kinjia in Swahili, that were set aside on the estate for elephants and other migratory animals to pass through on their way to the nearby Ngorongoro Crater.

If you’re a coffee lover, how can you not buy this?

Starbucks is illustrating marketing guru Seth Godin’s point about storytelling. They’re telling us a story so we can tell that story to ourselves and each other (like I’m doing now). True though it is, it’s a “lie” we use to justify the extra expense of what is almost virtually the same coffee Starbucks sells in a less expensive bag.

I’ve tried these “Black Label” brands and I can’t tell the difference between them and the regular Starbucks coffees. That doesn’t mean the difference isn’t there. I think it is. But I can’t taste it. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter. Because the way I feel when I buy it, make it, and drink it makes it worth every (extra) penny.

What does this have to do with Radio?

How you tell a story about your station has a lot to do with how your station is received.

No matter how “true” your story is, if it sounds boring your station will be boring. If it sounds thrilling, your station will thrill.

But beware: More ear candy, more noise, more tempo, more “excitement” is not more story. It’s only more blah-blah. We too often substitute exciting production for compelling stories just as we too often mistake “trying” to be funny with actually being funny.

So what’s your station’s story? Is it magnetic? Is it fascinating? Is it buzz-worthy?

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