BOOK REVIEW: “Meaningful: The story of ideas that fly” by Bernadette Jiwa
Bernadette Jiwa‘s Meaningful: The story of ideas that fly is another brilliant work from a gifted business thinker.
Like Anthony Ulwick, Jiwa insists that marketing starts with the customer’s story – and that our job as marketers is to “compete for meaning.” Great businesses are founded on the truth and that marketing is the art of telling a story that moves people to act, and not merely a tactic to sell stuff. It’s about finding ways to create meaning and making people feel something, rather than making them do what you want them to do in the short term.
Her message is that “meaningful” does not just apply to “do-good” non-profits, but that every business is in the meaning business. Without meaning, your products and services are commodities.
In a twist that goes against the current obsession with technology, Jiwa dares to assert that “data analytics can’t always measure what matters most.” Instead, she states, “the difference between a good idea and a commercial success is context—the understanding about who the product or service is for, what they really want deep down and why they will care about this, more than that. We spend most of our time trying to make people love things, when we should be simply making things people love.”
But what separates this book from the rest is Jiwa’s talent for giving the reader a practical tool to use. Meaningful introduces “The Story Strategy Blueprint,” a framework to follow when developing or marketing a new product or service.
The Story Strategy Blueprint ensures that the needs and wants of your customer remain front and center as you develop products and services and make plans to bring those ideas to life. The Story Strategy Blueprint helps you hone in on what matters to your customer and commit resources to making something people want, instead of having to work out how to make people want something.
Here’s how it works:
STEP 1. STORY
Think about who the customer is beyond the basic demographic information. Describe a day in her life. What is her worldview? What matters? What problems does she encounter?
STEP 2. INSIGHT
What does she want to do, but can’t? What can you do to help her? What opportunities are there to make a real difference?
STEP 3. PRODUCT
What features and benefits will help solve your customers’ problem? How will using your product make the customer feel?
STEP 4. EXPERIENCE
What has changed for the customer once they use your product? How do you want the customer to experience your product?
The dotted line represents the failure of companies to use the insights they have about their customers and to build something genuinely useful for them.
A meaningful example in the book is the NIKE Flyease – a shoe made at the request of Matthew Walzer, a sixteen year-old with cerebral palsy.
Jenny Cheung is a freelance marketer and project manager based in Texas.