How stories sell products
Entrepreneurs often wonder at some point in their lives why so few people buy their products. More often than not, this leads to the realization that they might be investing too little in marketing. Unfortunately, even the best product, when not presented correctly to the intended target audience, is condemned to obscurity or, at the very least, a disappointing return on investment. However, the absence of an ad campaign isn’t the sole reason for low sales. I’ll illustrate this with my personal experience of buying perfume.
Adriana Arjona, the face of the Armani product, was unknown to me until then, but she embodied my ideal of beauty. Her makeup, eyebrows, hair, and style were “mine,” so I decided that this perfume would suit me. As for Hugo Boss and Lancome, their ambassadors, Emma Roberts and Zendaya, were famous actresses with very different appearances. Yet, both of them inspired my style and had acted in movies I’d watched countless times.
Another reason for my interest was the story presented in the commercials. They featured strong women who knew what they wanted in life, enjoyed every moment, and, most importantly, lived life on their terms. Perhaps the intended message behind the commercials differed, but that’s how I interpreted it. Consequently, I associated the selected perfumes with my character and life, visually aligning them with my ideal of beauty. Despite not knowing how they smelled, I was convinced that one of them would be mine. I was even worried about what I would do if I didn’t like the scent, as I was so convinced that I wanted it.
When the stores finally reopened, I visited Sephora for the long-awaited scent test and purchase. To my surprise, the scents were nice but quite average. I had gone there with the expectation that they would be extraordinary and unique, reflecting the belief that my life is one of a kind. This led me to spend 30 minutes in Sephora, sampling other perfumes. My frustration grew with each new scent, and surprisingly, with each passing minute as none of the staff offered assistance. Frustrated and unsatisfied, I left the store. Driven by my task-oriented nature, I decided to try my luck at Douglas.
Douglas had a smaller perfume section, which I greeted with relief. I started trying the beautiful bottles one by one, rejecting those I had already sampled at Sephora. However, I still found nothing extraordinary. Just as I was considering resampling the three original scents, a store clerk approached. We engaged in a conversation, and then I returned to the perfume bottles. I picked up My Way and discovered it had a lovely, strong jasmine note that I had previously overlooked. Encouraged by this discovery, I revisited Idol and Alive. They still seemed mediocre, but at that moment, another store clerk approached. She skillfully used a sales technique: she started asking me for my opinions on each fragrance and left me alone to contemplate them. As it turns out, expressing thoughts aloud often alters our perceptions compared to keeping them confined to our minds.
Recalling the commercial featuring the beautiful Adriana Arjona traveling the world, savoring every moment, dancing, laughing, and engaging with people, I felt a connection. It embodied the idea that life is about living it on one’s terms. It resonated with my belief that it doesn’t matter what you have, but who you are. It’s about living life to the fullest, the way you want, not the way others expect you to. That’s “my way.” The song in the commercial played a significant role as well, repeating the lines: “If you’re ready, heart is open. I’ll be waiting, come find me. If you’re searching for forever, I’ll be waiting, come find me.” Remembering this commercial, hearing the music in my head, and seeing the beautiful Adriana Arjona, I felt that this partly reflected my life and how I wished it to be. Something clicked – in my heart, my mind, and eventually, my wallet. I made the purchase.
I’m not naive enough to think that perfumes will transform my life as I desire, but the story woven around them resonated with me. The purchase brought me happiness. I vividly remember driving home with the sense that I was truly living life on my own terms. I could still shape it the way I wanted. Plus, I had found a personal scent that was uniquely mine, even though other women might wear it. I had formed an emotional connection with the brand.
The sales conversion of this product depended on various factors, but it was primarily the story that sold me, the emotion that consciously drove my purchase. Of course, packaging and salon service played their roles, and the scent, too, was important, but it felt like the final item on my list of reasons to buy. It wasn’t just about beauty; it was about what it represented and how I could express myself with it.
After the purchase, I went online to read the perfume’s description. Giorgio Armani wrote, “I believe that enriching experiences, capable of creating real progress, come to be through exchanges between cultures.” I wholeheartedly agreed with him. Over the past two years, I’ve undergone a profound journey of personal and emotional growth, both in business and in self-discovery. Three years ago, I might not have paid attention to this fragrance, and it’s possible that in three years, it won’t be relevant for me either, as I’ll be in a different stage of life. But for now, in this moment, this scent doesn’t simply scream “My Way by Giorgio Armani” but “My Way by Aleksandra Strugalska.” This is my way!
On the product’s website, you can read that the fragrance’s theme is “I am what I live.” It captures the spirit of freedom, curiosity, and connection with the world. It’s a bold statement that everyone is connected to the world, walks their own path, and has their unique destiny. The author claims to have captured his vision of a new femininity in the bottle – deep, yet carefree, all while caring for the environment during its creation.
As I read all of this, it feels as if my name should be on the bottle, and my face in the advertisement. When I delve into this story and inhale this scent, I see myself, my reflection in the mirror, and my life.
If you’re still wondering why stories, and not just numbers, sell products, I hope that my experience with the Armani brand and its detailed description have convinced you to reconsider your marketing and sales strategy. Despite my seven years of successful work in the marketing and IT industry, and conducting sales campaigns for clients and our company, it’s only now that I fully appreciate the power of storytelling, experiencing it firsthand with a mindfulness I previously lacked.
“My Way” is a promise of an extraordinary story created by people and the moments in our lives. I purchased this promise, not just 50 ml of Eau de Parfum.
(Note: The article is not sponsored. Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, and Lancome do not pay me to promote their fragrances, at least for now.)
Organize your life.
The first publication in the Untold product series, created to share methodology for organizing everyday life, cultivating systematic discipline, and developing proper habits. Drawing from the author's experience, knowledge, beliefs, and commonly available coaching tools, she aims to inspire you to take action and present you with a straightforward approach to achieving fulfillment and building self-esteem. Written in a simple way, it contains examples from everyday life, practical tips, exercises, and beautiful graphics. Available in e-book and audiobook.