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Posted by on Sep 23, 2009 in Branding | 0 comments

How a Jail Break Can Increase Product Value

As a thank you for taking care of our bunny rabbit, my girlfriend wanted to buy my parents a gift. My girlfriend, her mother and I found this cute local shop in a quaint town outside Philadelphia, PA.

As we were browsing, a tall gentleman in a neon orange sweater comes in, huffing and puffing. He asks to use the bathroom and the store owner tells him it’s for paying customers only.

He pauses, then asks if he can tie his shoe. (Who asks to tie their shoe?) Meanwhile, my girlfriend finds an ice cream serving dish and proceeds to check out.

The man then leans down behind a display case in the center of the store and ties his other shoe. This man should probably have been in a shoe store with all of the problems he was having with his footwear.

While he was tying his shoe for the second time, a police officer stood outside of the shop, his back turned, talking on his radio. After the officer left, the man took a peak out of the front door, and passed a mail carrier on his way out.

The carrier delivered some mail and as she left the store, she hailed the police officer and pointed in the direction of the malfunctioning-shoe man. A short man–no taller than five feet–whizzed by the store, chasing the man. Several seconds behind him, the overweight police office hurried to catch up.

Come to find out, the shoe man had escaped from a nearby courthouse when he was told he had to pay child support.

No longer is that ice cream dish a $21.99 item, it’s worth much more. With the story behind the gift, I’d value it at least $49.99, because now, whenever my parents use the serving dish, whether it’s with family or friends, they can pass along the tale of the escapee. It is no longer a piece of metal, it has a personality.

People are willing to pay more for compelling stories. Consider purveyors of luxury. When you buy that Tiffany & Co. diamond earrings, you’re paying partly for the earrings, but you’re also buying the powder blue box. The same goes for BMW, or Lexus or Hermes. You’re buying the story attached to the name. That blue and white BMW emblem is an icon of luxury that speaks volumes of your social status.

Stories tie your product or service to an emotion. And mostly, people buy with their hearts, not their minds. If you can make that emotional connection through a story, you’re product or service is more than just a metal ice cream serving dish, it’s special.

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