Backstory

With the best ever, “happy and glorious” Olympics dutifully provided by London, this Monday saw the triumphant parade of the home athletes.

Mention was often made by the covering commentators of ‘backstory’. Especially when lauding the paralympians.

I first came across the concept of backstories when as a kid I was first getting into music. I ate up tales of how bands were formed through playground fights during ‘king of the wall’, chasing fellow band members down the road throwing milk bottles at them and answering ads in local rags for bluesy singers.

Years later, I was aghast to find they’d all been made up.

This was confirmed to me one day in a chaotic Soho office. It belonged to a troop of radio pluggers. Their job was to schmooze DJs and get them playing songs they were paid to promote. To listen to them moan, you wonder why they bothered.

At one point, a young buck charged with getting a particular track on primetime national playlists, turned to his cynical old boss and asked, ‘what’s the backstory?’ The answer was, pretty much, ‘whatever you want it to be…’

You only need to have seen the odd reality telly talent show to know that backstories create a connection. These are usually sob-stories, yes, but any history that helps humanise the contestant is sought.

It works.

So. Are you doing the same for your latest new product?

What is its backstory?

I realise looking back on how important these are.

One set of guys I worked with once talked fondly of how a recipe for a product was smuggled out of Russia with elicit vodka. And they told every single prospect they could.

I myself loved telling of how a software product was born in a real garage, and with early sales coming from an Ex’s spare bedroom.

In any case, the fact that you have a reason, environment and process that is not only unique, but also likely way more memorable than any opposition offering, should be tapped into. Are you?

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jamie@example.com
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