Simple Stories and Good Coffee

Simple Stories, Great CoffeeStories

I’ve fallen in love with two things lately… If you’ve been reading this blog you might have noticed I have a ‘thing’ for stories at the moment. For a long while I dismissed them as a simple spin of the usual marketing spiel. Now, I’ve come to realize something different.

  1. They’re fundamental to human beings and language
  2. Their value is supported by the latest neuroscience research
  3. They’re damn good fun – particularly when they’re told as movies!
  4. Plus, as a designer I’m really curious about how to tell visual stories.

Visual Stories

Visual stories come in many forms.

Simple Stories, Great Coffee 2Good Coffee

The other thing I’ve fallen in love with is coffee. About six months ago I started to drink coffee almost everyday. Prior to this I’d only have an occasional coffee when I was meeting someone socially or for business.

I live in Melbourne, which is gaining an international reputation as one of THE coffee capitals of the world. So, perhaps it was inevitable that I would become seduced by one of life’s daily luxuries. I guess I can say ‘luxury’ and not ‘necessity’ because I don’t feel that I’m addicted – at least not yet!

Anyway, the thing about coffee is that there are almost a million coffee shops in Melbourne. Or at least there are a lot of them… Which from the perspective of the coffee shop represents a mountain of competition. So, how does one coffee shop stand out from the rest?

[Tweet “How to tell a great story by #drinkingcoffee”]

Coffee Stories

Making a great coffee is a good start. And, probably not as good as you might think… Every coffee shop owner tells their story about how good their coffee is. And any regular coffee drinker will say they only drink good coffee too. Which, sort of, creates a nil game, doesn’t it?

I think the coffee places that stand out are the ones telling a good story about their coffee. And, interestingly this is not about the quality of the coffee. Instead, it’s usually about the origin of the coffee.

I love the coffee at Hortus Seven Seeds at Docklands. There’s a number of varieties and by talking with the friendly staff I’m learning about all the differences between them. What I really like is the simple way they tell their coffee story. The two photos on this page highlight what I mean. It’s a simple printout on some textured paper.

[Tweet “I learnt how to tell simple stories here whilst drinking #greatcoffee: @hortus_7seeds”]

Your Simple Story

How can you use this simple visual story method? Here are four steps to consider:

  1. Identify what the story is that you want to tell. This comes back to your brand, your manifesto and your BIG idea. Is your story about you? About your business? About the source of your product? A great resource is Valerie Khoo’s book Power Stories. We’ve reviewed it here and rapped it here.
  2. How can you tell this story in about 100 words? Is it a metaphor, factual or conversational?
  3. What emotive image can you add to the story?
  4. How can you communicate this to your customers and clients? Even better, how can you tell your story in multiple ways? For instance, a paper story for face-to-face customers and a digital story for social media.

I’d love to hear how you use this guide to create your simple stories – leave a comment below.


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