Uncovering Your Brand’s Magic

Lessons from The Fortune Cookie Principle

The past month or so I have been spending a considerable amount of my time working on rebranding projects, and I tend not to like getting myself into projects (including parenting) without bringing along reinforcements – my e-books.

If you want to learn anything about marketing, turn to Seth Godin, if you want to find out more about building a meaningful brand and story turn to the lovely Bernadette Jiwa.

As she states in The Fortune Cookie Principle:

Every idea has two elements: the cookie and the fortune.
The cookie is the product & service. The fortune is the magic, the story, the real reason they buy the product in the first place. It’s your purpose. It’s also the customer’s story and world view reflected back at them.

Most marketers spend the majority of their time trying to sell the cookie, but what they really should be doing is to make a good fortune. Your true fortune is part of everything you do. It’s something you do organically when your business is aligned with your mission & values – i.e., kept promises, free returns, getting back to emails, clean tables, clean sheets, etc.

So what’s your fortune?

How are you telling your true story and representing your real values out into the marketplace?

For me, a brand’s ‘fortune’ is it’s true why and how behind its Value Proposition.

My years at Zappos taught me that the true fortune behind Zappos.com isn’t the fact that they have an endless selection of shoes, clothing makeup, etc. Their fortune is their commitment to exceptional customer service. It’s in their overnight shipping upgrades, free deliveries and free returns. It in their company culture that is all undoubtedly on the same page with their internal Core Values. It’s their dedication to hiring and firing based on their core values – with no exceptions.

As Bernadette points out in a few of her books, Starbucks didn’t reach its popularity for overpriced coffee drinks, they gathered a cult following by being the “third place”. There’s home, there’s the office, and then there’s Starbucks. Starbucks was designed to be more of a meeting spot between the home and the office, and less of a place to simply buy coffee.

Here’s a simple equation to remember: 

Product – Meaning = Commodity
Product + Meaning = Brand

What’s our fortune, you ask? Honestly, we’re still figuring it out. Sure, a part of our fortune is in our commitment to consistently creating exceptional web experiences. We aim to be the best in client communication and never settle for less than a “wow” when handing off a project to our clients. We are a great median between big agency and hiring an internal design team. We strive always to create something unique and different by really focusing on the best UI & UX practices to give our clients the absolute best possible outcome with their new site experience.

As a growing brand development and web design team I know that sometimes it’s easier for outsiders and your customers to pinpoint what your fortune is, and when they tell you, put it up on your refrigerator or somewhere in the office where it can be seen and remembered by everyone who works there. And you may have multiple fortunes, which is great! Jot them all down and voilà you’ve got yourself a working manual or internal core values to guide you on your path to success.

What do you think is your brand’s fortune? Comment below!

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