More often than not, when I’m speaking to a large audience or a corporate meeting, the topic gets around to visbility, findabilty, getting seen, heard, and understood about all the noise. My answer always centers one compelling question.
What’s Your Most Irresistible True Story?
In answer to the question, I tell the story of Pots and Plants, a plant nursery that served customers in Austin, Texas from 1989 to 2012.
Since 1989, Pat Swanson had collected a flock of Pink Flamingo lawn statues next to his plant store at the corner of Bee Caves Road and Highway 360. It became so famous that it was roadside destination. Though I moved from Austin in 1993, at SxSW in 2010 when I had a chance to test drive the new ‘Vette with @Connie Burke, I made sure we drove out to Pots and Plants — simply so that I could see Connie’s reaction to this.
RoadAmerica.com had this to say about the pink flamingos in October 2010.
On occasion the mobs of flamingos are replaced by different (equally numerous) seasonally appropriate displays – penguins, pumpkins, etc. Whatever it is on the day you go, you can be sure there are hundreds. Worth a drive-by.
Why did I take Connie past them? Why did RoadAmerica write about them? The story was unique, interesting, mysterious, and fun to share. So much fun that here I am in 2012, still telling it.
Sadly, I got word that the business, Pots and Plants, was gone and had taken the flamingos with them.
But a quick Google Search shows that Pots and Plants isn’t gone, not really, merely evolved to it’s Internet self. As you can see …
… the story lives on. The url is plasticpinkflamingos.com
Through the story, customers can stay connected to the company who gave Austin a destination filled with flamingos. Those who remember; those who took pictures like I did; those who shared conversations about where the flamingos came from, how the collection got started, what people might do with them — all of those customers and the others who were touched by the sight of mobs of pink flamingos along the highway all became part of the story too. And as part of the story, they were part of the business.
An irresistible story connects us to the people behind the business.
It lets us know they’re our kind of people, the kind we want to work with, even if we’ve never met them.
Those flamingos had meaning to Paul Swanson and defined his business.
What’s your most irresistible story? If you don’t know, ask your most loyal fans.