I guess she isn’t really imaginary. Bethanny Frankel is a real person. She just isn’t my friend in real life. Regardless of how strangely loyal to her I feel, she is, in fact, a stranger. It’s a weird thing. I watch her show (and have since Real Housewives of New York). I ask for Skinnygirl margaritas when I’m out. I read her blog. I have tried her recipes. Now that she has launched a line of shapewear, I’m even pondering underthings. It’s safe to say that I am FULLY bought in on the Skinnygirl brand. And that’s all a little nuts when you consider that it isn’t the products she’s selling that I’m even that interested in. I’m compelled by her story. When she first started on the Real Housewives of New York, she was single and practically broke. Over the last few years and by the miracle of reality TV, I’ve watched her create this business from nothing, get married, have a baby and become fabulously successful. Not for nothing, it’s been a bumpy road. She is a ball breaker, but it is her vulnerability that wins us over. If you’ll remember from Rusty’s post a few weeks back, that is proof of true courage. My point is this: the “story” is selling the product for me.
Let me back up a bit. I few weeks ago Marijean and I met with a company on the verge of expansion. They came to us for various reasons. One being that they would like some help telling their story, but they struggle with how that story would be compelling to a new area that doesn’t already know them. I think a lot of companies struggle with this. It’s hard to know what about your journey is interesting to other people. So I’ve been thinking about what it is about Bethanny and Skinnygirl products that makes me care to continue listening and following the story.
1) The story is constantly being told (via the website, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook). With every episode and product launch, more behind-the-scenes stories are released.
2) The challenges and successes of the company were shared (through the show) every step of the way. Seeing the company struggle made me even more apt to applaud them when they did become successful. I remember there being distribution, staffing and bad publicity issues to name a few. But we also got to see new products launch and the chaos behind the scenes on book tours.
3) Content balances between business and personal. Of course, the show is mainly personal (relationships, work on the apartment, her daughter, Brynn) but the web presence balances the two nicely.
Now, I’m not suggesting you must approach Bravo for a reality show deal in order to tell your story. (Although it wouldn’t hurt.) With YouTube, WordPress, Twitter and Facebook, there are plenty of ways to get the story out there. It’s a matter of having a story (yes, you do!) and making sure to continue telling it as it evolves in a way that feels authentic. And, as always, if you need help finding your story, we are here.