Since launching our crowdfunding offering earlier this month, I’ve been reminiscing about WorthPoint®’s journey since I founded the company in 2007. I’ve considered the challenges, successes, and people that made the journey memorable. As a company, we have some great stories. I suspect that you, too, have some great stories—whether personal or company stories.
WorthPoint’s story isn’t found in our database’s 1.3 billion images and more than 715 million pricing data points. Our story is found in the successes of our users: the Salvation Army, appraisers, countless online sellers, estate executors, collectors, insurance companies, and homeowners. Each entity has a story about how WorthPoint helped them achieve a goal or overcome a problem. These stories, added together, become WorthPoint’s story.
A Low-Tech Lesson from Steve Jobs
Apple founder Steve Jobs learned the hard way that a company story is found in its user’s experiences rather than a company’s technical prowess. In 1983, Apple launched Lisa, the predecessor to the Apple Macintosh. To promote the launch, Jobs bought a nine-page advertising spread in The New York Times, touting the computer’s technical minutiae. The ad spoke to the state-of-the-art digital wizardry of the computer but not one word about how it could improve the lives of average users. The launch was an expensive flop: only ten thousand units were sold. It wasn’t long before Apple’s Board of Directors fired Jobs. He moved on to Pixar—the animation company—just in time to be involved with its 1995 motion picture Toy Story.
At Pixar, Jobs learned storytelling. He realized it wasn’t Pixar’s sophisticated animation that attracted moviegoers; it was the story being told. He understood that consumers didn’t buy the best product; they bought the product with the best story.
Fourteen years after leaving Apple, Jobs returned. In his first advertising campaign, he dropped the geek-speak of his nine-page Times ad. Instead, he placed billboard ads across America containing photos of inspirational people, two words, and the Apple logo. The billboards read: “Think Different.” This campaign ran for five years and is credited with Apple’s turnaround.
The Power of Storytelling
People become emotionally engaged and connected with stories, whether in person, movies, books, or podcasts. Stories enable us to connect, interpret our experiences, and view the world from unique perspectives. Through storytelling, businesses can develop a memorable brand narrative that captivates clients and staff. You may gain your audience’s trust and create stronger bonds by using narrative to convey your company’s history, ideals, challenges, and victories.
Moreover, storytelling contributes to a healthy work atmosphere by developing shared values among employees. By giving context for each employee’s place within the organization’s greater objective, storytelling can help to increase employee engagement.
WorthPoint’s world is filled with stories from our clients, staff, and users. These are the glue that holds us together and gives us reason to keep moving forward. What’s your company story?
Will Seippel is the CEO and founder of WorthPoint, the world’s largest provider of information about art, antiques, and collectibles. An Inc. 500 Company, WorthPoint is used by individuals and organizations seeking credible valuations on everything from cameras to coins. WorthPoint counts the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and the IRS among its clients.