Get your product story straight with David Riemer
Foundational skills in product storytelling from David Riemer
David Riemer, longtime tech executive, marketer, and author, recently joined us in the Productboard Product Makers community to discuss storytelling and how to build this foundational skill.
The good news is that telling a product story is just like telling any other kind of story, so if you’re not sure where to start, think about some of your favorite stories and what about them stays with you.
You can’t tell a story if you don’t have a good story to tell
A great story piques curiosity, no matter what kind of story it is. And product stories have narratives just like traditional stories do – they should still have an emotional driver and the key elements that all good stories have.
Key elements for good stories
You’re probably familiar with all of the key elements that go into a story, but here’s a refresher and how they map out to different elements of a product:
- A protagonist: in this case, your customer
- Intention and obstacles: insight into what your customer is struggling with
- A central conflict: the problem definition, or what it is you’re trying to solve
- Aspiration: the value proposition of your product, or how it’s going to help give that happy ending
- Plot: or how it works, how you get to that happy ending from the existing problem
- Setting: competitive context, or how you set yourself apart from the competition
For an effective tool to help you capture and build out your story, try storyboarding where you map out all of the above.
Narratives should “read like a play”
Many of the most successful products do a fantastic job of storytelling; they find their narrative and they lay out the challenges to the customer so you root for them to succeed even if the product isn’t something you’re looking for right now.
What’s critical to the story
It’s critical to make your story personal, hook your audience, and to romance the problem so others understand more deeply, relate to the customer and have an emotional connection to the entire story.
Having that emotional connection makes it more likely for the product to be remembered later.
Repeat, and refine
Don’t ignore the value of repeating and continually refining your story. A succinct and powerful story is the kind of thing that hooks customers, investors and human attention in general.
This will also help you get down to a tagline that invokes the vision or value proposition of your product.