Podcasts about marketing, innovation and entrepreneurship are one of my greatest passions. I do particularly like when the host interviews a guest who brings to the table useful food for thought and real-world experience.

Recently, I listened to an old episode of The Disruptors that interviewed the founder of Superdry, Julian Dunkerton. In one passage of the interview, he mentioned one of the most forgotten realities of many businesses out there. Paraphrasing, if you don’t want to go on a journey with your customer, that is, if you don’t want to be with them, it’s better for you to change your job.

“Unless you identify something they want, it’s doubtful they will listen.”

This is particularly important for marketers and entrepreneurs alike, as mentioned in one of the books that I have recently read, Building a Story Brand (Harper Collins, £9.45). Donald Miller, the author, spent several pages remarking on this point, that is, the hero is not you, the real hero is the customer and, in particular, what they want to become. “Customers are attracted to us for the same reason heroes are pulled into stories: they want to solve a problem that has, in big or small ways, disrupted their peaceful life.”

But there is more: “What most brand miss, however, is that there are three levels of problems a customer encounters. In stories, heroes encounter external, internal and philosophical problems.” And the main issue with that is that many companies focus on solving external problems whilst “customers are much more motivated to resolve their inner frustrations.” 

Which is good news. Indeed, “what stories teach us is that people’s internal desire to resolve a frustration is a greater motivator than their desire to solve an external problem.” And here is where most brands make critical mistakes. Here is where you can make a difference. Provided that you want to be on a journey with your customer.