If you’re an avid fan of the crowd funding site, Kickstarter, you already know how important a great story is for attracting investors and customers. So we were interested when we saw this project: a 73 year old grandfather and his grandson launch an all-wood watch.
The watch makers created a professional looking pitch video where they tell the story about how Grandpa has passed his watchmaking skills down to his grandson (who has started his own company, Luno). The video also shows the watches. Check it out:
And Kickstarter boosters loved the product.
Luno raised almost $500,000 from 5,881 backers.
Except there’s more to the story. Or, in this case, less.
The Luno wear brand story isn’t exactly 100% authentic.
It’s not that the story isn’t true, technically it is. Grandpa is real. And he no doubt passed down the watch-making skills to his son and grandson. And Bo and Ryan have formed a company to sell watches. But Luno’s watches appear to be sourced from China. Not hand-made as you might assume from watching the video (though the video does say they’ve lined up a manufacturer and want to get huge quantities made, which should have been a tip off).
The video clearly gives the impression that the watches are hand-made. While Luno’s critics have pointed out that the same (or almost identical) watches are available on Alibaba for about $15 each.
So Kickstarter killed the project. (Luno is up at Indigogo and has raised a smaller $170,000 from 2,250 interested customers.)
What interests us about this story isn’t the ethics of reselling products on Kickstarter. Or whether Bo and Ryan are smart marketers.
The interesting thing here is the power of the brand story that Luno shared. The images of the old craftsman matched with the “unique” styling of the timepieces make a $15 watch feel like a $100 watch. You get the sense that hundreds of years of watch-making experience and craftsmanship go into each watch they sell. And that makes the product feel more valuable, regardless of whether it is more valuable.
After watching the video, thousands of people had no problem handing over their money to get one, two or even ten watches.
It’s a great example of the power of a good story to add value to a product. And it’s no different that what Coke’s brand story does for cola, what Izod’s crocodile does for golf shirts, or Michael Jordan’s image does for basketball shoes. All of those products are commodities until you add the brand story.
On the other hand, if you can tell an authentic story, one that rings true when you know all the facts, so much the better. Don’t tell your story in a way that makes customers feel like they’ve been duped.
The take away? If you want a valuable brand, you need a good (and authentic) brand story.