Successful businesses have clarity in their marketing. On the other hand, smaller businesses over complicate things and their messaging get confused and lost. If we look at the structure of stories and we can see how a business can communicate ideas simply and clearly.
A brand story of how a taxi owner became a weight loss expert
I’ve known Gordon for a few years and I’ve always found him a bit hard to understand. No, I’m not talking about his charming Glaswegian accent. I’m talking about the speed at which he became the ‘go-to guy’ for weight loss while other PT’s and nutritionist I know struggle to get enough clients.
It was almost like he woke up one day, ditched his position at the taxi company and had people banging down his door to join his pay monthly weight loss club.
He openly admits that he is not a PT nor a nutritionist but he does get results and they are the mark of his success. James has lost 8 stone for example which is a life-changing transformation.
People buy the products they can understand the fastest
Gordon’s transformation is just as captivating and intriguing as his customers’ transformations. The whole industry is saturated with experts, shakes and diets and there is a lot of competition for customers. But it’s always puzzled me as to why is Fit as Fork goes from strength to strength while other brands struggle.
While I’ve been pondering this I’ve been studying messaging and how some businesses have clarity in their marketing. So today I thought it would be interesting to look at Gordon and how his brand has developed into a clear and easy to understand story.
Every story needs the following elements otherwise it’s not a story.
- A title that makes you want to find out more or is easy to remember.
- A hero
- A quest, challenge or goal that is undertaken by the hero
- A villain or problem the hero has to overcome to fulfil the quest
- A guide to help the hero along the way
- A transformation of the hero so that they become a better version of themselves
The Title, The brand
Fit As Fork is Gordon’s brand and it plays on his character, it suits him to a tea. If you get the brand you’ll get Gordon, if the brand isn’t for you then Gordon probably isn’t you man.
It’s also a stong defining brand and it stands out in a sea of logos in a saturated market. It makes you stop and look closer and you want to find out more. It also positions him as an “anarchist”, going against the established methods of weight loss.
It’s also very memorable.
The main character, The hero
In any brand story, the hero is always the brand’s customers, the brand is never the hero.
Gordon has positioned his customers at the centre of the brand and constantly shouts about their wins to his Facebook group and the wider world.
Everyone wants to be the hero of their own story. Fit as Forkers (or Forkers) are no different, they want to be the weight loss hero they dream of being. As they progress through their weight loss story they have hero status confirmed by internal validation (looking and feeling better) and external validation (compliments and congratulations). By championing their success Gordon is confirming to them that they are the hero.
The quest or the challenge or goal
The hero in this story wants to lose weight so they can be more confident and maybe drop a dress size or two. It a common quest but fraught with difficulty and doubts. The hero has tried this quest before but success has always eluded them.
But weight loss is not the goal if you dig deeper. The goal or the challenge is to gain confidence, fit in that shirt again or be healthier. So weight becomes the villain that needs to be eradicated, or so some would tell you.
Failure to act, The Villain
A lot of PT’s tell their customers that the weight is the villain and bang on about the health problems they will or do have and list all the reasons why they should lose weight.
Imagine Gandalf telling Frodo “That ring is really bad for you. You really should get rid of it. If you don’t get rid of that ring the world will be full of untold misery and suffering. It will kill you you know.” Frodo knows all this but how is he to get rid of the ring and make sure it never comes back?
And for a lot of people, they are not ignorant of the health risks and problems they face. Society and their own body tell them they constantly.
Others trainers villainise food. “Food is bad. You can’t have food. It’s evil. Starvation is the only way to lose weight.” I’m no expert but last time I checked food was pretty important to our ongoing survival and it’s really hard to overrule the brain’s signals to eat.
Or worse, some PT’s villainise the hero, but more on that later.
Our hero knows they need to go through a transformation. But how? Go to the gym?
Let’s shake things up with a plot twist. What if the gym is the villain?
That reframes the whole story, it’s a paradigm shift and a plot twist.
Think about it, the gym takes time, money and commitment. It is a whole world of physical and emotional pain for a lot of people. This pain exists for various reasons and each hero will have their own back story.
So if we flip the hero’s story and position ‘being overweight’ as a by-product and the ‘evil’ gym as the villain to be defeated then that’s a completely different story to what most PT’s are telling.
And that’s the reality for a lot of people. The pain of going to the gym is much greater than the pain of being overweight. So the easy option for our hero is to remain overweight.
The Villain, Defeated
Last time they went to the gym our hero was met by Lex Luthor and trapped into a contract. The gym becomes just like kryptonite to superman. A heavy chain around their neck from which they cannot escape. The hero is thrown in the pool or the gym and left to flounder.
What the hero needs is a guide, someone to hold their hand and show them the way. The hero could, of course, stay in Lex Luthor’s Lair and search for a guide there in the form of a PT. For some people that works, but for our hero in this story, the lair (the gym) is a place of physical, emotional and financial pain. A place our hero must avoid.
The hero cannot give up on the challenge so they look for a guide to help them, a guide that does not involve going to the gym.
Fit as Fork, The Guide
Enter stage left our guide character. In the movies, it would be Yoda, Gandalf or 007’s Q. The guide is a character that is a master and knows everything the hero needs to know. They are the hero’s rock, support and guide. Using their knowledge and experience they guide the hero keeping them on track and away from danger.
Our hero is coached by the guide (Fit As Fork) at home, in between school runs and business calls the hero is able to commit and follow the simple steps laid out by the guide.
There is an emphasis on simplicity here. If the steps are too complicated or too onerous the hero will not follow them. Mr. Miyagi did not teach his student, Daniel, how to be a black belt. He guided him through simple steps to become the Karate Kid starting with wax on, wax off.
And Gordon employs a similar simple guide to weight loss. There is no calorie counting and no food is off-limits (remember food is not the enemy) but there are a few rules (steps) to follow.
I won’t reveal the steps here, it’s not the place but if you want to know what they are you should speak to Gordon – facebook.com/fitasfork
Every hero goes through a transformation. From farm boy to Jedi Master, from school kid to the Karate Kid.
By following Gordon’s proven guide our hero’s transformation has started without the pain of going to the gym. The system works, the hero has a bit of success and achieves a goal which boosts their confidence.
The start of the transformation gives the hero validation and confirmation that they are on the right track and proof the guide is working. Little by little, they receive internal and external validation cues that signal they are becoming the hero of their own story. The hero they long to be.
Is it plain sailing for the hero? No, it never is and no movie would be complete without a plot twist and setbacks. But the hero has a quest to fulfil and with the help of Fit as Fork as the guide, they stay on track. They will complete their quest and transformation.
Clarity in the marketing
Our hero embarks on a quest to improve their [health/self-confidence/wardrobe] but finds it difficult to get results. It’s up to Gordon to teach them weight loss without going to the gym.
Where some business get it all wrong
As I eluded to above, sometimes the business tries to become the hero of their client’s story and by doing so they villainise the client.
The business positions themselves (probably unintentionally) as the saviour, protecting their clients from health problems and cake. But if the business is the hero (and there can only ever be one hero in a story) what does that make the client?
The client cannot be the guide as they do not know enough and need help themselves. So the client becomes the villain of their own story by definition. They then see it as their own fault for overeating or not doing enough exercise.
Of course, all of this hampers the business’s desire to play the role of hero and understandably the client gets a bit hacked off. They have been made out to be the bad guy in their own story and feel guilty. It’s not really surprising they end the story, abandoning their quest and leaving the business to play the hero in someone else’s story.
Making customers feel inadequate
It happens a lot, business making their target market feel inadequate by calling out their weakness, a weakness that they need to be saved from.
Yes, I know. All businesses solve problems and sometimes the business needs to make the customers (hero) aware they have problems so they can present the solution (the product). It’s the business role to guide the client to enlightenment and towards the solution rather than beating the hero over the head with the guilty stick.
If a business is constantly beating the customer up with the guilty stick it’s a good indication that the business is trying to be the hero in their client’s story.
I’ve seen diet plans, weight pills and shakes, personal development, business coaches and other business all use this type of rhetoric in their content marketing. Ultimately it doesn’t work because it fails to let the client become the hero of their own story.
Clarify your message and guide your clients to their success.
If you need help doing this then use the button below to schedule a call with me to see how you can clarify your marketing.