Charge more with a crutch, a computer and a coffee maker.

I’m really going to miss my crutch. For over 9 weeks I hopped around like a very slow pirate. Then one day my physio took it away. She said my crutch was becoming a crutch.

You see, a very strange thing was happening. I had become a local identity. I was the ‘crutch guy’. Literally dozens of strangers stopped me on the street to talk.

A shirtless jogging man and the local dry cleaner (who I never use), became my best friends. I met and had real conversations with a retired physio, a lady who had a knee reconstruction, lots of coffee shop owners, several old people, customers in shops, the bottle shop girls, gym instructors, unknown neighbours, and countless other people.

This was all the more surprising because without the crutch I don't really stand out much. Some people have had to be introduced up to three times before they started to remember ever meeting me (I think I would have been a good spy).

Anyway, I can only think that with ‘the crutch’ I was a person with a story: a story that people felt they could get involved in. Maybe this is what it’s like to be pregnant and everyone touches your belly.

My 9 weeks of celebrity, after so many years of obscurity, made me think that brands with a story have a much better chance than brands without.

Apple has lots of stories. Take your pick. Steve Jobs. Design. Style. Fashion. Ease of use. Interestingly, you can buy a cheaper version of everything they sell. But the story makes consumers interested enough to pay more for smart phones, tablet computers, music players, even computers.

At the other end of the ‘size of company’ spectrum is Otto Espresso. Otto is a stove-top coffee maker that builds up a dangerous amount of pressure to make a real espresso coffee at home. A risk worth taking, I say.

The owner of Otto, Craig Hiron, mortgaged his house, borrowed from friends, maxed his credit cards, and lives partly off his mum's superannuation while his company finds it’s feet. With a story like that how could you not be interested in the Otto brand? Did the story help me spend an insane amount of money on a coffee maker? You bet it did.

So you could break your leg, or sell your house, or just spend a little time finding and broadcasting your brand’s story. Consumers will be much more interested and will happily pay more for what you offer.

- Even the (seemingly) dullest brand has an interesting story. Find yours and tell the world.

If you have a creative advertising problem call Tony Richardson on (02) 9929 0588 or visit Tony Richardson Advertising

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