Stories that are Remembered and Shared
As part of a workshop I ran last week for marketing professionals, many of whom were in Israel for the first time, we took a field trip to visit The Salad Trail, a unique farm in the Bsor region of the northern Negev desert. The goal was mostly to learn about agricultural innovations and have some fun, but I didn’t realize we would also be getting a marketing lesson.
While it’s always fun to pick your own produce and taste it as fresh as it possibly can be, Uri Alon, the founder and owner of The Salad Trail, brings much more to the experience. Rather than simply taking the group around the demo farm and explaining why each crop is planted and protected in a certain way, he starts with his own personal life story and what brought him to the desert landscape, nestled in the bottom left corner of the state, with the Gaza Strip to the west and the Sinai peninsula to the south, to engage in a kind of “extreme” agriculture.
Every area of the farm – the medicinal herbs greenhouse, edible flowers, four different colors of carrots growing right in the sand, the seemingly endless different varieties of cherry tomatoes (did you ever hear of a chocolate tomato? a zebra tomato?), has its own chapter in the tale, along with its tastes and smells. He had specific music playing when we visited the strawberry greenhouse where the fruit grows in long bins suspended from the ceiling at a specific angle so the water can be collected and recycled (Stawberry Fields Forever, of course).
In other words, rather than just running through a list of features and functionalities (sound familiar?), he told a story that involved all the senses.
In a setting where visitors are constantly photographing themselves and their colleagues, Uri did something very smart. He jumped into almost every photograph, with his signature hat and logo on his T-shirt. He even engineered a final group photo around a tractor (decorated with a huge Salad Trail logo) where all the participants held doves and let them fly away, to create a dynamic and unusual photo that will undoubtedly be shared across the social networks.
The Salad Trail doesn’t do any paid advertising, yet they host over 40,000 visitors per year! I am willing to bet that a large part of their success is due to the experience and the story each visitor encounters there, and the fact that it is compelling to share.