Turn Customers Into Viral Advocates By Making Your Location Your Hero

“If they can buy it anywhere, why buy it here?” The “here” being Westfield Shopping Centers, asked Peter Lowy, managing director of The Westfield Group, the largest publically traded real estate company in the world. He was talking about stores like Macy’s and The Gap and the fact that most malls have many of the same stores. So his conundrum was what story would customers tell that would bring them and others back to the Westfield malls?

At UCLA he told Peter Guber’s MBA students a story of his location as hero springing into action the moment customers enter the shopping center’s parking lot. He knew the impatience of folks trying to park their cars. “We installed red and green bulbs over every parking stall so people can instantly see where a space is available that cut down their time in the garage by eighty percent.”

Being a hero, Lowy said, means giving the audience an experience that exceeds their expectations. Then they will tell that experience forward as a story. He explained, “There’s nothing unique about having The Gap or Bloomingdales or other stores. It’s the way we make our location a hero in their story that differentiates us.”

His key was to have customers come away from their experience at a Westfield location – whether it’s parking or private, clean, changing areas for mothers with babies – seeing that Westfield understands their problems and provides unique solutions. Customers then virally market these “hero” stories making Westfield more than a mall that is just a pit stop for products.



blog-telltowin-linkTo validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.