Friday, June 14, 2013

Boillot, I Killed a Rabid Fox with a Croquet Mallet

How could I pass up a book with such a bizarre title? And that, of course, is precisely the point of the book itself. I Killed a Rabid Fox with a Croquet Mallet: Making Your Business Stories Compelling and Memorable (HB Books/HB Agency, 2013) was the brain child of Nicolas Boillot, CEO of the marketing firm that published the book. The title story has since become something of an annoying earworm for me, but I guess that means it did its job.

I could explain how, according to the author, businesses should leverage their stories to reach and influence customers. But since that would take me far afield of this blog’s raison d’ĂȘtre, let me give a single example. Think of all the stories about people abusing L.L. Bean’s return policy. “We believe,” the author writes, “L.L. Bean banked on the fact that most people who heard these stories had one reaction: That person’s abusing the system. But what an amazing company to have such a return policy!” I myself had that reaction when a friend explained how she had returned a dog bed after her dear sweet basset hound destroyed its zipper.

And now to the rabid fox. Here are the ingredients of the story (it’s too long to recount in full, so you’ll have to use your imagination to fill in the blanks). Summertime, six five-year-olds playing in backyard pool, mangy-looking fox following family dog along pool’s edge, wife atop picnic table shouting at fox, fox along with dog and wife disappearing into bushes, fox trotting threateningly close toward author, author bludgeoning it to death with croquet mallet, kids screaming.

“Years later,” the author writes, “I’m still known in my town for killing a rabid fox with a croquet mallet…. It’s a compelling and memorable story that quickly infiltrated my business life.”

Perhaps because I had my own run-in with a rabid fox some years back, but without such a compelling tale to accompany it, I can’t get rid of Boillot’s story. Maybe if I share it?

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