The power (and limitations) of your craft

17 October 2022

Matt Jones

Matt Jones is one of Australia’s leading strategists and storytellers when it comes to the intersections of brand, business, leadership, experience, culture, technology, human behaviour and storytelling.

Matt Jones explains how you can identify and commit to the craft of financial planning, by building a business that tells better stories and creates stronger relationships with its clients through the experiences it delivers.

We started Four Pillars Gin back in 2013. What we didn’t realise at the time, but which we certainly know now, is that we were setting up a gin distillery in the best place in the world to make gin. And as a result, we’ve been named the world’s leading gin producer three times in the past three years.

Nowhere tastes like Australia. We have this unique combination of climate, unique botanicals and fresh produce (in particular citrus). And then we get to play with all those ingredients in the context of our amazingly diverse flavour culture and with all the permission you get to do things differently when you’re 10,000 miles away from London, the spiritual home of gin.

We began our journey with a total commitment to our craft, the craft of making gin. We didn’t worry back then about marketing plans or financial forecasts, we just sought to make the best gin we could every day. And we stayed focused on gin, and only gin, which inspired us to experiment and rapidly grow the portfolio of gins we make.

Every business has a craft

Today, Four Pillars is the number one selling craft spirit in Australia. Ultimately, that success is down to our total commitment to the craft of distilling gin, our total focus on making gin and nothing but gin, and our belief this is the best place on earth to make gin. And that leads me to what I’m going to talk about at the FPA Professionals Congress in Sydney in November.

I believe that every business has a craft. I believe that every business has something it can do better, or at least very differently, to any of its competitors. Something that can truly differentiate your business and what it stands for. That craft may not be as delicious and distinctive as making gin, but it might be just as powerful for you. So, I’m going to talk yo you in November at the FPA Professionals Congress about how you can identify and commit to your craft.

But your craft alone is not enough. That’s something else I’ve learned from the last nine years of building Four Pillars. And the reason is simple: people. Our customers are people just as your clients are people. And people are not always rational.

A rational person gathers all the data. A rational person weighs up all the facts. A rational person makes rational decisions. None of us are rational.

All of us are influenced by stories and by design. All of us are influenced by experiences and by the opinions of our friends and family and colleagues. All of us trust what we feel, sometimes more than what we know.

Focus on how people feel

The implication of this is clear: a successful business needs to focus on how it makes people feel. So, that’s something else that I’m looking forward to talking about in November. How to build a business that tells better stories and creates stronger relationships with its customers and clients through the experiences it delivers.

At Four Pillars our commitment to our craft has meant investing in the world’s best gin stills, and in world-class production equipment and bottling lines and labellers. Everything, in other words, that ensure that our product quality and attention to detail is never less than exceptional.

And our commitment to making sure we share that craft with the world has meant investing in our homes and hospitality, in design and in content, and in a world class team of social media storytellers and community managers.

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in…your opportunity comes from being the best in the world at what you do and making sure you get the credit you deserve from your most important clients and customers. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in November in Sydney at the FPA Professionals Congress, and we can dive into all this in detail.

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