Our story

Describing the brand as ‘we’ (see ‘Use ‘we’ (or even ‘I’)’ in chapter 11).

No one likes cold feet. But until 2008, most ‘thermal’ socks you could buy were pretty much useless. And that’s where our mission began…

Establishing a point of empathy with the reader (see ‘How does your reader feel?’ in chapter 4) and setting up the theme of the story.

Our founder, David Doughty, spent his working life making and selling socks.

Laid off from his factory job in the late 70s, he bought a machine with his redundancy cheque and began making socks in his garage.

By the 80s, he’d built up a thriving business that employed 200 people.

Humanising the brand as somebody’s personal creation, not just a faceless corporation.

David’s redundancy is the first, minor challenge in the story (see ‘Tell a story’ in chapter 7).

Things got tougher in the 90s.

Imports flooded the market, forcing David to switch from manufacturing to importing.

Socks got cheaper, but they got thinner and lighter too – and people’s feet got colder.

The market changes and the resulting decline in quality are the major challenge in the story.

Providers of cheaper, thinner socks are the ‘enemy’ to be defeated.

Cold feet, bright idea

Using subheadings (sometimes called ‘cross-headings’) to guide the reader forwards, break up longer copy and give the feel of a magazine article (see ‘Use visuals and formats’ in chapter 7).

One winter’s day in 2006, while David was watching his son play rugby, he realised his so-called ‘thermal’ socks were doing absolutely nothing to keep his feet warm.

And to make matters worse, they were the same socks he sold himself.

Sock-makers had tried so hard to be cheap, they’d forgotten about quality.

The start of the ‘hero’s journey’. David’s realisation that thermal socks are inferior initiates his quest to create something better (see ‘Tell a story’ in chapter 7).

Focusing on the human side of a business story (see ‘Be human’ in chapter 15).

Right there and then, David decided to create a new kind of thermal sock.

Maybe not the cheapest, but definitely the best.

A sock so warm his feet wouldn’t know it was winter.

Setting quality and price against cold weather anticipates a possible price objection – ‘when it gets really cold, you’ll know where the money went’ (see ‘Overcoming objections’ in chapter 13).

Seeing the product from the ‘viewpoint’ of the user’s feet (see ‘Switch perspectives’ in chapter 9).

A star is born

Using familiar phrases to establish themes quickly (see ‘Avoid jargon and clichés (mostly)’ in chapter 11).

Developing Heat Holders took two years of hard work, hundreds of experiments and a complete redesign of our machinery.

Eventually, we found the answer: a three-stage manufacturing process incorporating a high-quality acrylic yarn mix with an incredibly soft, cashmere-like feel, a special long-looped pile and finally a secret brushing process.

The key to insulation is to trap as much warm air close to the skin as possible, and that’s what Heat Holders do better than any other sock in the world.

Telling a ‘quest for the Holy Grail’ version of the hero’s journey. The company worked long and hard to transform itself, discover new knowledge and bring it ‘home’ for the common good (see ‘Tell a story’ in chapter 7).

The description of the production process appeals to readers with a technical mindset, or those who are just impressed by a ‘science bit’ (see ‘When features are benefits’ in chapter 3).

The patented Heat Holders process was, and still is, absolutely unique.

It gives our socks the best thermal properties in the world, with a tog rating of 2.34.

That’s far warmer than heavy walking socks, more than twice as warm as standard thermal socks and seven times as warm as basic cotton socks.

Presenting a genuine USP (chapter 3).

Appealing to the principle of authority by pointing to the patents and objective, quantified evidence (see ‘Authority’ in chapter 13).

Using precise figures to establish authority (see ‘Be specific’ in chapter 13).

Giving the reader information they need to make a comparison (see ‘Give information’ in chapter 7).

Contrasting the product with the alternatives (see ‘Draw a contrast’ in chapter 9).

Warm reaction

Modest pun (see ‘Play on words’ in chapter 9).

People loved Heat Holders right from the start.

In emails, social media posts and online product reviews, they told us the socks had literally changed their lives.

Now, instead of suffering with thin, chilly socks (often two pairs at once), they could enjoy blissful warmth and comfort all day long.

Invoking social proof to confirm benefits (see ‘Social proof’ in chapter 13).

Drawing a direct contrast between customers’ ‘before’ and ‘after’ experiences to dramatise benefits (see ‘Draw a contrast’ in chapter 10).

Dog walkers, horseriders, skiers, gardeners, anglers, farmers and outdoor workers all agreed: Heat Holders socks were the warmest they’d ever worn.

As word spread, we received glowing reviews everywhere from The Telegraph, Take a Break and Woman’s Weekly to Garden News, Countryside Magazine and Which?

Customers provide social proof, while well-known publications offer authority (see ‘Social proof’ and ‘Authority’ in chapter 13).

Top to toe

Over the next few years, we sold an incredible 12 million pairs of Heat Holders worldwide.

We expanded our sock range to include more styles and patterns, and helped customers feel warm all over with Heat Holders hats, gloves, tights, leggings, underwear, Snugovers and even blankets.

Provides more social proof, based on the idea that ‘12 million customers can’t be wrong’.

Inevitably, imitators have sprung up. But although they claim to match our warmth, their socks just aren’t made the Heat Holders way. If you want your toes to be truly toasty, Heat Holders is still the brand to choose.

Revisiting the price objection addressed earlier, restating that customers can’t get the same USP from cheaper rivals.

Ending on a stressed syllable (see ‘Get rhythm’ in chapter 12).

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