The Startup That Gets It

How Fancy Hands Uses Storytelling to Create a Brand Image

By Sara Staffaroni

The Hoffman Agency, San Jose

I’ve always been a strong believer in the importance of first impressions. Since technology has re-invented how we engage in society, it seems that someone’s initial opinion of you is no longer based on how you conduct yourself in person, but on how you conduct yourself online.

Before the advent of social networking websites, we would judge people by their physical appearance and mannerisms. Now, through sites like Facebook, we can gain a much deeper understanding of a person’s values, professional history and hobbies without having to meet them in person. Such easy access into people’s lives has made “Googling” a person a common ritual that we do in order to determine whether we even want to engage with someone face-to-face.  

This same concept applies to companies. When I am unfamiliar with a brand, the first thing I do is look at its website. If the site doesn’t impress me, then I assume that neither will its services/products. Many companies do not recognize that their websites offer an opportunity to communicate a unique story about their brand. Fortunately, some startups have actually caught onto this strategy.

 I’d like to introduce you to Fancy Hands

 Fancy Hands - main

Fancy Hands is a virtual personal assistant service where members “outsource” time-consuming daily tasks to real people working for the company. The services it provides can range from picking the best travel options to finding a dog sitter. As you can see from the image above, Fancy Hands provides a clear description of its services on its homepage: 

Assistants for Everyone: Get Fancy Hands and wave goodbye to stress. We’ll take care of your tasks so you can take care of you.

Hopefully I have already enticed you to click on the Fancy Hands website link, but if not, humor me and take a little tour with me to really understand how this tech startup has utilized storytelling to its full potential. 

When I visit Fancy Hands’ homepage, the first question that pops in my head is, “Why the heck do people need a personal assistant, anyway?”

Scroll down on the homepage just a bit, and you will find a very similar question, “What are people asking us to do?” Followed by real requests that have been made by Fancy Hands customers:

 Fancy Hands - requests

Now that you have seen some of these requests, you are probably thinking that it reminds you a lot of your own to-do list. Perhaps you need a personal assistant too? So why not find out how this service really works by clicking on Features

Fancy Hands - Features

Next to each feature description there is the question, “What does this mean?” which provides easy-to-understand examples of each. Fancy Hands asks the common questions that we all think when we read the “features” of a service – “What does all this mumbo jumbo really mean?” 

OK, so that’s great, but you are probably wondering how each feature plays out. No problem, Fancy Hands explains each feature through visuals (for an example, take a look at the Requests page).

So by now, you have come to the conclusion that you don’t think you will manage to survive without Fancy Hands (or something of the sort) and decide to sign up for the service. Not only that, you also want to share this amazing discovery with your friends and entice them to join. But what about your cynical friends who always believe there is a catch? 

Fancy Hands has thought of that too in its referral program by providing “Fancy Hands talking points, for your stubborn friends.”

Fancy Hands - talking points

Lastly, Fancy Hands incorporates its storytelling via its blog, which showcases Fancy Hands’ unapologetic wit through content that consists mainly of images. Posts range from parodies of icons, such as Oprah, to posting real-life requests from its members. Below are a few examples: 

Fancy Hands - Oprah meme

Fancy Hands - magazine example

As you have seen, storytelling is embedded throughout the Fancy Hands website. The ease of searching throughout the site allows for Fancy Hands to actually tell you it’s unique story, transforming the company from just an assistance service, to a “buddy” that understands your needs and your personality. Fancy Hands’ website tells a story of wit and simplicity that will continue to lure in customers. 


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