The saying “Content is King” in marketing is more true than most would like to admit. But have we considered that the content we write actually makes us better. Pausing to conceptualize and effectively communicate a thought in two or three paragraphs pushes our intellect and our depth of understanding concerning ourselves and our brand. And for the most part…it’s free!
I was perusing the interweb doing some reading on storytelling and came across this fantastic article by Jonah Sachs, CEO of branding agency Free Range Studios, and author of Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future. Jonah clearly explains to basic fundamentals of the importance and (possibly more important) process of good storytelling. Once brands (individuals, products or organizations) recognize the importance of telling a story to their audience, they can begin to develop the skills to do so effectively. Enjoy.
As the media landscape continues to evolve, audiences are gaining more and more control over the information they view and share. To remain relevant, brands need to know how to tell compelling stories to reach them.
Traditional messages in the old broadcast style — exalt your product and tell your audiences why they need it now — are at best overlooked and forgotten; at worst, ridiculed. But successful stories, such as Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, can garner 150m YouTube views in a couple of months and supercharge brand awareness and loyalty — without talking about the product at all. This is what success looks like for brands that shift from broadcast messaging to storytelling.
The transformation begins by realizing that your brand is nothing more than an ongoing story–a set of meaningful emotional experiences unfolding between itself and your audiences. Just like stories, brands can be inspiring, clear and actionable, or self-important, bland and confusing. The inspiring ones light up social networks, passing virally from storyteller to storyteller. The others instantly disappear.
Here are four simple steps that will help your brand become effective at storytelling.
The viral music video of the moment is right here.
The question for the marketer, music or otherwise, isn’t, “what are the hooks and tricks I use to go viral?” No, the question is, “is it worth it?”
What does the fox say has the hooks and tricks in abundance. It has Archie McPhee animal costumes, nonsense words, just the right sort of production values, superfluous subtitles, appropriate silliness. It would probably help the cause to add spurious nudity, but give them points for getting the rest of it right.
To what end?
If your work goes viral, if it gets seen by tens of millions of people, sure you can profit from that. But most of the time, it won’t. Most of the time, you’ll aim to delight the masses and you’ll fail.
I’m glad that some people are busy trying to entertain us in a silly way now and then. But it doesn’t have to be you doing the entertaining–the odds are stacked against you.
So much easier to aim for the smallest possible audience, not the largest, to build long-term value among a trusted, delighted tribe, to create work that matters and stands the test of time.
“Baby bump bump bay dum.”
Twice a year I have the privilege to speak to a group of students pursuing the art of Wedding Coordination. My wife teaches the certification course at Cal Poly Pomona and invites me to speak to them about branding, marketing and design.
It’s always an engaging conversation which usually lends itself to an extended time of Q&A. Here’s a bit of what I share…
1. Your Brand is You…knowing who you are is the foundation of building your brand
2. What is Your Art?…being clear about what it is you make; what you provide
3. Setting Your Destination…knowing where you are going defines your vision and mission
4. Telling Your Story…effectively communicating who you are, where you’re going and what you do to those who you wish to partner with
5. The Icing on the Cake…implementing design to support your story and create a positive first impression
6. Time to Knock on Doors…thinking through strategic marketing via social media, tradition collateral and beyond
My hope is that, though this is fairly brief, it would give some direction to Wedding Planners or anyone else with an idea and a willingness to connect that idea to society.
Seth Godin, one of my favorite modern thinkers, released his newest book today. “The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?” is nothing short of brilliant. Two things might hold someone back from sharing the art they’ve got inside: The fear of telling the truth or the lame strategy of hiding the truth behind a sales pitch. If you can find the voice, stand up and tell people what you care about.
Your art is vitally important, and what makes it art is that it is personal, important and fraught with the whiff of failure. This is precisely why it’s scarce and thus valuable—it’s difficult to stand up and own it and say, “here, I made this.” – Seth Godin
Watch this video…go ahead and do it. Now.
At some point, art must involve a human. A human with intent. Your hand can be your heart or your words or your effort or a hug, but, yes, the work of a human. If you de-industrialize the process and return it to humanity, to connection, then yes, it’s art and yes, it will connect to other humans more effectively.
This is my art:
I’m good at helping tell your story to people who don’t really know it, yet need to know it. I create pictures that don’t speak a thousand words, but instead speak a few strategic words that provoke an inevitable response. I’m gifted at the art of ignoring boxes and rethinking possibilities. In essence, my art is helping give your art wings.
CALL ME 626.467.5335
ALSO, check out our LOFT and how it may support you.
Take a kid to the mall or the zoo for the first time and they will bombard you with questions? Why do the gorillas eat bananas…do they like ice cream? How come that lady sprayed us with stinky perfume? (Holding out $0.32) Do I have enough to get the Barbie Dream House? When are the lions going to wake up?
At some point in our life, we become too “mature” and grown to ask seemly silly questions. We become to embarrassed to raise our hands and ask, why does the same appliance cost $20 more at Crate & Barrel or is it Sprint‘s policy to treat all customers poorly…or just me?
Whether its a fear of conflict or the pure embarrassment of not knowing, we more times than not, decide to not ask. We decide to stay silent and move on. We comply to the status quo.
As consumers, its important to ask questions. Its important to know what and why things are a certain way. Its important to address concerns. As a merchandiser of goods (whether physical or service related), its also important to ask questions? Does the consumer like my product? Could I do anything to improve? Is my product revolutionary or is it just another widget that someone else could provide better and cheaper? What makes me different? Why would anyone want to pledge loyalty to my brand? Am I making a difference?
Seth Godin said, “A great question is one you can ask yourself, one that disturbs your status quo and scares you a little bit.”
Go ahead…disturb your status quo. Shake things up a bit. Whether you fail or succeed, whatever you do, don’t get stuck in the middle.
Yesterday, while perusing some of my favorite blogs (via my Google Reader), I did what any socially active individual does…I commented. One comment in particular, I spent almost 10 minutes really thinking about what I wanted to say. Let’s just say that it was short of brilliant (well at least I thought so).
Eager to see what others would think of my comments…how it would shape their existence, I checked back periodically throughout the day waiting for the blog moderator to approve my thesis. 3:30p…not yet. 5:30p…nope. 7:30p…where are they? 10:30p…it finally set in. My posts had not been accepted. The moderators didn’t like me or what I had to say. I later found out that it was merely a technical issue (probably because I used a PC and everyone know unreliable they are).
It was an awkward feeling. I have become very accustomed to the social media environment. I have become accustomed to “virtual” conversations. The idea that I had spoken out and no one heard me was unsettling to say the least. It was a bit of a beating to my ego (which is probably not a bad thing). I felt as though I had been left out in the rain.