Communicating on behalf of a brand can be tricky business. A decent idea once passed through the brand’s filter and massaged and molded to hit key messaging targets can come out the other side a shell of its possible self.
Karen Dietz's insight:
Here is a way to start your weekend -- watching fabulous and inspiring ads that have had a positive impact on the world.
And there are some business lessons here to boot.
Ads you say? My business doesn't do ads!Well, there is still lots to learn here. Like writing down what made each ad effective and then thinking about how you bring that element into your business storytelling.
So go have fun exploring what works in these ads here and working with the ideas you get!
"Aren't marketing platforms today oversold in what they can do on the business side of things? Are organizations even aware that their message has lost all connection with their audience? Hey, some even seem to excel at finding ways to render their content marketing completely pointless!"
Here's an article by my colleague Raf Stevens who really drives the point home about how most advertising is anything but a story -- yet stories are what customers want. I love the research he shares and charts included. They really help make his point.
Scroll down below the fold when you click through so you can skip the promo for an upcoming workshop. Look for the 'Look Who's Talking" photo.
And I also like the tips and examples Raf gives us for how to actually get our heads away from traditional advertising and into the narrative space.
And then I reflected on another article I just discarded that mentioned Burberry's The Art of the Trenchstorytelling project: http://artofthetrench.com/ I checked it out and hah! It's anything but storytelling. Just a collection of photographs from customers wearing trenchcoats set to some music:
But then I realized that if businesses can't figure out how to craft and share meaningful stories (and don't even know/care what a story really is), then customers might not know what to share either!Which means businesses need to get really smart about how to evoke stories -- because people will tell you lots of stories (yes, stories -- not opinions. thoughts, or observations) when you know how to properly evoke them.
OK, I went off on a tangent there because Raf barely mentions evoking stories. For help with story evoking, search this article collection under 'storycapture'.
To get back to Raf and his article -- go read it. It has lots of great info and is a good kick-in-the-pants reminder to build narrative into all of your marketing work.
As our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter & as more and more of us are head down checking our smartphones and status updates, it's getting harder for advertisers to get their products & services noticed.
What a hoot some of these billboards are! I thought they were very clever and many brought a smile to my face.
It's Friday -- get your imagination tickled -- and enjoy viewing these photos.
Editor’s NoteThis is the first of three excerpts that we’re running from Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell--and Live--the Best Stories Will Rule the Future by Jonah Sachs, the cofounder of Free Range Studios (the creative studio behind The...
Well, I am totally not crazy about this whole business of the 'Story Wars' and continue to find this framing about war and battles very limiting. And what I find amusing about the author's premise here is that for all of us to be successful in business, we need to move away from appealing to people's baser natures (like war?) and focus on empowering stories and advertising. Yet when you are in a battle, there are only winners and losers -- and extreme debilitating costs. So while the metaphor totally does not work here, the ideas presented do.
I hardly find war empowering. Nevertheless, this article makes some great points. Take some time here -- between the text and the videos and additional links, there is lots to explore.
As a Folklorist, interestingly enough I am not wild about his Vimeo on "Winning the Story Wars - The Myth Gap". I hardly find that advertisers have been the mythologists of our age. I think people from the advertising world may think so however! So take that whole notion with a grain of salt please.
What's the bottom line here? Appeal to hope, courage, empowerment, community, and anything that enlivens us, expands our experiences, and calls us to something greater.
Surely we can all do this in our business storytelling!
In business, storytelling is all the rage. Without a compelling story, we are told, our product, idea, or personal brand, is dead on arrival.
HOLD ON! I'm amending my review!! I just read my colleague Shawn Callahan's review of this article and I COMPLETELY MISSED a critical issue: the author Gottshall is focused on tales -- not personal experience stories. Ooops! Big mistake. To view Shawn's fabulous critique, here's the link: http://www.anecdote.com.au/archives/2012/05/jonathan_gottsc.html
Any marketer worth her salt has always understood the power of storytelling. Stories are the blood that pumps through any vital community. They document our histories, they educate us, they entertain us, and at their best they inspire us into action. We’re evolving from storytelling to story sharing, and we're on our way to story making.
Love these concepts! This is a quick piece that will get you oriented away from storytelling as a 'push' medium and into thinking about storytelling as a 'pull' medium.
If properly understood, the dynamics of storytelling focus on story sharing. That requires listening, and creating sustainable storytelling within your organization.
Sustainable storytelling (I keep talking about this recently so my apologies for repeating myself) if you haven't read some of my recent article reviews, are the structures and processes a business puts in place to regularly find, collect, and share stories in ongoing ways. The focus is on building storytelling into the organization as a core competence.
This article helps point the way to how storytelling is evolving in the business world -- for the better I must say!
In just one day top companies will pay $3.5 million for each 30 second spot to air their Super Bowl ads. At a bare minimum, a whopping $245 million is being spent this year by companies to pitch their products. Wow! The difference this year? The ads are stories!
Read the rest of my recent blog post about the fundamental shift into storytelling that is occuring these days with marketing, advertising, and branding.
Big bucks are being spent on Super Bowl ads and it's all about ads as stories. Read more about what advertising execs are saying and how this pertains to your business.
"It’s probably too early to select the “catchphrase of 2012,” but as an early front-runner you’d have to go with Storytelling."
I love this article because it's straight talk about biz storytelling. My favorite quote from this article is: "In the world of sales, the idea of Storytelling is often little more than a sophisticated way to say 'pitching.' We go to great lengths improve the way we tell our story." Ugghhh.
But then the author says, " Truth is, the only story customers want to hear is their own."
He then explains more about how businesses need to tell their customers stories and avoid telling the wrong story. It's a great quick read! Enjoy the insights.
However, the stories that have the most long-term impact are those that are emotionally charged with some value or belief that resonates with us: persistence pays, love makes the world go ‘round, crime doesn’t pay etc. This is often referred to as the story’s theme or message, and the more unique the theme, the more powerful the story.
What I really like about this article is how the author talks about the need for story themes in branding. This is key to creating a brand strategy built in story sharing.
As the author says, "Many brands fall short of story theming in the truest sense of the word. Keep in mind that a story theme idea is different from what many refer to as an advertising theme line. In fact, many and arguably most so-called theme lines are promises or benefit claims. They have nothing to do with a universal belief with which audiences can identify or rally around. Many advertising theme lines would be more accurately labeled 'plot lines.' "
Read more to gain insights into story branding themes and how to make them work for you in 2012.
If you look back across the history of mankind, storytelling has played a vital role in propagating culture, from community to community, across generations.
I'm a little late in curating this article, but I'm glad I waited because when paired with another recent article in this collection, you'll get a double-whammy of ideas and tips.
Let's start first with this article. I like how the author lays out the importance of storytelling in advertising. And when he says, "In the strictest sense, a story has a narrative ark, a beginning, middle and end; however in advertising we can be looser in our definition" he's actually talking about using story triggers, i.e. bits of material that trigger a story within us.
He then goes on to point out how the UK company Sainsbury has combined ads with rich content. Are these actually stories? I couldn't tell. But the idea is there: link ads and stories in content modules that flow together!
For additional ideas on how to do this that creates more engagement, go read the next article on "3 Powerful Game Dynamics That Create Brand Superfans." It's a winning combo.
Yeah! Raf Stevens' new book "No Story No Fans" is finally available.
I had a chance to review an advanced copy and loved it. The focus of the book is how to use storytelling to grow your business. Perfect!
This is a next generation book on business storytelling. We've had fabulous books written on business storytelling over the years. They set the foundation for biz storytelling, and gave us some tools to help us.
Raf's book gives concrete ways to use stories in marketing, branding, and advertising your business. Combined with Annette Simmon's book "Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins," you've got a powerhouse of help to accelerate your business resuls.
Here are just a few things that I like about the "No Story No Fans" book:
1) That Raf shared lots of stories, and modeled good storytelling. 2) The concept and language of story trading -- the true power of business storytelling. I've used the terms 'story sharing' for years, but I like Raf's term better and will start using that. 3) His process for working with story circles -- it is very well articulated and you can use it too. 4) The different types of story applications talked about. 5) And of course, all of the points Raf discusses, explains, illustrats and brinhd home to us about the importance of storytelling, why/how it works, and how we need to shift our thinking/practices about branding, marketing, advertising. 6) That I got to see my esteemed colleagues and friends in his book: Gregg Morris, Annette Simmons, Steve Denning, Kat Hansen, & Cynthia Kurtz. 7) I also love that Raf used crowd sourcing and the cloud along with the QR codes to create and share his book, plus offer you tools to grab. It's really cool and as you read the book, you'll see what I mean.
Good job Raf! And readers, I encourage you to add this book to your resources. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Now here's an interesting article -- and a perspective I rarely see.
Basically, the author is asking if businesses are overdoing storytelling. Not in terms of quantity, but in terms of quality and messaging.
As the author, Ed Heil, says at one point about McDonalds and Coca-Cola: "I commend both companies for stepping out and trying something different, but what would be really different if someone had the guts to stop and say, “because we produced this, it’s a reflection of what we believe and who we are,” and leave it at that. If you like that and identify with the message and cause, so be it."
This article is not very long, but it does raise some interesting questions.
Bottom line: mixing ads and storytelling might not be the best way to go.
You be the judge. It is interesting to consider, though.
I'm still waiting for the company who will crack the code of storytelling — just like Vladimir Propp did for fairy tales — and get it right every time, with every product launch. (Image credits: Mario Lapid, Wikimedia Commons) ...
LOL -- this article heated up the Twittersphere last night, and with good cause. It's message is simple and clear: if you want lots of sales when you introduce a new product or service, you must tell a story!
For most of us, we've already figured that out. What I like about this article is that the author, Romain Dillet shares his experiences of new technology product launches from Apple, Samsung & Microsoft at recent conferences.
His conclusion?Apple definitely fell of the wagon and did not proivde a story. Microsoft definitely did not tell a story -- both of these companies defaulted to promoting product features. Boring -- as the author says!! He points out that being able to hold the new iPad in one hand is a 'use case' (how someone would use the product) and not a story.
Samsung got closer. The author included a link to a Samsung commercial that was a story -- about the phones features, LOL -- I watched it and it sounds like an interesting 'use case' to me! The Samsung commercial is a fun poke at Apple, but the story line is all about the bigger screen and weight. That .is OK but it doesn't get the story job done.
OK -- so where does that leave us?
To avoid defaulting to product features or use cases, for starters make sure your storyhas a problem and resolution. A challenge to overcome. Something meaningful to happen.
So who does tell great product stories? Nike and Lego come to mind. If I had more coffee this morning I'm sure I'd think of others.
In addition, the author cites someone near and dear to my heart -- Vladimir Propp from the Russian School of Folklore who published The Morphology of the Folktale in the 1920s. Propp was the first to diagram the common structure of fairy tales which Joseph Campbell,Chris Voglerand others have used ever since. Anyone who cites Propp in an article gets a gold star from me!
Overall, even though the examples Dillet gives don't quite hold up 100%, there are still lots of good insights here that make this worth reading.
And yes, every successful product lauch does need a good story!
Do you have a good example to product launch + story to share?
Last month, I learned what Dian Fossey must have felt like in Gorillas in the Mist, surrounded by mysterious creatures and unknown dangers, and yet compelled to edge ever closer.
This article proves my point EXACTLY about my criticisms of framing storytelling as a war (see the article and my review on "Empowerment Marketing") -- or any marketing as a war or battle.
I just posted a review of another article on the 'Story Wars' material that has just hit the scene ("Empowerment Marketing"). The author makes great points, but the framing of war totally undermines his basic premis.
Here's the article that explains why -- and offers a different metaphor to use to shape our marketing.
How we think about our marketing and our business storytelling shapes our actions and the types of stories we tell. So read this article's points about a better alternative metaphor to war.Everyone will benefit!
PS -- an don't forget to read the many comments posted at the end of this article. Very illuminating!
What do the Apple, Victoria's Secret and IKEA brands have in common? They're all from the same archetype.
The brand are "Creators," according to a case study from marketing firm Added Value.
It's all about how consumers are able to use the brands to create their own identities. Creator brands allow people to "tap into their potential and re-invent themselves — their minds, personalities, environments, bodies, ambitions, and dreams," according to the report.
OK -- I curated this piece because it show how specific archetypes are reflected in organizations. It is a very brief article and starts to get us thinking about how this information can be used in marketing,branding, and advertising. But make sure to click through to Added Value http://www.added-value.com/culturaltraction/index.html and poke around their site for more info, case studies, and their tool.
Enjoy poking around the websites, but go read the book!! It contains a wealth of fabulous information and how-to tips you can use immediately for articulating your brand and targeting your communications (I'm not affiliated in any way with the authors).
Marketers should make use of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Heavenly Virtues.
Hey -- not all marketing messages need to appeal to our higher virtues! So here's an article about crafting content and marketing messages that appeal to our vices.
This might not be your approach, or this approach might not work all the time. Or you might want to slip a few messages in that appeal to our vices while still focusing on our virtues. Or it might work best for you to be all about vices and forget those pesky virtues!
In any case, enjoy reading this article and then figure out what mix of virtues and vices will work best for your content and marketing.
Thank you Grace Decker @TheBoardroom for sending me this article!
Now I'm stopping work to sin with a glass of wine :)
Why storytelling is such an effective advertising technique and how to tell compelling stories in your smart marketing strategy.
Creating stories for advertising can sometimes be tricky -- you've got a short amount of time and need maximum impact in order to gain and keep those eyeballs --and make sales!
This article helps us understand th 7 characteristics of effective advertising storytelling, gives us a few lessons for developing your story ad strategy, and then includes a final tip/link about what not to do.
Nice -- solid ideas without being too long or difficult to grasp :)
For over one hundred years now, agencies have been organized to create, produce and place either individual messages or groups of messages categorized together as “campaigns.”
Campaigns are going the way of the dinosaurs, it seems.
I'm fascinated by how PR and ad agencies are shifting and changing in response to storytelling as a pull dynamic (we pull you into our business with stories) in the business landscape as opposed to the traditional push dynamic (we push our message out to you).
I like this article because it reminds us that storytelling is an iterative process, not a linear one. And that storytelling is about an ongoing conversations instead of a broadcast.
There are 3 questions at the end to help readers assess where they are with their brand story. This is a good quick read, and a reminder about how our thinking needs to change as we get our heads wrapped around effective business storytelling.
In the world of copywriting, there are plenty of arcane formulas. Some are useful. Some are absurd. But all of them are interesting. I’ve collected copywriting formulas over the years and would like to share 15 of the very best.
Now here's a list of writing formulas that could easily be used to structure your biz stories, or used to structure marketing pieces where you add a series of mini-stories!
What a great post to get our creative juices flowing. And I like that these are proven formulas. I'm taking this post with me to my 2012 biz planning session and will pick a few to use in next year's marketing & story campaigns!
Image via Wikipedia In a few short years, our ability to forcibly interrupt consumers with our advertising is going to be greatly diminished. There will be more channels, more content across more screens, and many fewer interruptive ads. Yes, we...
What great insights this article has! We already know storytelling is key to successful marketing but the author goes even further when saying, "But the concept of branded content is fundamentally flawed. By definition, branded content doesn’t even need to be good content. As long as we remain focused on creating something“branded,” we are missing the entire reason consumers are watching in the first place. It is a very subtle idea that requires brand managers and CMOs to shake off some of their core beliefs about how we talk to our customers."
And, "It’s not logical to think that consumers will ever volunteer to watch or share our marketing, so let’s stop making marketing and instead start telling stories. We need to unshackle ourselves from old formats and embrace an idea that has existed since humans first began communicating."
Read the article for other great words of wisdom -- along with understanding the bleak future of marketing and advertising if we don't shift business efforts into becoming story-centric.
The only piece that's missing in this post is any discussion about the fundamental dynamic of storytelling: story sharing. It seems the author is still focused on broadcasting stories instead of engaging in swapping stories with customers (i.e. listening to their stories in return).
In advertising, the art and craft of storytelling is central to building, maintaining and strengthening the bonds between consumers and brands.
I agree with 99% of what is in this article. It is a meaningful discussion about storytelling, branding, technology and how much branding/ad professionals need to get better at the whole storytelling thing. The authors are Randy Rothenberg, the president-CEO of IAB and Mike Hughes, the president of the Martin Agency.
I actually got even more insights from the 4 comments other people left on the site -- so don't forget to read those also.
Here's my only quibble and it's something I've noticed in many branding articles. It's the notion that TV, the news media, radio, etc. are the only ways people have been receiving stories for the last several decades. The notion is that people are now liberated because they can actively create and share their own stories due to technology. That's silly.
Of course people have been making up and sharing stories with each other for millenia. So let's keep in mind that when professionals in marketing/branding/ad/pr industries talk this way, they are really only sharing about the mindset of their worlds.
Up until recently that mindset has been about the pushing and telling of messages. Now there is a revolution underway that is about corporations engaging in sharing stories back and forth with customers.
Which gets us back to the point of the article -- we need to think better about our stories, build storytelling skills, and understand the dynamics of story sharing.