Explaining how the timeless clash between the two sides remains among the most elemental forms of storytelling worldwide, a study published Tuesday by researchers at Oxford University has concluded that virtually all modern narratives are re-expressions of the classic Alien Vs. Predator conflict.
As digital expands into every facet of a consumer’s life, marketing strategy and brand storytelling must shift its focus to create content driven by consumer conversations and needs. So how do brands get there? How can a brand leverage the momentum of conversations consumers are already having?
My gripe is not with lovers of the truth but with truth herself. What succor, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story? What good is truth at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney? What you need are the plump comforts of a story.
Today, however, a brand has evolved into something far more powerful than just a look. It is actually your identity and personality. Certainly a “look” is one component of an identity—just watch people walk down the street. You can identify the hipster, the fashion diva, the gym rat, simply by their “looks”.
But their crafted looks are only one part of their respective stories, just as your logo and company colors are only one part of your story.
I wanted to write about the importance of telling stories when creating campaigns and I wanted to write something with a little authority, so I looked for an Ogilvy quote because he said/wrote many memorable statements about the subject. In looking for a quote, I came across this page, but the quote that stood out for me was:
“I have a theory that the best ads come from personal experience. Some of the good ones I have done have really come out of the real experience of my life, and somehow this has come over as true and valid and persuasive”
I often get asked why a Harvard neuropsychiatrist spends so much time talking about emotions and the brain in front of media and marketing research experts. The answer is that we live in an increasingly competitive world, and relying on what consumers tell us is incomplete, and in many cases just plain inaccurate.
Brand managers must understand how consumers engage on an emotional level in order to accurately predict whether their advertising or any other media content will truly resonate.
The key to success with presentation—and storytelling in general—is to focus not on getting approval or a particular response from the audience, but on giving something meaningful to them. That is, it’s not about getting but about giving.
"...the two most 'dreaded, hated' words at Apple under Steve Jobs were "branding" and "marketing.
...we understood deeply what was important about the product, what the team’s motivations were in the product, what they hoped that product would achieve, what role they wanted it to have in people’s lives
...The most important thing was people's relationship to the product. So any time we said 'brand' it was a dirty word."
The problem with pivot points – events that result in major changes in your organization’s history or your personal career – is that they often slip by unnoticed. The significance of the event isn’t recognized until later.
You typically have to dig deep into the past to identify your pivots, the lessons they taught, and the opportunities they created. The reward for digging deep, however, is that past pivot points often uncover story opportunities that can help you define your brand and create memorable story-based content marketing.
There is a structural/genetic continuity between everyday oral narrative and elaborate literary narratives, with listeners gradually becoming an audience. Literary stories which narrate some character's oral narrating keep us aware of this
“We tell stories that are definitely not your norm. We do mini-documentaries … and think of them the way Dateline, 20/20, or 60 Minutes would. We try to find really fascinating stories, then tell them well … to evoke positive feelings about the company.”
This story-and-news approach helps cut through the fact that, as Burke admits, “EMC sells something that, quite frankly, is a little difficult for people to understand. Our job is to build an awareness of everything that ‘data storage’ really means.”
Creating good stories is how companies convince preoccupied, information-overloaded consumers there is something worth their time and interest. Whether a company’s stories engage, educate, or entertain, they encourage a consumer to pause, even if for a short time.
But here’s the key question: How do companies get started with storytelling? The answer: a five-step process that any company can embrace.
Story takes all that data and dramatizes or “storifies” it, so instead of making a list of facts, you tell a story that moves dynamically, positive, negative, and arouses great curiosity: How will this turn out?
It draws the audience and listeners into empathy with your core character – it hooks them intellectually and involves them emotionally so that when you reach the climax, the message at the climax moves them to act.
What I teach, Mark, at that seminar on March 19 is what I call the “Purpose Told Story.” It’s not fiction as entertainment. It’s using the story form to communicate a lot of information but dramatize and “storify” it so that at the end of the story, people are moved to take an action: To buy your product, to hire your service. That is the “Purpose Told Story.”
So story in business is very different than the story in Hollywood. It is designed to hook interest, to move people, emotionally involve them, and then trigger them to act. That last step is the most important of all.
It works because story is the natural form of thought.
Medical communication and goals for treatment focus on the disease or conditions but not the patient as a whole. At this larger level we are missing some points that might help improve both short-term and long-term ways people experience disease. I want to make the case for understanding both the patient journey at a medical level and understanding the patients life story or narrative as it relates to disease as an equal part of therapy planning.
Authentic stories help powerful brands make deep connections with customers. But that high-level principle creates real-world challenges for content marketers. What is a powerful story and how do you tell it? I’d like to share four tips on how to tell stories that make connections and get results.
Some brands are inherently sexy, like the Ford Mustang.
The name evokes an immediate feeling of caution-to-the-wind youth and speed. Even though it’s been around for ages, Ford does a pretty good job of keeping the Mustang image fresh and current. There’s a lot of material to work with: history, style, engineering, innovation (not to mention that it’s a sports car).
Sadly, we don’t all write content for Ford’s Mustang. Most brands are pretty darn boring. Marketers are called on to create compelling stories for things like toilet paper or tile grout and for companies that rent out heavy equipment or manufacture parts that go inside other products.
How do you work with that? And how do you convince an old-school CEO that the company’s story is worth telling?
Creating a great story means digging right into the heart of what makes a company or a product special. Here are some examples of brands big and small making it happen.
So I started to think of what sort of game might work with the way people naturally tell stories in conversation. I thought about how: Storytellers negotiate for the floor by submitting a story abstract to the group. Audience members accept, reject, or modify proposed stories during the story abstract. Storytellers embed in their story evaluation statements that prove the story is worth listening to, and communicate their intent in telling it. Audience members redirect stories as they are being told by providing feedback, questions, and corrections. Storytellers negotiate the end of their story (and the return to the normal conversational rhythm) in the story's coda. Audience members participate in fitting the story into the conversation by asking questions about it and discussing aspects of it. Audience members respond to stories with related stories, building chains of connected stories in collaborative exploration of a topic. This all happens without anyone being fully aware that it is happening. You can watch people do all of these things in any casual conversation anywhere in the world, and probably could watch the same thing happen thousands of years ago.
Gregg Morris's insight:
She got up before breakfast to think this one up! Really great stuff!
But this is the new ideological world of marketing. Marketing is no longer about meeting the practical needs of customers. It's about high-minded principles of transparency and co-creating and conversations and...
Well, I'm afraid I have a very old guy opinion. You want customers raving about your brand? Sell them a good fucking product.
As you know if you read this blog regularly (or as regularly as I write it, anyway), I have strong opinions about some things. For example: I believe that storytelling should be seen not as an expert skill but as an innate capacity available to all human beings. I believe that the benefits of listening to stories and making sense of them should not depend on outside analysts, but should be available to groups of people working together for their own benefit. I believe that stories should be seen not as commodities to be consumed but as the lifeblood of families, communities, organizations, and societies. I have spent fifteen years working toward these goals, and I am passionate about them. But I've also thought a lot about whether being passionate about a goal is a help or a hindrance in meeting that goal. This essay is about those thoughts.
Gregg Morris's insight:
You're going to have to invest a bit of time but it will be well worth it!
If you want to separate your content from your competitors, storytelling is a great tactic to add to your content marketing strategy. Several interesting case studies have shown how the implementation of storytelling can triple sales within one year. The best part is that any business can use storytelling in their content marketing strategy by following these five best practices.
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