Don Draper understood the power of Story to capture public attention by creating a “sentimental bond” which would supercharge sales. As Don suggests, we as Digital Marketers must always remember that technology enables connection but does not create connectedness. Social Media platforms, like the newspapers and magazines of Don’s age, connect us but it is the story and emotions which engage us and get us to commit to the brand and “Like”, not the platform itself. This week at Digital DocKtor, we have spent a lot of time thinking about story and the impact it has on digital marketing and would like to share a few points that will help you improve your digital campaigns.
Story is at the center of everythingEvery business tells a story. It is the story of how The Business or Product will change the lives of millions if only they would purchase. The Story is the promise of a better life, a happier tomorrow and an easier today. So many products, so many stories, so much promise but we rarely even pay attention, much less believe and purchase. Why is that? Perhaps the answer can be found within the Audience, Mr./Ms. Consumer? Their story is what really dictates success. As I’ve written in other posts, the Consumer Path to Purchase is the story of the Customer Journey. The Customer has a need (conflict) and is seeking resolution. They search in vain to satisfy their need and feel as if they will never succeed. Suddenly (!), The Product is introduced and the resulting happiness is far greater than The Consumer could imagine. This basic plot arc works well for simple product sales concepts. Products or services that require a more complex sales solution like, “Which cloud services provider will best serve my business” require different stories, characters and development. Kurt Vonnegut has mapped out eight basic story shapes and Print Mag has done an excellent job presenting and describing them here.
The best stories are easy to remember because we see ourselves inside themThink about Cinderella. Most people lead ordinary lives with little to excite them from day-to-day. They empathize with Cinderella because they too have drudgery to perform and may even have others who delight in their misery. Hope and good fortune work together and like magic, Cinderella has some luck and is propelled into a life that is infinitely superior to her old life. How many people toil at jobs year in and year out only to have a great opportunity arise and then some failure happens? Maybe the Company has trouble and ‘Cinderella’ is laid-off. A few weeks pass by and ‘magically’ she gets a call from a former co-worker who remembers her cheery attitude and thinks she would be a great fit in their new company. Google provides a great example of a digital campaign where we can all see ourselves. By connecting with us at our most basic level, Google shows not only its empathy toward humanity, but also its value in creating a better humanity. They don’t ‘sell’ anything, they simply show us that by using their free service, your life can improve exponentially.
Don’t tell a story, let your customers tell it for you!Dove has done a terrific job of integrating customers and their stories into its advertising campaigns. Dove’s Real Beauty campaign brought us images across all formats of beautiful real women, not Photoshoped models. Traditionally known as a woman’s brand, Dove has extended its successful inclusion of real users into its men’s line with Men + Care. In the campaign real men talk about their caring experiences and how caring makes them stronger. That is a connection that will speak volumes when it comes to brand loyalty!
- Stories enable us to bond with brands in an emotional way that simple product/price campaigns cannot do
- Sincerity is a must! Google’s Reunion and Dove’s Real Beauty couldn’t exist if the values reflected were not part of the organizational DNA
- Laughter can be the best medicine! The use of humor engages us in a different way than if the same story were humorless. Would the Harry’s story have been as good if it were not as humorous?
- Technology enables but a good story is platform independent. A story may be told via print, audio, images and videos. A story may even be told in 140 characters. Great stories adapt to the platform (book to movie, movie to book) but a bad story never improves despite the platform on which it is presented