Storytelling marketing. Emotional branding. Brand narrative. These have become some of the hottest terms in advertising and marketing in recent years. There are countless articles about why telling a good story is the key to good marketing. The examples are impressive– Apple among the top. Every presentation Steve Jobs made to introduce the latest and greatest product was told as a story, and the subsequent advertising campaign keeps that up. When you think about, this has been going on for decades. Remember that catchy campaign and jingle from 1975: “Baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet”– a story told in 6 words. When we heard that jingle, we couldn’t help but insert our own details and voila– you have created a brand that emotionally involved almost every person with a TV or radio in America.
It’s not a big mystery why storytelling has become intertwined with marketing, branding and communications. All you have to do is ask what makes a good story? Let me be more clear– a good true story (we are not talking about fiction here, as that would be false advertising).
A good true story has emotion, authenticity, and is relatable to its audience with some kind of personal connection. The same can and should be said about a brand and its message– there’s always a story about how this brand came to be and why and how it wants to make a difference. Capture that story in a way that is truthful, emotional, and resonates with the needs of your audience, your story will be heard and appreciated. And just maybe you’ll drive some business your way.
At ERC, we love storytelling to drive our content– in video, brochures, websites, brand identities and logos, etc. But we use the basic elements of storytelling in another crucial way — it’s the foundation of our process. A good story is made up of a hero on a journey in search of something– he faces obstacles; she is confronted with opposition or competitor; she clears hurdles. She discovers the essence of what she is really seeking, and emerges better for it. Sound familiar?
When a client comes to us with a problem to solve or goal to achieve, enter the hero of our story. When we start the discovery phase and do deep dive into the issues, we rely on getting as much detail as possible (as detail is the key to any good story)– What’s the underlying motivation that is driving our client to seek change? what’s the marketplace like? The competition? What are the measurable business goals? But here is the tough question most people don’t get asked to think about: what’s the emotional goal- what is it that we want the target audience to feel so that they’ll respond to our call to action? After all, the word motivate comes from emotion (did I just hear your head explode?)
So while the rest of the world of advertising and marketing communications is talking about how to use storytelling as a great way to create content marketing (and it is), we here at ERC are talking about how understanding and uncovering the details of our client’s own unique story about his brand or her business is our process for creating great work for our clients that gets results.
Every good story has a hero, a journey, and the revelations that get them to their goal. And that’s what guides us in our partnership process with you.
Suzy Kahn Weinberg is an account manager at ERC, and she is also a storyteller. She produces a monthly Live Lit (true stories on stage) show called “Is This a thing?” If you are interested in telling a story on stage in front of an amazing audience, email Sweinberg@erccreative.com