If content is king, then storytelling is the king’s army.
Strategic storytelling is the most misunderstood and underutilized element of most content and marketing strategies, yet it is the most essential for success.
The marketing and branding of products, services, internal communications, and entire businesses, all thrive on storytelling. Advertising of all kinds. Anything that requires the engagement of an audience.
Every piece of content and marketing collateral you create for your business is telling a story. Shouldn’t it be the story you want and need to be telling?
Story is your greatest asset and should be used strategically in order to achieve the results you desire.
But story is often an elusive thing. What makes a compelling story in the business world? How will effective storytelling translate into actions or sales? Where’s the line drawn between marketing and passive entertainment?
Let’s look at three key principles of strategic storytelling for perspective:
You. Must. Connect. No matter what you’re working on—be it a new product or service, launching your business, or rolling out a new process or presentation for internal use—your number one priority is to connect with your chosen audience. This is the first wave of your strategic storytelling plan. Connect…. connect, connect, connect. Connect? Yes, please.
Think of your favorite movies. Which movies do you go back to again and again? There’s probably that one movie. You know it. It’s the one that your spouse or significant other always grimaces at when you want to put it on. They may even try to talk you out of it. But they see that look in your eye. They remember your face when they saw it with you the first time. They ultimately relent and watch it with you, because they know you love it. It’s not the action. It’s not the visual effects. It’s not the “love scenes.” It’s that the story has connected with you on an emotional level. You have an emotional reaction when you even just think about it. For some people it’s Gone with the Wind. Others, Star Wars, Titanic, or Shawshank Redemption. Whatever it is, you’re in it. You feel it. You’re in the zone when it’s on.
That’s the same emotional connection you should be striving for with all of your visual content. Only carefully-crafted storytelling will get you there.
With the connection you’ve made with your audience, you want to motivate them to take action. This is where the concept of “lovemarks” comes into play.
Woah, woah! A lovemark?? Like the tattoo I got of my mom’s name???
Well, it could be. Wouldn’t it be great if your customers loved your product so much that they got tattoos of it??
But I digress.
A lovemark is the ultimate branding, where people are inspired to purchase your product(s) and engage at an astronomical level simply based on your brand (which has been built through specific content that’s centered on strategic storytelling that connects emotionally with your potential customers).
It’s how all the greats have become great. Apple, Coca-cola, Nike, Disney, and even Steven Spielberg. Though not all endeavors require lovemarks, I always advocate the pursuit of them for businesses, if not for individual products.
Taking a lesson from the proven concept of lovemarks, you want your content to trigger your audience to do something—otherwise, why bother, right? You have a desired action you want them to take: buy the product, go to the website, donate to the cause, take the survey, click to learn more, call you, invest in you, tell their friends about you, mention you in their blog, re-tweet, re-tweet, re-tweet, like, like, like… etc.
You need truly compelling content that your chosen audience will connect with in order to motivate and inspire them to take your desired action.
Once you’ve done that…
Now they’re engaged. Your story moved them, made them feel like they’re part of your tribe. They want more. They want to do more. See those lines outside the Apple Store? They’re engaged. Have you been hearing the news about all the record-breaking Star Wars has been doing? Those audiences are engaged, and they keep coming back. On a somewhat smaller scale, look at the marketing for Adobe products, for the newest successful apps in the App Store, for the resurrection of the Old Vic Theatre in London.
It’s all about how you connect with your potential customers, inspire them to become customers, and hook them to come back or stay with you.
Strategic storytelling is the only common theme here.
DRIVEN BY STRATEGIC STORYTELLING
Engagement is a tricky measurement that’s essentially asking the question: “Is what we’re doing maintaining the interest of our audience/customers/employees and motivating them to act/share/excel/etc?”
By implementing content that focuses on storytelling in a strategic way, you’ll be able to answer “yes” to those questions.
As an award-winning storyteller and filmmaker, I understand what it takes to connect and engage with an audience. I can help you to:
- Discover and cultivate the “story” of your business.
- Apply the fundamental principles of storytelling to your business’s mission and message.
- Align your internal communications, service offerings, and marketing and outreach campaigns with your story.
- Create a visual content strategy that builds brand recognition and loyalty and delivers results.
- Produce video and other visual content that is focused, effective, emotional, and cinematic.
Contact me today. Let’s get started.