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Storytelling For Marketers

05/22/2004

Lets spin the concept of the Friday Fun blog about storytelling into a marketing strategy.

Divas have long known their own stories can deepen the connection with audiences. They intuitively understand that fans want more than a two-hour performance. Fans want emotional involvement. (No, we're not talking Jody Foster stalking.) Stories are a way to help continue the feeling that you know your favorite performer even after she takes off her make-up.

What does all this have to do with you and your brand? Storytelling and marketing share a common goal - to create a communication that is interesting and encourages a specific reaction.

Stories are more compelling than just information, data or facts. Dahling, the best stories live in your imagination long after the telling. And isn't that what good marketing is all about...capturing attention and recalling the message?

In the book The Dream Society, Rolf Jensen, Director of the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies, describes how customers will engage in services/products that satisfy their need to feel and display emotion. He predicts that stories will provide a unique competitive advantage since they capture the heart, not just the mind. http://www.dreamcompany.dk/en/

A Story Or Two
Mary Kay, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, doesn't just sell lipsticks and blush. Her story is about a woman who successfully infiltrated the "good ole boys' club" and, in turn, opened the door for thousands of women. What a great story to build a company on! http://www.marykay.com/

"Our Company was begun with only one objective ... that of giving women the chance to succeed, an opportunity that simply did not exist in the early 60's. I just couldn't believe that a woman's brain was worth fifty cents on the dollar. With all my heart, I wanted to change that." Mary Kay

And the beats goes on! Now take a look at a woman who's been called the "most dynamic female soul singer in the history of music." What a story Tina Turner has to tell ... from a stormy marriage to a career that challenges a Dow Jones stock graph. Knowing this rock Diva's story deepens our appreciation of her talents. Sister, if Tina can persevere, you and I can too!

Structure
Stories and marketing communications are structured differently. Unlike most collateral material or ads stories have a beginning...a middle...an ending. Think heroine ...plot...wrap-up.

Beginning
Stories
Introduce the heroine

Marketing Stories
Introduce your company, brand, staff, customer, or product/service

Middle
Stories
Describe the plot/adventure

Marketing Stories
Describe the problem/challenge/situation

Ending
Stories
Show how the heroine has changed

Marketing Stories
Show solutions and their impact

Storylines
Business stories are a step beyond testimonials. They're frequently about real people doing real work involved with real challenges. However, the goal is still to engage your audience with a compelling tale. Use words, graphics, video and/or music to tell your stories about:

- The uniqueness of your product/services
- Your corporate history
- Customer experiences

Nike built a captivating campaign based on stories about young women who dreamed of being athletes. What stories can you leverage about your customers' challenges that relate to your product or service?

How to Use Stories

Include your stories in media releases, corporate communications, annual reports, newsletters and don't forget your website and blog.

Box Office Benefits
- Humanizes your business and the people who work behind the scenes
- Is remembered because it entertains
- Breaks through the clutter
- Enhances the value of the brand
- Increases ROI by conveying messages that are easily understood and memorable

Storytelling captures the heart evoking an emotional connection. The best marketing stories will end happily ever after with increased profits, customer loyalty and brand awareness. We all have a story to tell. What's yours?

Friday Fun

05/21/2004

Fridays are waiting for the weekend to start days. This will be our space to create a virtual Happy Hour...from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A time to be sophisticated-silly. Or perhaps just plain silly. Here's one from me. Add yours.

One of my favs from The Story People.

There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other's cooking & say it was good.

The Story People are a group of artists who create imaginative, silly, innovative art along with nippets of stories. Their site has wonderful Free eCards. “We forget at times (isn't it amazing how life sneaks up & steals your memory of who you want to be?), but mainly, we remember. “ http://www.storypeople.com


Enjoy your weekend!

Your Name in Virtual Lights

05/20/2004

The American Marketing Association is holding its own version of American Idol…sort of. AMA is searching for volunteers (read no compensation but nice PR) willing to be profiled on a new collegiate career section of the AMA website www.marketingpower.com.

Specifically they are looking for individuals involved in the following areas of SALES:

-Heavy equipment
-Industrial machinery
-Pharmaceutical sales
-Hospitality sales

If you’re interested contact Heather Jensen, Director AMA Chapters, at hjensen@ama.org for more details. Oh and you don't have to be an AMA member.

Playing Nice

05/20/2004

max_1203Thanks to everyone for their off-blog comments. Encouraging to know that the blogette baby is considered cute and clever...at day one.

Song, http://www.flysong.com/ Delta’s low-fare carrier, is rewarding customers just for being nice. Help a passenger or a flight attendant and your next flight might be free. Strategy goals are to build customer loyalty, which will of course, (hopefully) result in increased revenues. Interesting promotion concept...if you're nice to me and my friends...I'll be nice to you.

Rather reminds me of a lesson that my friend Jenny teaches at doggy school http://canineacademyandplayschool.com/. When your puppy wants to run off to places more interesting, it's the "nice" that will get him back not the mean screaming. Worked for me today when Max, my 3-year old Westie, too quickly scampered out of the fenced-in yard. Perhaps it can work for customers too.

However, want to guess where this innovative strategy is *not* mentioned? Right. As of 5/20/04 the cupboard is bare at both the Delta and Song websites. A little marketing disconnect… By the way, the article is posted on the Wall Street Journal. www.wsj.com/

Let's take the concept one step further. What something special can you do for your customers to increase loyalty? How can you "play nice" with your customers so when something distracts their attention from your brand they come home...wagging their tails...just like Max? And of course, you'll make certain that all marketing channels are kept informed and updated - no disconnects!

Pop A Cork For The New Diva Marketing Blog

05/19/2004

Should be a way to pop a cork on a bottle of champagne when a new blog (or website) is launched. For right now, I ask your indulgence. Use your imagination (yes, even the researchers!) in a virtual toast to the new Diva Marketing Blog.

Diva  Marketing is a state of mind. It's an approach to marketing that’s fun, bold and savvy… but always strategically aligned with your brand’s objective.  I wanted a way to share the cool marketing ideas, strategies and little nuggets I find in my travels. What better way to do it but in the casual, exciting environment of the blogsphere?  Enter stage right - (drum roll) the Diva Marketing Blog!  Although "Diva" is definitely a woman's thing, "Divor" men are most kindly welcome!

Before we take one more click forward many thanks to Dana VanDen Heuvel for his support and encouragement along the way. His blog is one of the best - filled with great resource links. Dana's Blog -

http://www.danavan.net/weblog/index.html

The Circus and Branding!
One of the best articles on external and internal branding that I've recently come across is from QuickTakes, a newsletter published by STAMTATS. ON STRATEGY: A CULTURE OF SUCCESS: LESSONS FROM CIRQUE DU SOLEIL.  So few organizations get branding right and even fewer understand "internal" branding. This is great mini case on how one organization integrated all aspects of the brand and in turn, provides a world of magic to staff and customers. 

http://www.stamats.com/quicktakes2004/vol_7_n8.htm

Diva Inspirational Quote of the Month
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun."  Katharine Hepburn