The best marketing isn’t really marketing at all. It’s logistics, customer service, operations, commerce, experiences… But this doesn’t mean storytelling isn’t important. In fact, it’s more crucial now than ever before. People are inundated with brand messages desperately screaming at them for attention. Storytelling isn’t screaming. Storytelling is about drawing someone close with the promise of an emotional response… Basically, make them feel. Anything really, with the exception of some obvious negative emotions.
The problem is common storytelling mediums are regressive in nature. Regressive in that many of them are declining in audience attention and regressive in the sense that the brands story must be reduced to 30 seconds or less. Radio was once expansive (theatre of the mind and all that), TV was too, but neither are the advertising media they once were. Online? Perhaps… but it’s hard to trust the metrics, or the overexcited evangelists who swear digital is the silver bullet (we all know, there’s no such thing).
The best place to tell expansive stories is literally at the feet of the modern marketer… the brands owned media. This is where the brand has licence to tell longer form stories to the people most interested. You don’t need to dilute stories into regressive 30 second spots in your owned media. Chances are your audiences are probably growing more than traditional media owners.
Better yet, owned media allows others to tell your brands stories for you. These are the ones that really matter. The reviews, the shared experience, the video a customer created with your brand, the way your brand changed someone’s life in a small (or large) way… What you need to do as a marketer is provide the platform for these stories and curate them carefully.
But this approach only works for sexy brands with lots of amazing content, right? Wrong… Here’s an example from Mimecast, a technology security company (click here). As you’d expect, it’s pretty dry content, so let me give you the gist… essentially, they’ve created an e-book made up of testimonials written by their customers. Even if you don’t read them all, you know; a) they have a lot of customers; b) their customers are very happy, therefore; c) Mimecast are a trusted company to do business with. The medium is the message – and it’s appropriate for their brand.
If your expansive stories can’t be told in traditional media, start from the inside-out and consider your owned assets.