Storytelling is a really important way to connect with your audience – it is at the heart of families, communities and cultures around the world. Storytelling will help you develop emotional connections and build relationships.
My favorite ad campaign of all time was created by K-Mart. I believe it ran during the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France, which just proves the power of a good story – it sticks with you, even 20 years later.
In this campaign, K-Mart ran a new ad every night in which a middle-aged man wandered through a K-Mart calling, “Valerie?” He’d always appear in a different department, and he’d always be looking for Valerie. I couldn’t wait til the Closing Ceremonies, as I fervently hoped he’d find Valerie. After all, he’d just spent 2 weeks looking for her every night on my TV screen!
A friend of mine, Khris Baxter, has been a screenwriter for more than 20 years. If you’d like to integrate storytelling into your marketing strategy, follow his 5 tips to ensure you make an impact:
Passion –Your story must be appealing, personal and original. If you want it to be important to your audience, it needs to be important to you.
Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill used to ask local Democratic committees to host his fundraising events at a place of local significance. He would open his remarks with what that local place and its history meant to him. This homage to a place of local sentiment created a rapport that made people open their wallets and donate to the party.
Hero – Every story needs a hero in order to earn audience buy-in. If that hero is an underdog, all the better. People love to root for the underdog.
Ronald Reagan used heroes to make abstract or difficult concepts concrete. Reagan would point to an “American Hero” placed at the edge of the Congressional Gallery who exemplified an issue’s human face: a single mother without health care, or a wounded veteran.
Antagonist – What is the threat faced by your hero? For a doctor, the threat is disease. For passengers aboard the Titanic, it’s the onrushing and frigid seas.
In the stellar 1984 Apple Super Bowl commercial, the antagonist was IBM (the PC).
Awareness – What did the hero learn? What’s that Eureka moment when the hero knew what he had to do?
Dr. Alexander Fleming discovered a mold that had blown into one of his petri dishes. He was looking for a way to kill germs. He had tried for ten years, and overnight, the winds brought him the answer in the form of a spore that settled in the uncovered dish and grew to become a colony that eradicated the deadly staph colonies within the dish. That was his Eureka moment, even though it took another decade to figure out how to produce penicillin in mass quantities. Fleming was knighted and won the Nobel Prize in medicine.
Transformation –This is the point at which your hero emerges victorious. He learned something, or he overcame a challenge.
As ever-quotable Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
By the way, our friend in K-Mart never did find Valerie.
Image courtesy of revolutionbooksnyc.orgGoogle+