Storyteller Marketing: The Art of Storytelling Matches Up With the Business of Marketing

March 24, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Welcome back, friends. We’re going to talk about storytelling.  With us are Stewart Quealy moderating speakers Joshua Palau, Dana Todd, and Brian Lewis. I’m tired. And thank you to all of you who TOLD me I look tired. That makes me feel wonderful. Truly. I’ve eaten nothing but chocolate today.

Oh. Brian Lewis is up first.

It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is. If you can’t convey that, it’s not worth anything. That’s where storytelling comes into play.

We make sense of our world and our place in it through stories.

  • Stories provide simulation – knowledge to act.
  • Stories provide inspiration – motivation to act.

Credible ideas make people believe. Emotional ideas make people act.

Brian talks about the I’m a PC/I’m a Mac commercials.  They do a good job casting a hero and a villain.  It was a successful promotion for Apple. Microsoft countered it with their I’m a PC commercials. The problem with these commercials is that the original Apple commercials were so effective and Microsoft countered with something thoughtless.  It was a sign that Apple had out marketed the giant.

Types of Stories

  1. Shock
  2. Humor
  3. Emotional

Stories should be:

  1. Easy to remember and share
  2. Dramatic
  3. Have a lesson

Shock: Shock works if:

  • If it upsets our preconceived notion of how the story will end
  • Has lasting power
  • If it supports the brand message – use with caution. You may alienate some people.
  • The viral influence

Brian shows a shocking video of someone under the influence being hit by a car.  I couldn’t find it on YouTube but the entire audience gasped after seeing the impact.  It…worked.

Humor: It’s about entertainment. It works when it supports the brand message and when its viral in nature.

Remember that you’re not in the entertainment business. You’re there to show why your product provides a solution to what they’re looking for. Don’t go overboard and just create a funny video.

Before the Web grew its social wings, company’s had most of the control over their own brand. With Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter, the world is different. You have less control than the outside world in defining your brand story.

How Stories Play Out In Social Media

You have customers who tell good stories about you and you have customers who tell bad stories about you. The guys that really don’t like you tell more people than the people who do like you. Bad reviews have much larger biceps.   He missed his flight on his way to SES and was going to have to pay full fare for his next flight. He asked the guy at the desk if he knew what Twitter was. He said yes. He then told him he had 42,000 followers on Twitter (which he doesn’t) and couldn’t wait to write about how Delta was going to screw him over. The guy gave him the ticket at no charge. Hee!

How to Monitor Stories About Your Brand

  1. Setup a Google Alert
  2. Setup Twitter alert
  3. Monitor social news Websites like Digg, Reddit and Yelp
  4. Your own Facebook, LinkedIn Pages

Don’t be confrontational because you’ll lose more than you gain.

Dig into the emotional benefit of what you do. Starbucks creates a third base between home and work.

Next up is Dana Todd.

It’s interesting that at SES people don’t get to talk a lot about emotional aspects. People are bottom lined-focused.  But sometimes you hit a ceiling. What really pushes the needle is creativity.

Okay, so you’ve got a story

You and the 50 other million marketers need to be out there. To be heard, you need to be CREATIVE, AGGRESSIVE and CONSISTENT.  All stories should illustrate and support your core brand promise/value proposition. Use a combination of syndication and promotion to help get a maximum retention of your message. In order to get the maximum amount of results from your storytelling campaign, you need to keep at it for three years. The Apple/Mac story is five years old. The fresher you keep an old story line, the more you’re going to get out of it.

She talks about the different types of awareness/traffic patterns.

  • Traditional: Big spike…. then a drop.
  • Sponsored Content: More constant.
  • Social Media: Consistent little pops.

Typical Storytelling Strategies

  • Breaking News
  • Educational
  • Thought Leadership
  • Product Launch
  • Brand Awareness
  • Crisis Management
  • Persistent Presence
  • Community Relations
  • Corporate Social Responsibility

What Is Storytelling Media?

Pseudo-editorial or advertainment content that tells a story for awareness of persuasion goals.  You pay for its promotion and placement.

Examples: digital advertorial, branded content, sponsored content, article marketing, pay to play editorial, product news, content marketing, etc.

She talks about Zemanta: free plugin for WordPress. It suggests some semantic keywords that you may want to include. It also suggests links that you may want to include to support your writing.  People PAY to have their link included.

Outbrain: You pay $10 a month to have your content featured.

People will support sponsored content as long as its interesting.

Brickfish: sponsored social media content and promos. They do cost-per-engagement.  You get back awesome metrics. You can see very profile that participate and where they world in the world. You only pay for engagement. You can design custom campaigns.  They start at $75,000. It’s not cheap.  A Victoria Secret campaign got a million engagements.

Next up is Joshua Palau.

We love stories. If you think about your most pleasing experience, it probably related to the fact that you had a good story around it. [Oh yes. Definitely. If he only knew.]

  • Resist the direct response temptation – don’t just throw up a coupon for the medication until you know someone has the disease. Give your story first. Search is a series of intent.
  • Create compelling content: create buyers guides, educational tutorials, top ten lists, FAQs
  • Tell stories everywhere
  • let your customers TELL stories: Let them share things. Let them being your advocates. Don’t lie, but do entice relationships.

Focus on solutions to business challenges, people and untapped numbers and goals.

Stay away from keyword lists, negative match types, make fun of other tactics, too much data.

Forget ROI – remember the audience. When you tell a story internally, focus on people’s memories. That’s how you tell the people you’re working with what you’re about. Focus on what people really want out of you.

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