Storytelling is an compelling method to build brand mythology according to the CMO of Newsforce Dana Todd. Consultant, speaker and author Tom Peters agrees citing Rolf Jensen that, “companies will thrive on the basis of their stories and myths. Companies will need to understand that their products are less important than their stories.”
There are 5 elements of storytelling that you must consider when crafting your branded content strategy.
You must know your audience, deeply. Drill down and look to see what connects them. Understand what drives them, what they do for fun. Understand them as human beings. Use shared collective experiences and create emotional connections. Also consider their environment.
There are commonly used master plots that are very popular and resonate with the most people. Make choice of plot relevant to your audience and marry the central plot to your value proposition. Sex sells and can get you immediate attention but it doesn’t build a brand promise. Avoid complex plots, keep it simple.
3. Narrative Structure
Plan to express your plot repeatedly in different ways – creatively – through the use of multiple narratives specific to the environment. Don’t clutter your narrative with too much detail… stick to the core. Remember that repetition & exaggeration have always been basic elements of storytelling.
Your characters tell your stories for you. Answer this question: “If your brand had a face and a personality, how would it act?” You’ll have a much larger sense of your brand narrrative by doing this exercise.
Understand that the character can be the bad guy like the Lamosil toe fungus monster. Disgusting, but it works. The character might exemplify the brand attributes, the personification of your brand image. Characters can be objects, or invisible.
Ask: “What is the perfect way to personify what we do for our customers?”
Tone is the layer that ties everything together. Define the tone early and stick with it. The right tone connects at a human level, not just as a smart thing to do.
How to Develop the Campaign
Define the budget and success metrics upfront, then do the business case.
Identify who the ideal customer is, and what you want them to feel that will compel them to give you money.
Don’t Scrimp on This Process! – 20 hours of interviews, qualitative research. If you interview 20 people, you will start to see patterns. Get inside their heads, really understanding customers as people will help you to find stories to connect with them as people.
Simplify, simplify, simplify! Pare ideas down to a single word if posssible – make sure it matters to your target audience.
Sketch simple narratives that illlustrate the word then flesh out the sketches against the vehicles they’ll be served in (display, social, search, PR, print, etc. )
Tie it all together with tone and consistent use of word-images.
Finally, BE AFRAID OF MEDIOCRITY!
Vision and commitment are key. Plan for 3 years minimum commitment to a storyline.