Branding Challenge Day 13. Expanding your Stories

Branding Challenge Day 13. Expanding your Stories

The Power Of Stories

Choose Your Premise

Your premise is the angle of the story and the way you hook your reader in order to get your message across. It’s the entire point of your story. Your premise is to solve your audience’s problems with your product or service. Expanding your Stories will in time become a natural extension of your marketing plans.

Your subject, as well as your solution all, have a premise, and the entire story rests on the premise. Try writing down your premise in just one or two sentences before writing the entire story. You should be able to explain it easily.

What Would Seth Godin Say?

Marketing expert, Seth Godin, often says that people already have their worldviews and you’re not going to change them. Therefore, for your marketing story to be successful, it needs to feed into what they already believe and think.

Choose Your Audience With Care

Think of the 2104 Super Bowl Coke Commercial and the controversy it caused in some circles. In the commercial, the characters sang “America the Beautiful” in many languages. The premise of the story was that we’re all one, and in this together as a melting pot. And of course, Coke brings us together.

Many people were upset because they felt the anthem should have been spelled only in English. So the question remains, if they chose the right audience with Super Bowl.

Watcher for that particular commercial. Always check your premise and be sure it matches your intended audience.

Create Visual Representations

expanding-your-stories

Nothing is more important today in marketing than visuals. Your marketing stories are too important to not include a visual element. Marketing stories are a great away to build relationships with your audience. Visuals give not only outsiders but insiders an entirely new way to view you as a company. Creating powerful visuals to go with your story is an essential part of ensuring that your story is told well. Using before and after photos, or photos of the process, is powerful. Any type of relevant imagery, even if it’s simply a photo of the story’s subject, can add so much to a story.

Telling a Story Well

Creating powerful visuals to go with your story is an essential part of ensuring that your story is told well. Using before and after photos, or photos of the process, is powerful. Any type of relevant imagery, even if it’s simply a photo of the story’s subject, can add so much to a story.

IndustryJargon / Buzzwords

Talk like you’re a real person and people will listen. Business buzzwords can kill a great story faster than a telemarketer calling you at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Misleading or Inaccurate Words & Phrases

Nothing is worse than clicking through to read what looks like a compelling story to find it’s just another sales page. Don’t trick your audience, they won’t appreciate it, and it won’t work. We live in a time where the public is exceptionally intelligent and knowledgeable about pretty much anything they want to buy, don’t treat your audience as if they’re anything but.

Incomplete Arguments

When you make any statements of fact, be sure to finish your arguments. Remember the rules of who, what, when, why & how. If you form a sentence that is meant to be an argument for something or against something then you need to answer all five of those ideas within the argument for it to be complete.Never leave hooks open before calling to action

Always frame your thoughts in terms of how your audience will read them and answer the questions with facts to back up the story.

Full Circle

If you think about it, with the advent of the Internet we’ve really come full circle. We can now share our stories in a whole new way using all the senses, must like our ancestors did when sitting around a campfire drawing in the dirt, except now we can do it with far reaching technology. Stories can be written, made visual with added pictures, and we can even add audio if we desire to make them more interesting, shareable and compelling.

Some things never go out of fashion.

We know why storytelling is so important and it’s simply because human beings are wired to hear and act on stories.  It’s in our DNA. This is how children have been taught morals for centuries.  And how we learn and entertain ourselves since the beginning of time. First as oral stories, often using pictures drawn in the sand, on tablets, or on cave walls. Later they were written down for posterity.

As powerful as storytelling can be there are some things that should be avoided.

Don’t be Frightened of Traditional-Expanding your Stories

When telling your brand’s story, or your customers’ stories, a great way to peak interest is to do a play on traditional stories that we all grew up with, know and love.

Boy meets girl can become boy meets product or service. Girl meets her prince charming can become girl buys her own Park Avenue suite because she followed your method to start a six figure business.

There are many ways in which to approach this. We can take some lessons from TV shows that use tried and true methods for bringing in new audiences and exciting the ones they have. You know as well as I do that when something is good, people talk. If your story is good and told in a unique and interesting way it will be shared.

The Guest Star

Know any movers and shakers who like your products or services? Ask them to tell you and your audience their story.

The Hero

It’s fun when the story culminates with a product or service saving the day and making someone’s life easier.

Coming of Age

This is a classic story where the main character has a revelation about a problem that changes his or her life.

Spin-Offs

Remember the Taster’s Choice’s coffee commercials that became their own little series, known as the Taster’s Choice Saga in the U.S.? The same can happen with a well-told story about one or more of your consumers with follow ups and behind the scenes additions.

Drama

If you can add some drama to your stories you can shake up your audience in new ways. You can add obstacles in the way of your main character and then only at the last minute let your product or service form the solution that sets your character free.

Humor

Nothing is better than humor to sell a product or service. If you and your audience can find the humor in the needs, desires, hopes and dreams and even problems that your product or service brings to fruition or solves then you’ve got story gold.

Bring it All Together

Finally, it’s okay to use different forms of content to get your story out, in fact, it’s best. Don’t just use one way to tell even the same story. Use text, audio, visual, images and more to make marketing with stories come alive. In truth, the biggest sin outside of understanding your audience you can make is being boring.There are many different ways to tell a story. The great thing about that is you can also tell the same story in many different formats and it’s easy to do online. You can start with the:-

  • text,
  • create a podcast out of it,
  • add some images and create a slideshow,
  • With some movement and music, it is a video.

You don’t want each format to be identical, but you do want the different formats to be connected by one story.

Case Studies

This is a great way to add to any marketing story because your audience loves to hear stories about other people doing the same thing as them. They love to read about or listen to a story about someone just like them having succeeded in your product or service.

Testimonials

Using testimonials inside a marketing story or as a marketing story is a great way to speak directly to your audience by letting the audience tell the story themselves. You can design the method, written, video, interview, and the concept and your customers will fit their story into that concept. Make it fun, have a contest and you’ll gather a lot of information and testimonials that you can use to develop your marketing story.

Podcasts

You can actually weave your story over several podcast episodes. After all,telling your story doesn’t have to be done in one fell swoop. Marketing with stories isn’t a one-off event, it’s an ongoing relationship building tool that can inform your entire online presence.

You can actually weave your story over several podcast episodes. After all,telling your story doesn’t have to be done in one fell swoop. Marketing with stories isn’t a one-off event, it’s an ongoing relationship building tool that can inform your entire online presence.

eBooks

Using an eBook format to disseminate your story is a great way to put it all together for your audience who likes to read. You can weave stories into any eBook that you write about any topic. Consumers love a good story, and an eBook is an excellent way to provide it.

Videos

With the advent of simple technology that almost anyone can use to record digital videos you can now use it to create compelling stories with short and even longer videos. This is a really good way to use marketing with stories and testimonials from clients. Letting clients tell their story and how your product and / or service saved the day and is very powerful.

Plus, what could be more real?

Images

Graphics and photographs are wonderful additions to any type of story. It’s important to choose the images correctly that add to and not take away from the words that you use. The right image, which might just be a graphically enhanced quote taken right out of the text of your marketing story, can be shared thousands of times.

Infographics

When you have a lot of data to share with your audience one of the best ways to do it is with infographics. An infographic is longer than a meme, and more than one image, it usually encompasses a lot of data illustrated in image form so that it makes sense to the reader. It’s a powerful way to tell a story quickly.

Putting it into Practice

If you’re a born storyteller, a lot of this will come naturally to you. But you have to consciously remember that stories belong in your marketing plan. You are not just writing fiction for the hell of it.

The good news is, that stories are everywhere and are happening everywhere around you and to you. If you can tie those stories into the content you’re writing or the product you’re selling, it can be a very powerful thing.

“No, no! The adventures first,” said the Gryphon in an impatient tone, “explanations take such a dreadful time.” – Lewis Carroll