Stories change lives. I can still remember of the first books I devoured on rainy afternoons. I can still remember pretending to be Nancy Drew with a friend in sixth grade. I wanted to be a detective in the worst way; right up until I realized it was a low-paying job and you had to wear plaid skirts all the time. I still remember the first piece of fiction I wrote in middle school. It felt so good to put a story on paper and have a beginning, a middle and an end. It was in no way a rival to Dickens, but I was proud.
Stories move us. You don’t believe me? The answer lies in our fascination with tabloids and reality TV shoes. It lies in the gossip websites and how we elevate movie stars to royalty. We love a good story. And, let’s face it, Hollywood is chuck full of ’em.
How does this relate to marketing? Your audience wants to be a part of your story. When Nike was created, they did not sit in a board room and declare they wanted to motivate people with a logo and a slogan to “Just Do It”. The company was created and they asked themselves how they could best motivate their audience in athletic adventures. A slogan was born.
What can we learn from this? Sometimes the story comes before the brand. Other times, it’s the other way around. A great story doesn’t have to be based upon the past. “Just Do It” was as much Nike’s future as it was the past. They decided they wanted to motivate people to greatness and that became the story of their brand. Brand first. Story second.
What is your story? How do your clients see you? How would you explain your business to a friend’s Mom? What is your competitive advantage? Write your story. Keep reminding me about your story. Remember to tell me how your products fit into your story. Tell me how being a part of your brand is the best place to be. Make me feel like I’d be missing out to shop around and seek out a competitor. Make it your story. Embrace it. Ignite your people to share it. Compel me to your brand with your story. And then shout it from the Social Media Mountain Tops!