I went to the store a few months ago and was waiting in line to purchase my groceries at Publix. The line was quite long and people were getting incredibly impatient. The guy in front of me decided that the influx of patrons was the cashier’s fault and that she was going way too slowly. As he yelled at her and I watched her try to hold back a mixture of tears and anger, I patiently waited.
When it was my turn I moved forward with a smile and told the cashier “Don’t worry about that guy. He’s projecting his problems on you. You’re doing a great job.” A smirk appeared across the sides of her face and she let out a deep breath. Sometimes people just need to hear it’s not their fault.
Why did I get into this whole story? To show you how ingrained stories are in our everyday lives. Chances are you’ve been in this same situation before. Where a simple explanation of facts would have sufficed, we convey emotion and draw listeners in. We form a connection with not only the storyteller but with the characters and the brands around us. So how do you use this mechanism to influence people telling your story? It’s simple, really.
Find Something Your Customers Can Relate To
Before you begin your content marketing campaigns, ask yourself a few questions:
- What’s the story behind your product?
- In everyday life, how do people use this?
- And when they do..how do we form a cohesive story explaining how it helped them?
Once you answer all of those questions you’ll start to see a clear picture forming, a story. This is what you need to explain to your customers. If Google can take something as innocuous as a search engine to describe a love story, you can surely do it with your product. Take a look:
This video certainly does a good job of evoking some emotion. They found something that most people can relate to and used it to push their marketing message. It’s brilliant.
Figure out what your Customers care about
Of course your story has to be relevant to your audience. Memories of how milk used to be $0.10 a gallon won’t evoke strong emotion in Millenials. Really try to get in the mind of your audience. Remember what Subway did with Jared?
Subway capitalized on the diet fad with a story about a guy who lost a ton of weight eating their food. From 1998, a year before these ads began, to 2011 Subway tripled it’s U.S. sales. Catching my drift here?
Make it Short and Sweet
The whole purpose of storytelling is to provide some easy way for people to acquire lots of information in a vivid fashion. As our attention spans continue to decrease amongst the inordinate amount of advertisements out there, this is becoming increasingly important.
Build Your Own Trojan Horse
As you can see: stories give people a way to talk about your products and ideas. It’s an effective content marketing technique. You subtly influence the opinion of an individual by taking them on a journey. Sneaking past their guard and then drawing them in. This is, as researcher Jonah Berger would put it, your Trojan Horse.
Dove did this with it’s Real Beauty campaign. It reminded people what really goes on behind the beauty industry and generated a huge discussion behind what “Real Beauty” actually is. Take a look:
This video currently has over 65 million views. To put it lightly, it went viral, and Dove’s product was integral to the story. This was their Trojan Horse.
The only question left is: how will your story play out?