Story Is Still King
Mar 9, 2015
Everyone is drawn to the shiny new toy. In content marketing, odds are the client only has eyes for what’s popular. Who can blame them? It’s relevant, it’s cool, and it’s what they see trending.
And, let’s face it — it’s always about the latest trend.
Business signs inspire print ads. Print ads influence television ads. TV ads turn into videos. Videos become animations. Throw in online platforms and social media, not to mention the next wave of must-have tricks still in development, and you have a full toy chest.
However, clients often overlook the most important resource. One could say that some marketing professionals are now guilty of forgetting about that key ingredient. But it’s hard to do anything if you don’t have a good story.
Story is what hooks the audience. It builds the relationship and gives the brand a tone and identity. Without story, there is no emotional connection. Without a connection, a true relationship won’t exist.
And who comes up with the story? For starters, writers do.
Writers wear many hats. They’re researchers, editors, visionaries, and everything in between. It’s a far cry from the early days of advertising when copywriters huddled together in bullpens pitching taglines.
Today, writers take massive amounts of brand information, background, and marketing goals, then, throw it in a blender and pour out scripts, infographics, interview guides, paper edits, website content, and social media assets.
And they have to do it under tight deadlines. Writers have to be quick thinkers, learners, and producers.
But they’re not alone. Nowadays, a storyteller doesn’t have to be relegated to that of a wordsmith. Look at animators or artists. Instead of words, they use images, composition, and design.
Also, strategists play key roles in the delivery of story. Part of good storytelling is knowing your audience. Strategists help define the audience and make sure the story is not only heard, but understood.
More and more people are carrying the storytelling torch, because more people understand its importance to the whole process. In some ways, storytelling is becoming a team sport.
Look back over the years, and you can see how story has gone from being somewhat in the background in the advertising/marketing world to being front and center.
For example, the Alka-Seltzer spots of the 1970s.
The story was a guy who had a great time eating and celebrating, and now he’s got bad heartburn, but most people just remember Paul Margulies’ catchy song lyrics, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.”
Contrast that with Budweiser’s recent Super Bowl commercial “Lost Puppy,” where millions of viewers felt the bond between a group of Clydesdales, their trainer, and a puppy.
Today, it’s all about the story, no matter the medium in which it is shared. Audiences embrace stories and the storytellers.
Successful storytellers find the hook in every job, regardless of the subject matter. It doesn’t matter if it is to inform the public, entertain an audience, or sell deodorant.
Storytellers shape the feelings and thoughts around everything. They control perception.
There is an art to it, one that is cultured and practiced. Many storytellers liken it to exercising one’s body. The more you do it, the stronger you get.
Even with the ever-evolving changes in how and where we digest stories, the desire to feed on them still remains.
Story is still king.
Pat Morrissey, Adam Zammiello, and Stephanie Gallina contributed to this blog.