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What child of the 80’s didn’t love MacGyver?
With little more than a paper clip, some chewing gum, and a wristwatch, that guy could make just about anything. Plus he had a great head of hair. And he’s Canadian- who knew? But I digress…
The great thing about MacGyver was how he made something out of nothing, and a lot of times in small B2B businesses, that may kinda feel like your marketing plan, and your marketing budget! So if you have limited funds, and need to make a big impact, what are the major things you need to consider?
We think that the key to good marketing is brand storytelling. In fact, we’re pretty passionate about it. Brand storytelling means explaining what your company does. More importantly it connects your audience to the great “WHY”- why you do what you do. Within this brand storytelling, there are three main factors to consider. These three factors are the same components that make a great work of fiction or a summer blockbuster movie. Even in the ‘boring’ B2B world, you can find ways to tell a great story. Here’s our list of the three elements your brand storytelling needs to focus on.
Conflict creates tension, and tension is what keeps people engaged. MacGyver always had to hatch a plan quickly to outsmart the bad guys- that was what kept you watching. Companies that take risks or push the envelope to get where they are have a compelling story that keeps us glued to our seats. Your audience can identify with overcoming obstacles to get where you want to be. Think about ways that your company has overcome challenges in the marketplace. Is there a great origin story about how your company came to be? What problems does your product solve? These are all great places to start finding the kernels of your business story and developing them in to some engaging content that will resonate with your consumers.
Be true to your brand and true to your voice. Authenticity can gain you a lot of brand evangelists if you are willing to avoid jargon and tell a story that rings true with your audience. James H. Gilmore, a marketing consultant and a co-author of the book “Authenticity,” said in an interview that consumers felt a desire for the real “in an increasingly staged, contrived, mediated world.” New awareness of the ethical and environmental costs of consumerism, enabled by technology has also led to consumers wanting to find locally sourced products or services that come from a business that has some heritage behind it.
If you don’t think people can spot a fake story intuitively, the digital age has given rise to a new era of transparency. Twitter, blogs, and the twenty-four-hour news cycle are forcing companies to live up to their promises more than ever. Even the most carefully crafted press release can’t compete with 1,000 people trashing a brand in the blogosphere. A company that lets consumers see their shortcomings as well as their successes can build a lot more brand trust than a company who ignores public concerns. For example, Patagonia, the outdoor clothing store, began a project called “the Footprint Chronicles” on their website. The Footprint Chronicles document the company’s supply chain with videos, articles and an interactive map showing the farms, factories and textile mills it works with. Even though the company’s transparency has led to some criticisms-that it should be using more recycled polyester, for example “”Jill Dumain, Patagonia’s director of environmental strategy, says that it has also forged loyalty among its customers. When Patagonia started the Chronicles, she says, “The reaction I feel like I heard the most was, “˜I trust what you tell me on the good, because you’re willing to tell me about the bad.’ “
Authenticity may be the reason MacGyver is no longer a hit TV show. We just don’t buy those storylines anymore. Too many of us have tried to make a Geiger counter from two rubber bands and a calculator, only to find out it didn’t work.
The device your audience uses to hear your story and the length of your message are irrelevant if you have a good story to tell. One of the reasons we believe video is the best solution to storytelling is because audiences are asking for it. A good story will be talked about, tweeted, shared on Facebook, blogged about. People will make silly Gifs and create fan pages about good stories.
This is what you need to give your audience. A good idea worth sharing, a story that they connect with. Always consider your audience.
Take time to decide what story you want to tell. Start simply and decide the best, most efficient way to tell it. When you’re ready to take the next step, we’d love to help.