On November 6, 2013, OLC attended the event, “Supercharging Your Business Growth Through Storytelling” hosted by the New York Technology Council. The featured presenters were Jamie King, Co-Founder of Rockstar Games, Jen Begeal, Digital Content Strategist and CEO and Founder of JLB Hart Media, and Michael Roderick, Founder of Small Pond Enterprises LLC.
The event was moderated by Michael Schein, Founder of Michael Schein Communications.
Michael Schein began the event by explaining that, “traditional advertising has changed.” With the advent of the internet, the traditional methods of factual advertising are no longer an effective tool to engage the consumer towards a product. Therefore, the digital market of the 21st century demands a new brand of marketing that engages the customer in an interactive way, in that, companies and organizations must be able to “tell a story.”
Relating to this, Michael Roderick, Founder of Small Pond Enterprises LLC, said that advertising should be like comic books. Roderick gave the example of the ingenuity of the comic book industry using a comic for marketing purposes and this came in the form of the Charles Atlas character. In the past, the beginning of a comic book had a few pages reserved for a side story involving Charles Atlas whereby, the character would face challenges that resonate with the read such as losing his girlfriend or being harassed by bullies. But by using a specific product, Charles Atlas would overcome those challenges. Roderick explains the ingenuity of this type of marketing by which the reader is informed of a product through indirect conversation. Rather than directly telling the consumer the facts about the product, the Charles Atlas comic engages the consumer by telling a story that reflects their personal experiences and the various challenges of their daily lives that can be overcome by using the marketed product.
After Roderick, Jen Begeal, Digital Content Strategist and CEO and Founder of JLB Hart Media, gave her insights on story-telling as a marketing strategy. For Jen, there are seven story arch-types that are available to use as marketing strategies, wherein, each arch-types correspond to the message or image that the business or organization wishes to cultivate. However, creating successful marketing campaign that uses these arch-types is hinged on making a great story that can captivate the target audience by engaging them on a personal level.
Jen then moved on to methods to cultivate a “great” or “good” story. The hallmark of a great story, according to Jen, is how it can “resonate with the audience.” Jen continued and said, “The key to writing a great story is knowing your audience… Knowing your audience means knowing their habits… Do they watch TV? How often are they on Facebook? And etc.”
Secondly, another major aspect to story writing for commercial purposes is whether or not the story is accessible. In order for it to reach as many people as possible, the story must be able to be understood through a wide range of people. And finally, Jen concluded with a final point to her methodologies; “the story must be spreadable, not viral.” People should share the content based on the merits of the story, not by the gimmicks that it uses.
Next, Jaime King asserted his views on the subject by outlining three points. The prospective business or organization that uses a story for their marketing strategy must:
First, the business or organization must “know what they stand for.” An organization or business must have an idea of what their overall image or message is or will be in order to cultivate a story around that message or image.
Secondly, the story must connect simultaneously on an emotional intellectual level wherein, the story must engage the audience on a personal emotional level while stimulating the interest of their intellect.
And finally, similar to Jen’s points on “spreadibility,” the story must be engaging yet concise enough that it is sharable by as many people as possible.
But despite these three points, the most important aspect of a story is quality. The problem with story creation in the digital age is producing massive quantities of content of very little or no quality. To create a great story, the writer of that story must, “take a step back.” According to King, “there is no harm stepping back on producing content.” Time is better spent on producing stories of high quality that impacts the customers with an impression.
Finally, Michael Schein ended the event by bringing up some of his own points about using stories as a marketing strategy. According to Schein, every story as Jen pointed out, follows an arch-type such as overcoming adversity so there is no need to be creative or original. But what is important pertains to whether or not the story can place the audience as the “hero” or “main character” of the story. Schein uses the example of the Apple vs. PC advertising campaign. Apple’s ingenuity with the campaign was that Apple itself wasn’t the main character of the campaign. Rather, the audience is the main character by which they are provided the tools to discern which brand is better. This way, the audience is engaged and the product is personified to their needs or interests.