Are You Employing the Smashing Value of Creative Stories?
Have you seen the recent Google Reunion video where a story of long lost friends is told? The video was made by Google India, and the point, of course, is to promote Google Search. But it also reaches a new level of what can be done with the value of creative stories.
If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here …a short 3+ minutes.
Facts don’t persuade, feelings do. And creative stories are the best way to get at those feelings.
The story is this: a man in Delhi tells his granddaughter about his childhood friend, Yusuf. He hadn’t seen Yusuf since the Partition of India in 1947 when India and Pakistan became separate countries, and the two friends were forced to separate. The man’s granddaughter arranges for the two to meet again.
The story is simple and direct. It’s beautiful and honest, and true. The photography is spectacular. The music adds to the very good acting.
Do you use stories in your customer engagement … or perhaps in marketing messages? Good stories are a great way to develop an identity, personalize and build your customer base. Good stories:
Immediately focus on engagement, experiences, and emotion – central tenets that are attractive to customers.
The narrative makes your message relevant and memorable through personalization.
Stories are a great means of sharing and interpreting experiences, and great experiences have this innate ability to change the way in which we view our world.
Creative story lessons
A lot of us are trying to figure out how to improve the use of storytelling as part of our marketing. Very few of us do it well. There are several things to be learned from this excellent video:
This video is about as emotional as it gets. Stories like this provide a chance to experience a variety of emotions without the risk of those emotions themselves. Emotions like wonder, fear, courage, or love can be tested out in the minds of those as they listen to a story. You may remember the feelings of emotions which can trigger memories or create resolve as a result of hearing such stories. The experience of hearing stories can awaken portions of emotional lives that may have lain dormant or have not yet been explored.
Be dynamic with your stories like Google. Nothing is more important to narrative content than imagination, so give vivid descriptions and use emotional hooks and humor to get people fully engaged. This story engages us, doesn’t it? Be creative, not only with words and images but also with the methods you use to convey them. Like the music as well as the messages.
Value of creative stories … understanding others
Well-told stories can help us to learn about other cultures, ideas and ways of thinking. They can provide opportunities to know how past generations responded to challenges. They can also let us know how new generations are encountering and dealing with similar opportunities or the new challenges they face. This video has some of each and then some. In the background is the partition of India, a painful episode in the history of India and Pakistan. These aren’t just two old friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time. This is a creative story that builds on some big forces: politics, religion, geography, nationalism.
If you listen to your customers, like Google has, you can leverage their stories to drive your creativity. By analyzing their stories of how your products and services fit into their lives, you can gain valuable insight into their needs and desires, which can be hugely beneficial to other aspects of your business. Like product design and development and ongoing marketing strategy. The reunion has done that well don’t you think?
People are thirsty to know that they are seen and heard in our over stimulated society. The rampant growth of “reality” TV shows certainly proves this. When personal and life stories are shared, there’s a chance to know that “I am not alone.” The two old friends certainly don’t want to be alone any longer.
Remember, stories, when properly written, pull people into a dialogue. It’s about engagement and interaction. The audience is just as active a participant as the storyteller. In contrast, many companies and brands still relentlessly push messages to their employees and into the marketplace—without meaningful context or relevancy.
The brand can be central to the story
It’s obvious that this video is promoting Google. But the use of Google is woven into the narrative in a way that feels natural. It’s not intrusive or forced. It works very effectively. Especially when it is not about Google but Google customers. Simply about how people use Google products.
There are two messages in the video that are being driven home by Google. The first is that the work Google does is making a difference. It is making the world a better place by its search engine. But it’s not about technology. It’s about what people do with the technology. How they apply it to solve their problems.
The second message, while a definite subset of the first, is as important. That being the old world was one where people were driven apart. But there is a change in the old world where technology is ushering in a new world. A new world where people are brought together in a way that would not have existed a decade ago.
As a storyteller, I know my audience is experiencing one of the above benefits as they listen to my serious or funny stories. I see their breathing change, their attention focus and their foreheads wrinkle or relax. So much is happening in our shared experience.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to crafting a quality narrative. It takes a ton of creativity as well as time, patience, planning, and polishing to give your brand’s story sparkle and make it shine. We recommend you dive into using creative stories!
Next time you are building a marketing campaign, use a great story built from these lessons.
So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is completely up to you. But believe in the effectiveness of creative stories for your marketing. And put them to good use.
It’s up to you to keep improving your creative marketing efforts. Lessons are all around you. In this case, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.
When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.
Try. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy improving your creative stories and marketing?
Do you have a lesson about making your marketing strategy better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
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