I’m not a fan of fake things. I prefer wood to plastic. Real food over processed foods. Fake people drive me nuts, and I’d rather read non-fiction instead of fiction. It’s just my preference. It may also have something to do with why StoryTeller produces stories about real people. Oh sure, we’ve had some departures from this approach producing a couple commercials, an Emmy Award winning music video, and even some animated graphics pieces — all of them fun and interesting projects. However, to be candid, it’s not our sweet spot. And frankly, there are some outstanding video production companies in the Twin Cities (and beyond) that are way better at that stuff than are we. On the other hand, when it comes to telling real stories about real people? Ahh, now, that’s right up our alley.
Perhaps it comes from spending 12-years in television news, working alongside some of the greatest storytellers in the business. These are professionals who understand how to craft a message, match poetry with stunning visuals, and draw raw emotion from their interview subject and the viewer alike. We used to refer to outstanding reporters as great “storytellers.” This is why I chose the name StoryTeller back in 2005. It’s aspirational and out of respect to the pros who really understand storytelling. Our goal has been to emulate these pros and produce real stories and information that inspire action from the viewer or reader.
You may have noticed, it has also become popular for marketers to talk about “storytelling.” Maybe this is the reaction to the belief that business owners and leaders have a hard time “telling their story.” Unfortunately, this can be confusing, because “storytelling” in this world looks more like a watered down, anecdote in the form of a 30-second commercial or a full-page ad in the newspaper. There is a disconnect between the terminology and the deliverable.
What if more marketing efforts focused on real stories? What if the story that marketers have such a hard time telling isn’t about their business? What if that story is actually about something the customer cares about? What if those stories are about the customer and not about what the company wants to sell? What if the stories actually help customers with real world problems?
Think about it. Authors write books they think their readers will enjoy. Movie producers create movies they think people will want to watch. They create stories that are made for the consumer, with viewer or reader benefit in mind. When was the last time you saw a commercial you actually sought out and wanted to watch? On the other hand, we all know the power of a “viral video,” right?
Consumers seek and share the stories that are meaningful to them, not the commercials that are meaningful to the businesses pushing them.
The shift is upon us. Consumers seek and share the stories that are meaningful to them, not the commercials that are meaningful to the businesses pushing them. And yet traditional marketing and advertising have a significant place in our world. So, what is your marketing mix? Have you started the shift to creating real stories and information? Or, are you continuing to push your messages to an audience that is becoming numb to push marketing?