Storytelling Isn’t Enough
Telling your brand story is only part of your job as marketer. Another important endeavor is to create situations for your membership to also tell your story. This “storymaking” is an essential part of your brand’s success. It provides third party credibility through authentic, timely tales of member experiences. It also facilitates meaningful connections between members. Best of all storymaking creates connectivity between your members and your organization.
In a lot of ways, the stories your attendees tell are more powerful than the ones you intentionally produce, package, and promote.
You Make Stories Happen
Consider the current “Share a Coke” campaign featuring cans and bottles with names and relationships-like Michelle, Sarah, Bob, and also Soulmate, Buddy, Pal. The encouragement to share a Coke fosters human connectivity while simultaneously creating a connection with Coke.
The results of such a simple idea have been remarkable. Social media is filled with conversations about individuals who searched multiple grocery stores for their own names. Other tales tell of people seeking out friends and coworkers simply because they found their name on a can. Couples post “Soulmate” pictures with each other and the sentimental Coke can. It’s a win-win: meaningful connections between people and free, authentic advertising for Coke.
PetSmart enjoyed similar success with its Inspiration Wagin’ campaign. This summer the pet retailer loaded up a truck full of dogs and cats and toured the country handing out free promotional items and letting people play with the pets. The campaign enjoyed significant media coverage and more than 100,000 social media conversations.
For other examples of masterful storymakers, look to video camera company GoPro, online dating site eHarmony, or even Budweiser. Sports teams have been doing this for decades (Take a look at a recent love story made possible thanks to the Indianapolis Colts.)
It’s not Enough to Tell Stories
Good marketing is a conversation. Yes, you need to carefully craft your stories as part of your brand’s image. But if no one is talking with you or about you, maybe no one is listening to you either.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable to the responses and feedback you get in return. The results might just be increased connectivity, happier members, and better brand awareness through genuine word-of-mouth marketing.
Your branding extends to everything your organization does-from your annual conference to your daily email communications. There are endless opportunities for storymaking. How might you inspire your members to tell your story?
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