Part of your job as storyteller and storymaker is to create meaningful connections with and among your base. A third type of story is the one your member tells himself based on a given set of ideas and information. Your job in this situation is to frame up your brand in a way that resonates with the beliefs your target audience already has. Then get out of the way while your member sells your brand to himself.
Tap Into Audience Worldview
Let’s take for example a pedometer. Nowadays, you have your pick of high-tech blue-tooth-enabled “fitness trackers.” You don’t buy one because the product itself will actually do anything for you (it does nothing). You buy one because you’ve told yourself a story that this $50+ gadget will help you move more, get fit, look sexier, and feel better. From there, you might speculate how your new body will help you make new friends, attract a mate, save money on medical expenses, get noticed for a promotion at work, or any number of benefits that will generally improve your life. The pedometer simply struck a chord with what you were already thinking, (perhaps through some high-energy branding, like this).
We humans are pretty stubborn. It’s hard to get us to change our minds about anything, even if what you’re selling seems like a great idea. Even if what we’re currently doing isn’t working. We’d rather settle for a known evil than an unknown anything. An ideal strategy, then, as marketers is to tap into what our audience already believes.
Your Organization is a Life-Enhancement Tool
Your association is the pedometer in the above example. It’s simply a tool that enables your members to improve their lives.
They don’t necessarily want to belong to your organization. They want career-advancing knowledge. They want to rub elbows with the “it” people in your industry. They want their bosses and coworkers to be impressed by their performance. They want to improve their lives and the lives of others.
Good storytelling is an effective marketing technique because you paint a vivid picture but leave the rest to your audience’s imagination. You let each member tell himself a story, which (no offense to your top-notch marketing efforts) is going to be so much more effective than anything you could possibly say.
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