I got an email from one of you lovelies asking for a little detour. He wanted me to circle back around to an earlier concept and flesh it out. So let’s get crackin’.
Storytelling is fundamental to how the human brain understands the world — especially fundamental to how we remember information. And why would you spend money and time on marketing material, traditional or social, that’s hard to remember? There’s a reason we teach kids the alphabet with a little song that has a narrative. This happens then this happens then that. Monty Python got in on the action with their Oliver Cromwell song, which rumor has it John Cleese wrote to help one of his kiddos study for history class.
But it doesn’t take musical genius (or silly walks) to make something stick. Narrative will do the trick on its own. Think about fairy tales and folk tales. Those critters have stuck around forever. Why? Lots of little narrative tricks. For example: Think about how many folk tales have things happen in threes. How many billy goats gruff are there? Three. How many little pigs, in how many houses? Three. How many things does home invader Goldilocks mess up for the bears? Three. Why? Because three is the smallest number than can indicate a pattern. A thing happens once, well, it’s just a thing that happened. Twice could be a coincidence. But three times? You got yourself a pattern there, y’all. And that means narrative. And that means it sticks.
So, if we grant that storytelling makes stuff memorable, what does a story need? You need people (or goats, or pigs, or bears) doing stuff.
Character and plot.
And your brand is your character. Your main character. Your name-that-goes-above-the-title-on-the-movie-poster character.
As you may have surmised from the y’alls that pepper this blog, I live in Texas. And while I don’t want to stereotype, Texans take trucks very seriously. I am not joking when I tell you I have seen an actual bar fight over truck brands. If I’m clever enough to figure that out, then you know the folks at Chrysler are. Guess who they chose to narrate their commercials for Dodge trucks here in Texas?
Sam “My Voice is So Western and Sonorous I Can Spontaneously Generate Whiskey and Jukeboxes” Elliott.
Boom. Character. That’s what I’m talking about.
Now obviously, we can’t all afford Sam Elliot to remind folks that the brand abides. But every medium, small, and even tiny business can still take the time to define their brand. And should. Think about what you want people to associate with your businesses, then create a character that speaks to those associations.
Of course, you still have to back it up. But that’s what integrity is for, right?