By Gregg Houlden
If 2012 teaches anything it should be conservatives have to take messaging more seriously. David Axelrod strategized and delivered an absolute tour de force of message domination, making the conservative and GOP teams look rank amateurs. (Karl Rove, yes looking at you here.) I hate Axelrod's politics, his boss and the end product of his success. However, one has to respect and applaud his delivery, planning and broad spectrum methodology. In business, marketing has evolved to take into account the changes in the ways people get their information. A huge change in the last 10 years is the rise of Social Marketing. Social Media has become, for a huge voting demographic, the primary brand reputation battlefield as it encompasses word of mouth and inbound marketing channels. Karl and his Neanderthal bunch of has-beens ignored the huge potential and mismanaged the conservative message. Brand's look for, what I like to call "Persistent presence". This describes the; what, where, when, how and how often your target receives your message. $600m of money raised from hard working conservatives went to deliver our message. It failed!
So I am going to post a few Blogs on methods to reinvent our message delivery, and by doing so reinventing the conservative brand. It's something we can ALL get involved in as we all have access to social media channels. Social Media makes every one of us a micro media outlet or Non Main Stream Media channel. My first Blog will touch on a basic concept which we can all use in our own efforts "Story telling". Obama was able to dumb down and talk to the low information voter that we needed to engage via the populist methodology of story telling. It's parables, it's humanizing or visioning in buzz speak but realistically, it's how you would talk to your neighbor, family member or work colleague. WE all can get involved! ;-)
Thinking of the conservative cause as a brand.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand. By giving your products and services an identity by capturing and sharing the stories they really are, you can take your target audience on a journey they yearn to experience. In order for consumers to form a personal connection with your brand, company stories must be authentic, creative and inspirational.
Emotional branding is a progressive marketing strategy that has the potential to drive revenue and increase customer retention.How a person feels about your brand typically determines whether they buy your product. When you tell a story that embodies human challenges, you create an experience that resonates with your customers.
Fundamentals of storytelling
Stories are captivating for a reason. From childhood through adulthood, we are drawn to the lessons we learn, the exciting journeys we embark upon, the knowledge we gain and the opportunity to unleash our imaginations. Stories celebrate our culture, and stories are a testament to the lives we have led.
When crafting your brand story, you must be specific in what you are asking readers to do and illustrate why it is important to their lives. Outline actual steps to be taken and show readers how they can recognize the reward. The sell must be creative, yet subtle, so the audience does not feel misled or cheated at the end.
Just like a fairy tale, a captivating brand story must have three acts that set up the situation, chronicle the conflict and offer a resolution. However, business stories are unique because they require a fourth element – a call to action. The ultimate goal of a marketing campaign is to inspire, whether it motivates change, encourages the buying of a product or draws people into your store. Your desired outcome must drive the direction of the story.
Identifying stories to tell
Stories must be personal. Think about how your brand was born, what inspired you to create the company and what your personal mission is. The story must be compelling but factual. While it is important to tell your own story, client narratives have the largest long-term impact on brands. The customer should be the main character, with your company serving as the supporting character that offers tools to help them create successful resolutions.
For example, if you sponsor a campaign to buy new playground equipment for a community center, the story should focus on why the equipment is needed and who benefits from it. Concentrate on one or two recipients, illustrating what the donation means to their lives. Praise should always come from another person, in the form of a quote, not from a company spokesperson.
Testimonials can be your most powerful weapon in building customer loyalty if they are told in the right way. A testimonial that is just a few sentences is forgettable, but a story that delves into a customer’s personal life and challenges, chronicles the lengths an employee goes to solve the problem and illustrates the positive outcome achieved will stick with readers long after they move on from your marketing materials.
Tapping the most effective medium
Any medium can be used to tell a story, including blogs twitter, Facebook, film, print and multimedia. Each medium elicits a different reaction from your audience, so stories must be tailored to fit. The key to success is knowing which story to tell in which medium. Short, snappy messages work best on television and the Internet, while online conversations, conferences and seminars provide a personal connection.
In order to be a good storyteller, you must listen to your audience so you can genuinely understand their desires and concerns, their beliefs and attitudes. You must continue to listen as your story unfolds so you can gauge the reactions of your audience. Let this help determine how your brand evolves. As your objectives and goals shift, you must plan new initiatives that propel the story forward and inspire renewed calls of action.