This is a very hot topic today: All marketers talk about brands (products and services) who tell stories to their consumers. The better the stories brands tell, the more successful these brands become -- or so goes the word in marketing circles.
If you take a minute to think about it, the true reason why we (customers) like well-crafted stories is because these stories enable us to pick and choose ideas and feelings and weave them into our own stories. Let’s dig deeper into this insight: We enjoy reading a well-written book for our own intellectual pursuits, but nothing comes close to the pleasure of hearing us talk about this book -- how we related to it, what we’ve got out of it, what we thought were the most valuable ideas in it. We are defined by our stories; storytelling is a status-building activity.
Looking knowledgeable is the best massage for our egos, whether we admit it or not. When we tell a story, we want to be heard, we expect good feedback, we sometimes get applauded. Nothing like a good warm pat on the back!
Marketers ultimately classify the story-telling activity as word of mouth. This is the dream of every marketer: word of mouth that carries their stories.
Word of mouth is what we do when something pleases to us. This is what Coca-Cola, Nike, Cadillac, Bugaboo, Budweiser, and others pay big money to get from their customers and non-customers. Think about Santa Claus and you’ll immediately remember Coca-Cola and get that child-like feeling that accompanies something good.
This is a marketer’s pursuit of happiness -- chasing good stories, charismatic characters who tell these stories, authentic moments, and good feelings that empower us to tap into their stories and weave them into our stories.
At the end of the day, our simple stories are the most authentic and therefore most sought for by marketers. No TV commercial, magazine ad, or web banner compares to our stories. When marketers manage to weave their stories into our stories, they win.
That is why, being a good observer and listener makes the difference between a good and a bad marketer.
Our word of mouth defines who loses and who wins. Let’s enjoy this power and use it wisely.