Words Matter And The Story Matters, But You Don’t Need To Be Google To Tell A Great Story
Most of the Super Bowl commercials were unremarkable. While some were memorable, they were not memorable enough for you to connect the brand, the action they asked you to take and the creative.
But as always, a few commercials stand out. One of this year’s crop getting a ton of attention is the Google “Loretta” ad.
Some very interesting aspects of the ad helped it stand out, tell Google’s story, make a memory with the audience and hopefully drive revenue for Google.
Let’s break it down as an example of how you should be building your own story and messaging for your company.
Some basic building blocks that go into solid storytelling can easily be translated for your company to ensure your message connects with prospects and customers equally.
Comprehensive Digital Personas
If your prospects don’t need or care about what you do, then no story or creative message is going to help. But understanding your prospects’ needs, desires, wants and challenges is at the core of solid messaging that moves your prospects to act.
The best way to find this need is to build it from scratch on a foundation, just like you would build a house.
The first part of this process is persona development. Almost everyone today knows personas are important. Almost every prospect tells us they have personas, and most have a pretty good start, but personas are more than demographic information.
Psychographic information is just as or even more important. Here is some more information on psychographic personas.
Equally important is their online buyer behaviors. What sites do they visit to get information? How do they interact online? What is their social media behavior? What groups are they part of? Who are they fans of? Who do they trust online?
Lastly, what questions are they asking? By understanding the questions they ask, you can start building an inventory of answers, and that inventory will inform content, sales communication, sales process and more.
A comprehensive persona profile is one of the key building blocks in your messaging foundation.
An Understanding Of Their Pains
You have to demonstrate a deep understanding of the pains and challenges facing your prospects. This isn’t hard to uncover, but it’s not always as obvious as you might think.
This old example uncovers where some companies go wrong. You go to the hardware store to buy a drill bit to drill a hole. Most drill bit manufacturers think the pain is, “I need a reliable drill bit,” but that’s not the real pain. The real pain is the customer needs a hole in their wall. They want the hole to be clean, they want the hole to be easy to make and they want the hole to work with what they’re putting in the hole.
To be even more illustrative: We have a client that sells safety products. When they met us, they thought their prospects’ pain was finding reliable, high-quality and affordable safety gear. But the real pain was that their prospects (the safety managers) wanted to make sure everyone in their shops remained safe.
It’s a nuance, but it’s an important one. Make sure you understand your prospects’ real pain and challenges.
What Makes You Remarkable
I’m not going to spend a ton of time on this. It’s something we’ve written about over and over again. Here's an article that goes into detail on what it takes to be remarkable.
But I can’t emphasize this enough: Being different, standing out, being special, being remarkable and being able to tell that story quickly is critical to hitting your revenue and growth goals. Without it, you are doomed to mediocre performance.
Great companies have solid differentiation that makes them stand out:
- Google squashed Yahoo! and Bing by being remarkably easy
- Mini made a name by being extra small and embracing full customization
- Netflix made watching TV and movies personalized, easy and cheaper than other options
- Zappos redefined e-commerce by making customer service remarkable and spending as much time with customers as needed
- Amazon made fast delivery remarkable and created a personal shopping experience that reshaped the way people buy
- Dollar Shave Club was remarkable by offering blades and razors at dramatically lower prices
While those are consumer examples, there are just as many B2B examples, too:
- A company that offers no-obligation, on-site safety audits
- A company that fights like a warrior to help protect their clients from paying too much in taxes
- A company that provides certified, trained and experienced data center engineers rather than sales reps to help their prospects
- A company that responds to client issues in 10 minutes, instead of the industry standard 24 hours
- A company that lets you try your virtual assistant at no charge for 24 hours before you sign up
All of these offers are unchallenged in their industries, meaning no competitor offers anything similar. As a result, the companies are remarkable.
Are you remarkable? It might be the most important change you can make to your company if generating more leads, sales opportunities and new customers is part of your growth plan.
Your Story Needs To Be Disruptive
OK, enough about the business strategy and more about the marketing. I hear you. To create a message and a story that resonates with your prospects, gets shared and drives traction, you’ll need disruption.
People don’t want to change. They don’t want to do things differently. As human beings we are hard-coded to avoid change. Change is scary and we don’t want it.
Unfortunately, as a marketer your job is to get people to make a change, whether that’s changing their software, changing their vendor, changing their process or changing their business.
The Google “Loretta” ad is so compelling because so many people can relate to the need to keep important memories accessible.
We have to shake people up. Shake them from their status quo and make them want to take action to do something different.
Let’s just use the Google “Loretta” ad for the sake of this discussion.
People have been collecting items to help them remember their lives for years. From pictures to tokens, clothing, tickets and playbills, the list goes on and on. But who would have thought we can now use our phones or Google to help?
The ad showed how easy it is to simply ask Google to help us remember. Now we can keep pictures, notes, movies, music and even our own fun or important memories right there in the palm of our hand. This is especially important for older folks who are challenged to keep those memories alive and accessible.
If you saw the ad, I’m sure you thought, “Wait, what? I can do that? That would be great for me, for mom, for dad, for my grandma. I want to look into that.” Disruptive messaging — a story that grabbed us and shook us to get our attention.
Your Story Needs To Be Compelling
But disruption is not enough. Your story must be compelling, too. That means a lot of people must relate to the solution your story offers. It must be so interesting that it grabs your attention.
Everyone has at one time or another considered the idea of storing memories. That’s why we hold on to our pictures. But more importantly, almost everyone has had experiences with older family members, friends or associates who need help remembering small details. Almost everyone getting older has had experiences where finding that important fact was harder than when we were younger.
It touches almost everyone, and now that Google can help, it appeals to a very broad group of people in a very compelling way.
Your Story Needs To Be Emotional
But disruptive and compelling isn’t enough. This is one reason why message creation and story development is so important to your company and your company’s revenue growth trajectory.
Your story also must be emotional. Did that commercial make you feel something? Did you well up or shed a tear? Of course. It was an emotional story, told by the person most affected by his relationship with Loretta and his desire to keep her memories alive even when it was hard for him to do it on his own.
When you can touch a person emotionally, your story becomes much stickier. The story for our safety products company is, “Everyone goes home safe tonight.” That is an emotional message. Keeping their people safe is an emotional idea. “We are tax warriors!” That’s an emotional message. They will fight for your financial integrity, ensuring you don’t pay a penny more in taxes than you should pay.
Your business needs an emotional hook as well. When your prospects feel something, they remember you and want to work with you.
Built On A Memory
This isn’t my opinion; this is all based on science. Carmen Simon is a noted brain scientist who has created the structure required for marketing to build a memory.
She recommends the following approach, which should sound similar to our ideas above. Use attention triggers that attract and sustain audience attention.
Audiences forget information because they often don’t pay attention to it in the first place. That means you need to use visual techniques and present your story in a way that captures attention and sustains it for long periods of time. Consider using memory magnets or visual elements (text and graphics) that make any content memorable.
Just because audiences pay attention doesn’t mean they’ll remember. So it’s important to learn how to appeal to existing mental models, build associations and keep repetition in check so an audience remembers key points without becoming annoyed or habituated.
Finally, consider decision drivers, human motivation drivers that spark action.
You’ve got them to pay attention and remember, but will they act? To influence behavior, you must master the skill of appealing to human motivational drivers, such as the need for achievement, autonomy, efficiency, excitement, prominence or freedom from worry.
You don’t need to be Google and you don’t need a Super Bowl ad to use disruptive, compelling and emotional stories to drive your business.
Consider this: If you had this story and it was getting shared by your customers, on your website, part of your entire marketing execution (emails, content, video, social) and part of your sales execution so that your sales team told similar stories at every interaction with their prospects, you would have positioned your company to beat every single competitor in a way that is perfectly aligned with how people make purchase decisions.
This type of strategy work has the potential to completely change the trajectory of your company and ensure you never have to worry about making your sales numbers again. We’d love to help you.
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