I can’t recall how many articles I’ve published here about the power of content marketing, a.k.a. brand storytelling. So many. Because the need is ever great, here’s another…
When good fortune is on your side, and you have a well-made ad campaign (backed by sufficient media dollars to reach a multitude of desirable audiences in today’s fractured mediaverse), you’re in a position to earn the attention and consideration that your brand needs to breathe. Then what? Will paying customers emerge from this consideration set and float the company’s boat? No, not en masse, not until they also become believers.
It’s the belief in the brand’s promise and/or a price-based promotion that opens the wallet. To help people believe and keep them in the franchise, a brand needs stories that resonate through the culture. And content marketing is the carrier of these stories, the vehicle that delivers people from “Consider” to “Buy.” Well-made content marketing converts because it is informative and/or entertaining. Content adds value. Meanwhile, the offer is removed or downplayed, and the customer is invited in to the brand story.
I can hear the chirpy content critics now…so, I will endeavor to explain. In the following brand narrative, a bourbon drinker can easily connect with the product story, but brand marketing is about more than product promotion. To make bourbon drinkers into Wild Turkey drinkers, people need to see themselves in the story.
In this place-based narrative from Wild Turkey, there are important subplots about working in the family business, about Kentucky and the river, and about the virtues of age, patience, and tradition. The subplots matter because they’re the connective threads that draw people in.
I love how Matthew McConaughey (University of Texas’ Minister of Culture) says, “We’re not going to be for everybody. If we’re for you, you’ll know.” I also love how he says, “I found a story here in Kentucky. I found a story here in the Russells. I found a story here in Wild Turkey that I think deserves to be told. I find it entertaining. I find it inspiring.” Humble is missing from the culture today, therefore Wild Turkey has an advantage in its humility.
Commercials alone can’t cover this much ground in 30 or 60 seconds. Brand marketing creates fans, and content is the currency that converts. That’s why TV advertising drives people to YouTube or the brand’s website for deep dives, a.k.a. an immersion in the brand’s story. In the hurry to close, many brands skip their own stories and jump right to their blaring, glaring offers in the hope that it drives people to the store. Hope is essential to cheerfulness, but hope is not part of marketing communications. Successful marketers have a plan and their plans include content strategies.
But CMOs Love Data, Data Makes Them Feel Safe
How many are going improve their brand stories? https://t.co/vC0f6dPXNO
— David Burn (@davidburn) December 10, 2019
There’s nothing wrong with data, as long as it informs the story. It seems to me that many marketers and quite a few agency people have yet to cross their own personal bridge from data-driven fantasies into the light of human behaviors. Our best ads are cultural artifacts promoted by corporate sponsors. Our best ads are previews for a larger brand story because that’s what humans are hard-wired to gather around (not offers).
The screen is the new campfire. When you see this media truth, you also see your responsibility as a maker to come to the fire with a moving story.