The Pressure of Story

By February 7, 2014 Blog

No brand. No story.

No story. No brand.

It is a common lament amongst a brand’s marketers that their brand’s story isn’t getting out, is misunderstood, isn’t reaching the right people.  Etc, etc. Excuse, Excuse.  When brands like Tom’s Shoes, Dollar Shave Club and SnapChat burst on to the scene with compelling stories, it amps up the pressure even more on established brands. In addition, word-of-mouth and it’s BFFs social media and content are the top 3 drivers of brands – and all 3 require stories.  Brands that struggle to tell a story seem to go one of two routes:

1) The Michael Bay model – explosions, over-production and bad dialog … but no story.

2) The Think Tank model – producing acres and acres of white papers, videos and press releases about how smart they are … but no story.

The root cause of this struggle to find and tell stories is simple.  Most brands are boring.  Imagine sitting down to write a manuscript for a mystery novel – and removing character development, a hero, a villan, a setting, a plot line and a reveal.  You would have what most brands are sending out as “story” – marketing BS.

I might be over-analyzing this, but I believe being boring is caused by fear.  Fear of disrupting the business model. Fear of doing somethign edgy that will upset someone.  Fear of being different – and different is bad – and different will get you fired.  Fear of wearing non-pleated pants.

For brands with a cultural of innovation, those fears don’t exist.  They fear being the same.  They fear being boring.  As such, story is easy for them.  They live and breath their story every day.

So there it is.  Fear creates boring. Boring creates no story.  No story means no brand.  So the real pressure isn’t to tell your story.  The real pressure is having the courage to be different.

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