Month: February 2014

Elements of a Good Story

Storytelling in Marketing

I am taking a Communications course right now as part of my certificate in Project Management.  One of the effective communication methods that we examined was storytelling!  We learned that storytelling can be a great way to get a point across, convey facts and promote feel good, buy in and stickiness.

Well, I didn’t need my textbook to teach me that – I already know that from marketing!

It did, however, make me think more on how I can write a more compelling story.  Anyone can tell a story – but how do you make sure you keep your audience listening until your story ends? For that, I guess we will have to go back to the basics of storytelling.  Here are the elements that every story requires:

  1. An event: something must happen to launch the story
  2. A protagonist: a main character that your audience can relate to and get behind
  3. Obstacles and Conflict: what are the challenges that your protagonist faces? What are the problems that your products or services solve?
  4. A Decision: how does your protagonist react to solve their problem?
  5. A Result: what is the result of their decision? What is the ending that you want to leave your audience with?  What action do you want to inspire your audience to take?

Add in vibrant and rich details to keep your audience entranced.  Keep in mind that most consumers today are savvy and knowledgeable so make sure your story is based on fact rather than fiction.

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Getting to Know an Olympian

I’ve been glued to the television lately, watching Sochi 2014 Olympics coverage non-stop whenever I can! These games have always brought out the competitive patriot in me and it fills me with great pride every time a Canadian takes the podium.  Winter Olympics are definitely where our Canadians athletes shine. (The official Twitter account of the Canadian Olympics Team was definitely right on the mark when they coined the hashtag #WeAreWinter.)

A few days ago, I was watching coverage of the women’s figure skating short program when a feature came on about Kaetlyn Osmond, the newest star in Canadian ladies’ figure skating.  The feature called “The Olympians” is a short 3 minute profile of Osmond and documents her journey to becoming a Olympic athlete (and champion!) in Sochi.

Here is the clip from CBC Sports:

Getting to see Osmond as an individual and knowing her story really changed how I perceived her. Instead of being just a Canadian athlete in the crowd – she was Kaetlyn Osmond, the 17-year old figure skater from Newfoundland who loved being the centre of attention. When she dazzled on the ice, she made me even more proud as a Canadian.  I was cheering for her and holding my breath.  When she struggled and especially when she fell, I was devastated.  These emotions came to me stronger because… I felt like I knew her.

This is the power of a story.  A good story is one that your audience can enjoy.  A great story is one that they can feel a part of.  This of course, reminds me of the quote from Seth Godin that I had previously wrote about.  “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”  What a difference those 3 minutes made – just like that, Kaetlyn Osmond went from being an unknown to a name that I won’t forget.  (Great job, Kaetlyn on your silver medal! Go Canada Go!)

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Some Seth Godin Wisdom

Marketing is About the Stories You Tell


I am in love with this quote from Seth Godin! Marketing is no longer about telling and selling, and is certainly not “make it and they will come”.  Marketing today is about storytelling – either your brand’s story or your consumers’ stories.  People can better relate when they can see themselves in the stories that you tell.  That is how you can build strong emotional connections to your brand, and ultimately move your audience to action.

Ah, I can always count on Seth Godin for a few good ideas!  Thanks for making me stop and think.

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The 4P’s of Marketing in 2014

New P's of Marketing

When I was still in university, I remember learning about the Marketing Mix and the 4 P’s of marketing.  We learned that taking into account Product, Place, Promotion and Price is the way to go to creating marketing strategies that worked.

Fast forward a years and with a few more years of experience under my belt, I still find myself referring to the 4 P’s when I am working on marketing strategies for my clients.  Especially with integrated marketing campaigns, the 4 P’s were a great reminder for covering all your bases.  Except now, I use these 4 P’s as a starting point – because I no longer find they create the comprehensive and cohesive approach that is required in today’s business landscape.

Granted, the landscapes today are much more complicated than they were 50 years ago, when McCarthy first came up with this idea.  And like all things in marketing, trends come and go and even the best concepts must evolve to keep up with consumer needs.

So, in addition to the original 4 P’s, here are a few more P’s I think are relevant in today’s world:

Presence – traditional or digital, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest; today’s marketing must span across mediums and go where the consumers are.  Where do your consumers hang out and what is your strategy for each medium?

Parley – marketing today is about conversation.  There is push and their is pull.  Succeeding in today’s markets mean an ongoing exchange of ideas between the consumer and the brand.

Personality – whether it is B2B or B2C, marketing is about human connection and relationships.  Giving your brand personality will make it more likable and relatable – and people buy from brands that they like and can connect to.

Personalization – with the marketing channels that are available to us today, marketing messages can quickly and quite easily become “one to many”.  We talked about making brands more relatable, so speak to your consumers in terms that they can relate to.  Create “one to one” messaging… that be be dispersed to many.

Progression – doing everything, being everywhere and taking part in everything is not always beneficial.  Pick and choose your battles.  Know your brand, know your destination – and make sure you progress and evolve with your consumers.

What other P’s would you add to the list?

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It’s a Bloody Big Deal

I usually don’t watch any TV.  Or more accurately, I rarely watch live programming.   But when I do, I am not one to fast forward past the commercials which was how I got to discover this gem:

Title: It’s a Bloody Big Deal
Agency: Sid Lee
Client: Toronto FC

I think it’s bloody genius – the anticipation of the news, the music, the typical and expected British characters… all put together to create this witty little commercial spot.  Seeing as soccer (or football, rather) does not generate the same level of hype as hockey or basketball in this country, this spot was able to drum up a bit of excitement for this bit of soccer news.

Not sure how well it fared across the pond though. ;)

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