In today’s market, it’s no longer enough to be the loudest voice in the room. Nor is it enough to monopolize a medium, a channel, or even the planet. People simply won’t absorb your message if they don’t give a damn. And honestly—should they?
Companies of all stripes are vying for the attention of your audience. They’re pouring billions of dollars every year into efforts to woo them, if only for a moment. And they’re mostly failing.
The world is your oyster—or maybe your hamburger.
Either way, it’s à la carte.
Advertising sure ain’t what it used to be. The modern consumer already has myriad entertainment options—no longer constrained by the will of the almighty network executives. And it would seem their content universe grows exponentially by the day.
Netflix, Amazon, and even YouTube compete (and increasingly win) against the legacy network and cable standbys of yesterday—to say nothing of those who have cut the cord altogether.
Consumers also have more direct control than ever in determining how, when and where they consume—thanks to their phones, tablets and other smart technology. The audience is no longer our prisoner. And that’s bad news for the would-be spammers among us.
“Block.” “Close.” “Unsubscribe.” “No, I don’t want to save tons of money on scouring pads.” We hit these buttons so often, it’s practically a reflex. I can personally recall situations where I really did want to learn more—only to find myself robotically X-ing out of a window, despite my genuine interest.
It’s clear that the golden age of interruptive advertising has long since passed. So if screaming and sensory bombardment are no longer effective methods of persuasion—what’s a brand to do? A big part of the answer can be found right under our noses—within a fundamental, immutable human truth:
Decisions are made emotionally.
We pretend to be logical, benefits-oriented decisionmakers—but we’re not. We’re lying about that. Sure, we consider the facts, and often depend on them to justify our decisions. But the truth is, we’re big, sloppy, sentimental teddy bears—ready to melt into a puddle at the next Windex commercial.
That one had over 7.5 million views at the time this was posted. Does anyone in the audience care how effective Windex is at cutting through fingerprints and grime? That it leaves a lasting shine? Maybe—but that’s beside the point, isn’t it?
The next time you’re in the cleaning aisle, and you see Windex and Brand X side-by-side—I wonder if you’ll recall how you felt watching the little girl with the telescope grow up. And—more importantly to Windex—whether that’s enough to affect your choice.
Windex knows something many brands discover about themselves over time—that, when faced with competition, they have difficulty differentiating themselves on merit alone. They need to connect on a deeper level in order to break through the noise. And they have every reason to believe it’ll work.
Business people are people too.
And this applies to more than just consumer brands. Conventional wisdom would have you believe that B2B decision-makers somehow shed their hearts when they step through the threshold of their office complex. But anecdotally, we know this isn’t true.
Be honest—how many vendors have you continued to work with simply because you like the rep? Could you have shopped around and saved money? Gotten a little more value? Maybe. Will you? Doubtful. Because you’re soft. You’re a human being.
Brand over product. Story over benefit.
Since human decisions are made emotionally, it makes sense that an emotional appeal would more effectively persuade than a logical one. To do this, successful brands move beyond features and benefits, and strike at the heart of the buying decision.
They ask: What does the audience want? More importantly, what do they value? What gives them a sense of “right-ness”? This is what leads us to create stories.
Stories stick. Maybe not every detail, but if it’s done well—the feeling of it remains. A list of specs or features—no matter how impressive—could never achieve the same. Stories engage your audience’s imagination. They ask the mind to create—not just accept.
Instead of weighed down by details, your audience is freely transported to a world where your brand is helping them unlock their dreams—and truly become the best version of themselves.
Think I’m exaggerating?
Did you notice what kind of shoes Lebron was wearing? Neither did I. I wasn’t looking at his shoes. I was watching a story unfold. A story about a boy becoming a man, and following his dreams. Nike spent a lot of money on that ad. It didn’t feature any particular product, and didn’t have any specific call to action. And yet…
Nike is associated with the best athletes in the world. Nike is for people who are serious about their dreams—people who are willing to work hard, to become their best. It’s inspiring stuff. It tells us a story, engages our emotions, and makes us positively disposed to them the next time we are in the market for athletic wear.
Here’s another example of emotional storytelling—this time with a humorous tone. It’s been hard to ignore.
Bud Light is a terrible beer. But they’re an excellent brand, with solid storytelling chops. And in the beverage industry especially, their formula is sound: be cheeky and memorable. Never discuss what’s in the bottle.
There are as many directions to take a story as there are human emotions, and ways to express them. The point is—find what works best for your brand. What emotionally-resonant story connects your brand to your target audience? Discern that, and you’re well on your way.
At Tamooz, we work hard to tell your ideal brand story—with strategic communications that move hearts and change minds. From brand development and digital marketing, to interactive design, events, and experiences—we deliver a portfolio of tailored solutions and services that work together to create powerful results for your business. Let’s talk about growing your brand. Visit us on Twitter or LinkedIn. Or—to get even better acquainted—give us a call at +1 612 234 1153 (US), +44 7 835 160 205 (UK), +972 3 681 8885 (IL), or firstname.lastname@example.org.