Give your audience a story instead of USPs

Don’t you love a good story? I bet you have consumed several stories this week already. Maybe you’ve binged your way through a series or saw the latest Marvel movie at the cinema. If you have young kids, you’ve probably read them a bedtime story. Even with friends you share stories all the time. So why do you leave that love for stories at home once you set foot in the office?

It seems like we step into this rational world only by going through that office door. But, if we want to become better professionals, we shouldn’t. The human mind doesn’t work rationally, according to Daniel Kahneman, author of ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ and ‘Noise’. Although we tend to believe that people make decisions rationally, research states that 95% of all decisions people make during the day are not rational, but that they’re made by our lazy system 1, as Kahneman calls it. In his book he explains that there are two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional. And system 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Even though these systems always collaborate on every decision, fact is that system 1 comes in first and is dominant.

So, what does that mean for your communication? Do you still think you can motivate your customers with only rational information? Spreading USPs around your channels? I don’t think so. We need to focus on making an emotional connection first. That’s where stories come in. If you want to get access to you audience’s minds, you must start telling stories. Engaging, powerful stories that connect with your audiences. Stories that really resonate with them. It’s simply the way the mind works. USPs only function as a Devil’s Advocate to your customer’s decision making.

I know, we’ve all learned that our audiences have an attention span of 3 to 5 seconds and you think you need to come to the point asap. But I dare to argue. Reflect on your own story consumption. If you’re touched by a story, or the story is relevant and resonates with you, you can lose yourself in it completely. And if you think brands can’t pull that off, I’d like to show you the opposite.  

First of all have a look at this documentary series from Red Bull: ‘The Way To The Wildcard’. This episode is about Mia. She is the first female trail runner from Nepal. I know Red Bull is like the God of content marketing, but we all need great examples to get inspired and to start believing in the impossible. Which is also, coincidentally or not, the message of this great film.

Another example of great serial storytelling is from a less expected source, the DFDS, the ferry from Denmark to Norway. The series is called: ‘The Journey Towards The Star’. A series of six episodes about the restaurant on board of the ferry that wants to get a Michelin star. Really engaging. Also, pay attention to the introduction of every episode, a short ‘what’s to know about this before you start watching’ and the flash forward to the next episode at the end it. You should start doing that with your content too.

And another one of my favourite brand films is from Rental Cars. This is just brilliant: The Gran Tour which is a parody on The Grand Tour. Three English grandmas going on a road trip through the northern part of Spain. Great English humour.

You see, all examples of brand storytelling. You wouldn’t even be surprised if you came across these films on Netflix or Amazon. So what’s keeping you from this? You can start with binging series and paying attention to the techniques they’re using. Then go have look at and see what brands are doing in that regard already. And don’t think your brand is not up to it. These are just great examples in film, but stories come in all sorts of formats. You can also create stories in text or audio. Just look for the techniques they’re using.

Last but not least: go to WeContent Festival 2022 the end of May and consume, live and share stories you and I can learn from. Of course I can share a lot of USPs about the festival, like the fact that the speaker line up from all over Europe is great, and the ticket price is really affordable and that the Masterclasses can be of great value for your career. But we have to conquer System 1 first. So:

Wouldn’t you just love to travel to the outdoors of Bucharest after 2 years of Covid-restrictions? And enjoy this great, entertaining and educational Content Marketing Festival? With lots of peers, music, food and drinks. Make it a trip with colleagues or friends and add a weekend Bucharest to it. Wouldn’t you love to say yes?

In case your system 2 is asking difficult questions, please let me know and I will make sure that you will get a personal answer from me or one of the other speakers. Let’s connect and start sharing and creating more and better stories throughout Europe.

Join us in May!


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