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A++marketing storytelling whitepaper

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  • 1. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS: Brian Schrack, Product Manager NCM Fathom Greg Flessing, President Fresh Air Media
  • 2. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING INTRODUCTION Business-to-business marketers are redefining the idea that “content is king.” Yes, content is still critical. But today, successful brands are finding that the most powerful content tells a story. All our lives we have learned from stories. As children, stories were read to us. As adolescents, we read stories to learn and imagine. As adults, we experience stories in a variety of media to escape and relax, be entertained, enhance our knowledge and better ourselves. Marketers know that good stories can help build loyalty, solidify culture and solve problems, but the degree of success comes down to execution: telling the right stories, in the right way, in the right context. “Brands are built around stories. And stories of identity – who we are, where we’ve come from – are the most effective stories of all. This [storytelling] is a powerful way to bring [brands] to life.” – Bill Dauphinais, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Source: Fast Company Magazine 2
  • 3. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING TELLING A GOOD STORY The same elements that go into that novel you can’t put down or the favorite movies you want to watch over and over again are also what make up an effective business or brand story. A good story is authentic and creative. It makes an emotional and personal connection with its audience. It inspires interaction. Consequently, good storytelling in business communications takes a different tone than the traditional “sell.” It takes the audience on a journey with the brand. STORYTELLING, REVENUE & DRAMA: WHY IT WORKS Good stories compel people to change Most companies are already using storytelling in the form of testimonials and • The way we feel. public relations outreach. Refocusing those stories to generate revenue is often Stories demand an emotional investment. simply a matter of repurposing and crafting existing content. • The way we think. Stories pique and Storytelling works because it allows companies to dramatize their message, hold interest. creating an experience that resonates with target audiences, much like in a play • The way we act. or a movie. It puts audiences at ease and engages them with the human side of Stories bring energy a brand, creating an emotional connection. It leads the audience to a desired to the message. action, whether that’s altering behavior, changing lives, or spending money. • The way we behave. Stories cause us to take action. In short, good storytelling is effective because of what it is not – a dry data dump or intrusive “sell.” Rather, it allows audiences to become immersed in the story and, ultimately, the brand. 3
  • 4. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING DRIVE THE AUDIENCE TO ACTION The objective of any marketing communications message is to drive the audience to some sort of behavior change or action. The key to changing behavior is fourfold: • Clarify your message. What do you want the consumer or audience to do? Are the message and the resulting targeted action crystal clear? • Confirm why action is important. Why does your audience need to act? What benefit does it provide? • Explain how you want the consumer to take this action. What steps does your audience need to take to complete this action? • Confirm how the audience will know when they are acting out the changed behavior correctly and what is in it for them. What will be the audience’s reward? Crafting a message to include these fundamental elements, both creatively and subtly, is the key to ensuring that the audience does not feel sold, but instead is lead down a storyline path that arrives at the destination, or desired action. Using a dramatic curve will help translate an effective marketing message into a business story that resonates with its audience. Source: Adapted from The International Society for Performance Improvement HPT model, Fundamentals of Performance Technology, Second Edition 4
  • 5. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING START CRAFTING YOUR STORY AT THE END Traditional stories include a beginning, middle and end. Compelling business stories are also constructed linearly. But, unlike purely entertaining or informative stories, these stories add one more element to the structure – a call to action. This is what is unique to storytelling in business. Business communications also follow what is called a “dramatic curve,” a four-act structure which leads to resolution and ultimately to a call to action. Crafting your brand story begins by considering how you want it to end. What is the desired outcome? How do you want your audience to feel about you? What do you want them to do? What are the specific next steps that you want them to take (act, interact or change)? And how are you going to measure the results? Successful business-to-business stories develop a path that will get your audience to take action. To create an effective story, marketers offer this advice: • LISTEN To be a good storyteller, you need to be a good listener. Know your audience, their attitudes, beliefs and concerns. • BE PERSONAL Create messages and build stories that respond to the specific needs of your target audience. • INSPIRE INTERACTION Encourage your audience to engage with your brand. • CONTINUE TO LISTEN While your story is being told, watch for reactions and encourage audience feedback. • THINK AHEAD Set the stage for future “chapters” of your story. 5
  • 6. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING CASE STUDY | THE NATIONAL GUARD Any medium, from print and multimedia to film and blogs, can be used to tell a story, as long as it is a carefully crafted. And, every organization or corporation has a story to tell that is powerful and compelling. Finding the right story and telling it in the right medium is key. Seeking an impactful and engaging medium to tell its powerful story, the National Guard turned to cinema marketing pioneer NCM Fathom. Using visual assets repurposed from its advertising campaign and a combination of film and testimonials, the National Guard developed a moving two-minute film that gave cinema audiences the experience of what it’s like to be Tips for incorporating in the National Guard. storytelling into marketing communications The National Guard repurposed existing advertising assets and crafted their message into an affordable two-minute cinema spot that captured cinema • Determine your story audiences in a powerful way right from the start. They humanized the spot topics. How was your by introducing characters and telling personal stories that made emotional brand born? What is the connections with the audience. Introducing dramatic visuals and story sequences personal nature of created attachment with the characters and ultimately the relationship with the your brand? brand. This immediately entrenched the audience in the story and deepened the anticipation for what was going to happen next. • Connect your story topic to your bottom line. How Taking your audience on a cinematic adventure is a strategy that leads to brand will you drive the audience to action? What story preference and influences behavioral change. allows you to accomplish these goals effectively? Learn more about the National Guard and how they used storytelling to engage their target audience 6
  • 7. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING CASE STUDY | KLEENEX SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD TO MAKE YOUR CUSTOMERS CRY. Kleenex produced a documentary, Let it Out: The Movie, based on the notion that there’s an Olympic moment in each of us. The question was where and how to premiere the film. To ensure a high level of brand exposure and message consistency, Kleenex and its marketing agency chose to debut the film across the United States to privately invited audiences in 25 community cinemas using Fathom’s national cinema network. As people left the cinemas, many reached for the free Kleenex packets available outside the auditorium doors. Not only did the film make a big impact on attendees, but event organizers also met pre-event marketing and public relations impression goals. Word on the street was positive, resulting in tremendous buzz for the Kleenex brand. Read the full case study online “It’s what’s heard, not what’s said that’s remembered. Great communication is what’s felt... it’s emotional and personal.” – Greg Flessing, President, Fresh Air Media 7
  • 8. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING FINDING THE RIGHT MEDIUM Stories are more than just words. Audiences want to see, feel and touch the brand. But what’s the best vehicle to achieve this for your brand? CINEMA EVENTS Advantages: Audiences are already conditioned to pay attention, unmatched sight and sound experience, scalability and reach across the nation Challenges: Lack of traditional conference amenities, no breakout session facilities TELEVISION Advantages: Audiences are already conditioned to pay attention, proven impact on decisions Challenges: Crowded space, high expectations for quality and speed, expensive, DVR gives audiences more selection on what to watch and what to tune out WEBINARS Advantages: Easy access to information, encourages interaction Challenges: Multiple distractions, lack of personal engagement IN-PERSON CONFERENCES Advantages: Encourages interaction Challenges: Time-consuming, expensive, doesn’t scale ONLINE CONVERSATIONS Advantages: Content/messages can be tailored to the user’s needs, creating a more relevant conversation Challenges: “Everyone” is there and it is crowded, easy to lose someone in just one click, low commitment 8
  • 9. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING THE RIGHT MOMENT. THE RIGHT PLACE. THE RIGHT STRATEGIC VISION. Corporate communications are not isolated from the rest of one’s personal experience, and neither are business stories. When considering the right vehicle to tell your story, these factors should be evaluated: • How your audience will view the story – alone or in a group setting • Time of day – morning, afternoon or evening • Environmental factors – location and distractions • Social factors – economical and political conditions, holidays • Food and drink – meal or snack • Broader societal setting – elections, economy, etc. THE CINEMA: A NEW MEDIUM FOR COMMUNICATING THE BRAND STORY One of the latest trends in business-to-business storytelling is private events in movie theatres. The cinema is proven to encourage higher attendance, command better audience attention, and in turn, increase message retention over traditional marketing alone. Companies like Microsoft, Bayer HealthCare, Aston Martin and Papa John’s use cinemas to show live or pre-recorded stories – mini-documentaries, dramatizations or variety shows – to privately invited audiences, to achieve their business objectives. Bayer HealthCare’s Animal Health Division, for example, created a cinema presentation designed to expand its market, engaging veterinarians in 53 markets in just 10 days. The company hoped that 75 percent of invitees would attend; instead, there was 90 percent attendance at every market location. In the cinema, audiences are conditioned to pay attention, focus on the screen and immerse themselves in the subject. The theatre is a quiet environment free of unwanted distractions, with comfortable seating, high-impact visuals and cinema surround sound. Stories delivered on the big screen have proven emotional impact that goes with the audience even after they leave. Business-to-business marketers using cinemas also like the operational and budget benefits. Travel costs are typically lower than attending destination sales meetings or events. Marketers can communicate with people in more locations more cost effectively since one event can be broadcast simultaneously to hundreds of theatres over Fathom’s national cinema network. 9
  • 10. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING CASE STUDY | SIEMENS AUTOMATION CONDITIONED BEHAVIOR DRIVEN BY STORYTELLING Siemens, known worldwide for assembly line automation, wanted to acquire new customers in the North American industrial automation market. They wanted to use storytelling to show customers that robotic automation can improve organizational safety, efficiencies and profit. Siemens opted to tell its safety story in the form of a 45-minute movie, shot on location around the world. The movie featured actual customers telling their stories, linked by conversations with industry experts. When word got out that the movie was not a hard sell, but rather an informative and helpful story about how safety has evolved into a better, more efficient process that saves money and delivers product to market more easily, attendance grew. By the end of the film’s run, it was attracting capacity crowds. Telling the story on the big screen, Siemens doubled the U.S. customer base in 12 months. Read the full case study online 10
  • 11. BOLD BRANDS DRIVE REVENUE WITH STORYTELLING YOUR BRAND IS YOUR BEST STORY No matter what the industry, product or service, there are stories in every company or organization that can be told to help get the message out and acted upon within your budget. Like the National Guard and Kleenex, there are stories that can be told according to your vision – simple and cost effective, or extraordinary and elaborate. Storytelling can help generate revenue. FUTURE CHAPTERS As your brand evolves, business objectives shift, and new initiatives are planned, you have new opportunities to engage audiences with future chapters of your brand’s story – a time to present new stories with new calls to action. Increasingly, people are accustomed to receiving information in short bursts. They demand more value with less time invested, and storytelling is no exception. Stories need to be efficient and get to the point in today’s information-overloaded world. Some trends to watch include: • More short story options versus sharing the whole message all with one story • More user-generated stories and resulting management challenges • New ways to engage audiences used to multitasking 11
  • 12. 877-60 FATHOM fathombusinessevents.com Laura Lear, Director of Marketing NCM Fathom 9110 East Nichols Avenue, Suite 200 Centennial, CO 80112 National CineMedia (NCM) offers innovative ways to reach and engage audiences across the nation via the largest digital cinema network in North America. NCM Fathom, a division of NCM, offers consumers and businesses unique and engaging cinematic experiences. Fathom business events enable companies like Microsoft, Bayer HealthCare and Mary Kay to showcase their content and message on the big screen, engaging privately invited corporate audiences. Additionally, Fathom engages consumer audiences with exclusive, limited-engagement events featuring content from world class brands including The Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Public Radio, Glenn Beck, Turner Classic Movies, Golden Boy Productions, and AEG.