While the Times May Be Uncertain, the Need to Drive Business is Anything But

May 25, 2020 by 

Watching TVThis piece was originally published at Eicoff.com

The opportunity to generate some positive mojo for your brand by thanking people for staying home and/or front-line responders for their bravery is tempting, and may be a perfectly good idea. But there’s another way to be meaningful to the burgeoning TV audience: providing something they can actually use. This is the whole point behind Storyselling.

Storyselling isn’t an alternative to brand-building, it’s a complement. At its core it operates in service to the brand. It’s the direct, no-nonsense, business-building part of your brand’s character. The yin to your brand’s emotional yang. But I digress.

Storyselling always comes down to a few basic principles, which are as relevant as ever.

Make it meaningful for the audience. Engage consumers by identifying an issue, problem or vacancy that can be addressed, solved or filled by your brand. This can be done, and should be done, tactfully. The problem may have been created or exacerbated by the current situation. But the solution is the same as ever.

Let the audience know what your brand stands for, in tangible terms. Feel good “we’re here” and “getting through this together” may carry a nice sentiment, but aren’t all that meaningful for consumers. Especially when everyone and their brother/sister is out there saying the same thing. Find a way to clearly deliver the brand’s proposition, its reason for being, in terms of the initial issue/problem/vacancy that is offered at the outset.

Create exclusivity. Marketing 101. And there’s no reason why this can’t be done even in these uncertain times. As long as it’s legit, of course.

Act. Now. The question we sometimes get from traditional brand-focused advertisers is why is it necessary to be so obvious about what we want the viewer/listener to do. “The audience isn’t stupid,” they opine. We know the audience isn’t stupid. But we also know that they aren’t inherently interested in what your brand has to say. So it makes sense to make it easy. Be clear about what the audience can do, and how to do it. It’s not offensive. It’s helpful.

It’s all in the balance. The key to a successful response-driving message is in the balance between brand-based storytelling and business-driving Storyselling. Too much story, and you miss the opportunity to make a sale. Too much sell, and you risk losing your audience. A brand-only message can create a powerful long-term connection. A response-motivating message creates immediate value to the audience, which increases the likelihood that they take advantage of what the brand has to offer.

In short: Storyselling builds business. And, in these uncertain times, that’s good for everyone.

Be careful out there.

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Mike Powell is Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director at Eicoff. 

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