I recently attended Social Media Marketing World in San Diego and one of my favorite, totally BOMBDIGGITY, sessions was Park Howell. The man just spoke to my heart. Not only did he have an authentic and unassuming style, every single thing he said resonated with my own philosophy of brand-building with good storytelling. I have always known that the lure of a good story is irresistible, but Park’s session took what I already knew and preached regularly, even further.
He had us watch this video of research conducted in 1944 by Heider & Simmel. Check it out. Just clear your head and watch it…
Those little shapes moved all around on the screen and what did we sit there and do in our minds? We made up scenarios, STORIES about what was happening. A power struggle? Siblings at play? Even an abusive relationship with a hero? Even at the most basic and instinctual level, we think in STORIES! So, doesn’t it make sense to market to people the way that they think? (Hint: the answer is YES!)
I worked at the dominant station in Knoxville, Tennessee, WBIR-TV – NBC, for years as their director of Marketing and Community Relations. One of my primary responsibilities was to care for the “Straight from the Heart” brand and keep it relevant. The magic formula to this brand is, wait for it…STORIES. Sure WBIR is a news station and by default story-tellers of the happenings in the community on a day-to-day basis. But as marketers, my awesome team told the STORIES of our brand, the real people in our community, and personal insight into our employees–we shared how we lived “Straight from the Heart.” The couple that grows grapes and just gives them away to their neighbors; the immigrant from Africa that shares her culture by bringing people together with her cooking; the new mom that found a way to exercise by creating a program that included baby strollers; the father and son who do Civil War reenacting as Union soldiers as a nod to their history; the two precious sisters who saw a need and opened the Love Kitchen to feed those in need around them — all of these represent the Knoxville community and what it means to live “Straight from the Heart.” Not once did we need to say “we are the number one station,” we just told STORIES.
So, back to Park Howell–I have a new podcast that I listen to regularly– The Business of Story Podcast. Each episode highlights some of the best and brightest advertising creatives, content creators, marketers, authors, etc. It’s pure inspiration.
This is also a great short read from Park Howell about 7 Habits of Highly Effective Story Tellers.
Enjoy the read this week and as Park would say, “Story On” my friends and BE BOMBDIGGITY!