We wish we could work with every company that needed help with telling a more powerful story, but we realize it’s not feasible. Timing, budget, and fit (among other things) aren’t always right. But we’ve seen our message and story development work well for so many different types of businesses, that we wanted to help as many of them as possible to leverage it for themselves. So we’ve developed a sDIY version of our process that we’ve pulled together into an eBook. It documents and details just how we (and you) go about developing your story.
The eBook goes into detail about each step of the process, and also includes anecdotes and insights from working with our clients over the years. It’s a great resource to kick off your own story development project, or give you reference on what you, your team and even your agency, should be taking into account when creating a new message and story.
We’ll be excerpting each section weekly over the next 2 months, when the eBook becomes available. We hope you enjoy the eBook, and that it inspires you to tell better stories!
We kick things off with a little background piece about what makes a powerful brand message.
WHAT MAKES US TICK?
Emotions drive our every decision. If you don’t believe this, save your time and go no further. If you believe people make decisions only using cold, hard logic, it’s likely your marketing and sales efforts will be more difficult and expensive, if they can be launched at all.
We have collectively spent over 25 years helping companies get their brands right, or turn the rational brand efforts of expensive branding companies into something less intellectual and more emotional. This is usually because the Head of Sales looks at these binder-thick charts and pronouncements known as brand strategies, these eighty slide Power Points, and asks the CMO, “OK. Now what do I do?”
Abandoning the rational is the biggest obstacle companies have in creating compelling and memorable brands. The one the sales department can use to close deals.
Memories are housed in the brain. But they start in the heart.
This is the fundamental hurdle for most marketers to overcome in developing their message, particularly in B2B. They – and the rest of the organization – don’t accept the importance of emotion. Instead, their colleagues want a rational, facts-driven approach to convince everyone to purchase their product or service. Or to remember the business for the future.
The History of Human
Behavior shows us that the rational doesn’t win. Just a quick google of
the term “Groupthink” will remind you of the many examples of decisions that
were agreed upon as being the smart, or even the ONLY choice, but were
completely irrational. Decisions on how we vote, what we eat, drive,
wear, and love goes through filters of rational, but is born and boomerangs
back through the emotional filter on a thrice daily basis.
The Rules may be rational. The Game is not.
When you can harness the emotions that drive decisions, you can increase engagement, leads and close rates, while motivating your employees every day they go to work, which increases productivity and quality and that is as good as gold. Modern adventures in neuroscience confirms this. New imaging techniques reveal that the emotion-processing centers of the brain are deeply involved in decision-making. Studies have shown that people who suffer injuries to the emotion-processing centers of the brain have greatly impaired ability to make decisions. They can identify and evaluate available options, but when it comes time to pull the trigger, they can’t choose one over another, even for simple things like where to have lunch.
That’s not to say that rational thinking has no role in decision-making. But it is to say that emotion and logic work hand-in-hand when customers make decisions, with the emotional hand a bit stronger and in the dominant position. The rational will not be allowed into the brain unless the emotional opens the door. This makes evolutionary sense. If a lion or tiger is charging at you, are you better served by rationally assessing the situation: “The animal is over 800 pounds, its teeth are extremely sharp, and its claws can rip me apart.” By the time you do that rational analysis, you are lion food. Instead, our emotional brain screams with fear, “RUN!” And so we do. The same happens for nearly all decisions. We make an emotional decision, then find facts to support it.
“But businesses aren’t like people,” you say, “Business decisions involve lots of different people, departments, even multiple entities, having input into a decision, that gets reviewed at many levels to insure it’s rational.” Right. So you’re telling me that every person who gets promoted at a company is the most deserving for that job? That every time there’s a disagreement between two Vice Presidents, that the smarter position wins the day? That no one ever got his/her way by arm-twisting, making a back-room deal or currying favor with a boss? That the parking spaces in the office parking lot are always allocated rationally? That the travel policy never has exceptions for certain people? That no one ever got a contract because they had a great personal relationship with the big boss? Please. Businesses don’t make decisions. Their people do. And they are subject to the same whims of emotion as everyone else.
We’re going to lay out the process of developing an emotional message, then applying the power of storytelling to the message to achieve your marketing objectives. And though this process is appropriate for both B2C and B2B, we will focus more on the B2B side of things, as that’s where we believe the need is. After all, no marketer is going to rely on the rational when selling caramel colored effervescent sugar water. At the same time, no ERP or Ecommerce software company should rely solely on a jingle or a sexy celebrity. However, this is certain: The more a company is about technology, the more it needs to go back to the fundamentals of human emotions and communication in order to successfully make its case to prospects. We must make an engaging emotional appeal to prospects, and then give them the rational support to make the decision we want.