Marketing Beyond Words

There is an idea in marketing that is easy to get lost and often can fall through the cracks whenever we start to work on a new campaign and when we focus too much on the message and not enough on the story. It is the idea of reaching your target audience in a way that connects emotionally, authentically, and in a lasting way. Too often we are worried about getting the words just right, but is that perfectly crafted phrase hitting the mark and truly telling the story?


They may forget what you said- but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. ~ Carl W. Buehner


So much of the story is under the surface, if you share just the features and benefits, will your market remember?  You told them the what and the how, but did you tell them the why?


Every storyteller knows the importance of showing, conveying by experience and not telling. It is not the words that are important but the story and the emotions they invoke in your audience.


This same concept goes hand-in-hand with the way you market your brand. It is less important for your audience to remember what you are saying to them through your message than it is to make them remember how they felt experiencing your story.


Your story is told through the ups and downs of an experience – told often in view of your end customer.  It conveys the brand values in a way that the audience can feel.


Recently, Dove has been perfecting its Dove Beautiful campaign. The idea is not to just tell their consumers that they are beautiful, but to make them really feel that they are. “You don’t need all that makeup. You’re beautiful naturally.” It’s more than just words because in each of their commercials, we see women who are smiling and enjoying the simple feeling of just being themselves, without all of the makeup. Dove is a simple cleanser that is taking on the Herculean task of making women feel that they are perfect just as they are.


Dove took this a step further with their Dove sketches campaign in the UK where they asked women what they looked like, and the results were raw and revealing about self-perception versus how others saw them.  The realization by these women of how they viewed themselves versus how others saw them was a beautifully metamorphic experience for them and for the viewer.  Dove brought that experience to us, and thus benefited from that emotional connection.  Dove will now be a remembered brand.  Emotionally charged moments are remembered.


Take a look for yourself:


The key to telling your story in such a way that your audience walks away carrying the message with them is in capturing moments and conveying the ups and downs in the life of your customer.  It’s not the words or the message. You are trying to get them to feel something, whether it’s excitement, happiness, sadness, love, romance, anger, kindness, sympathy, or connection. Is the story that you are telling evoking any emotion from your audience?  Is it connecting with the values of your brand?


What is your mission for you company?  How can you convey that through your marketing your brand?  Consider this as a potential element in your story.


Now is a good time to take an inventory of your marketing.  Are you “bragging and promising” as asked by “Storynomics” instructor Robert McKee? He is known as someone who combines the concept of brand with the concept of story.  Prior students, who have attended his well-known classes, have either won or been nominated for 100s of Emmys and Academy awards, which speaks to his expertise in this area. Are you telling a meaningful story?


If you think that your messages are falling a little flat, that you’re being more of a nuisance to your audience than an inspiration, then it is time to start learning the art of storytelling and what it can do for your marketing strategy.

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