For a week now, many of us have been keeping up on what we now know will be the closing chapter of the Michael Jackson saga. Like millions, I’ve kept up on the news. One might argue that this really isn’t “news” (battles in Afghanistan, anyone?), but no one can argue about whether this is a “story.”
As humans, we’re programmed to listen to and tell stories. Books, movies, and television (especially soap operas) all tell stories in one way or another. Facebook and Twitter might very well be tied to the desire to tell our own stories. The more easily we can relate to a story, the more likely we are to follow it or to become involved with it.
In marketing, we know that a sale can’t take place unless there is some connection between a consumer and the brand. Consumers are connected to “Brand Michael” and so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his record sales are way up. Brands typically don’t have a story they tell to consumers, but they can (e.g., the launch of Saturn). Companies do have stories to tell (their history) and those stories often are the foundation for corporate culture – the way employees know how to act within the story.
In marketing research and account planning, storytelling is a critical skill. It’s the stories we tell (aka research analysis and consumer insights) about target audiences which inform new product development, operations, and advertising, to name just a few. Our job as consumer advocates requires we tell their story, objectively and with passion, so they have a voice when decisions are being made.
More in a future post on what makes for great marketing research/account planning storytelling.