There is something magical that happens when we are reading a great story or watching a movie:
We do not daydream.
This is because of the way our brains work.
Every day our brains are receiving stimulus from all around us. We can hear noises in the street. We smell different aromas, some pleasant. Some not.
We can feel the pressure of our chair pressing against the back of our thighs.
And our brain ignores them all. (Except maybe the delicious smell of freshly ground coffee... Not sure anyone's brain can ignore that!)
Every moment of every day our brains are using energy to filter out superfluous, unnecessary inputs, so we can focus on what really matters.
And when we get tired of doing that, we daydream.
These extra inputs trigger thoughts and emotions that lead to us entering a world of imagination... And distraction.
However, when we are reading a good story, or watching a great movie, all superfluous information has been removed for us.
Our brains are able to relax and something magical happens:
Our brains cannot distinguish between what is real and what is story.
As there is no longer a need to spend lots of energy filtering out what we don't need to know, our brains can relax and enjoy the story, seeing it unfold in our mind's eye.
And consequently we do not get distracted by daydreams...
But what does story have to do with business?
Everyday we are bombarded by more advertising than you could possibly imagine. On Facebook, Google, in our email inbox, even hidden in our favourite TV shows.
Advertising is everywhere.
We are constantly filtering, subconsciously trying to identify what businesses might help us and what might not.
And this is where story comes in.
When a business has a clear Brand Narrative, a story that underpins everything they do, it is easy to identify whether or not it offers something you need.
Most businesses, however, confuse people.
Have you ever landed on a website and found yourself wondering:
"What exactly does this company do?"
I bet you quickly returned to Google to search for whatever you were looking for again...
I guarantee you that many of those companies provide a valuable service, and maybe even one that would benefit you, but you left that website without waiting to find out.
Here's an example of what I mean:
The BP website appears to have no clear narrative.
It does not say what BP does, or who it does it for. Whether I were to land on that page looking to find my nearest BP filling station, or to buy diesel in bulk for my fleet of transporters, I would bounce before I even started looking.
It just takes too much brain power.
Many other websites do the same thing.
If it takes more than 5 seconds to identify exactly what you do and who you do it for, then you need to clarify your messaging...
Having a clear Brand Narrative, a story to invite people into, is the easiest way of making sure you do this.
As Seth Godin says:
People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic. - Seth Godin
Having a Brand Narrative will allow you to invite people into a story... and this is where the magic happens.
But How do I create a Brand Narrative?
There is a well known formula that the most successful stories follow.
In fact, the only things that really change are the locations, situations, and characters.
The plot itself is often very simple, and follows a very simple timeline.
It goes like this:
- The protagonist/hero has a desire, or a problem.
- He or she meets a mentor (also known as a guide).
- The mentor provides a plan and calls him or her to action.
- The plan either fails or succeeds.
Take a look at most of the most popular books and movies of all time and you will find that many of them follow this plot sequence.
Let's take "Happy Gilmore" as an example:
Happy Gilmore needs money to buy his grandmother's house but can't make any money playing ice hockey.
He meets a former Pro Golf coach, Chubbs Peterson, who gives him a plan: switch from hockey to golf instead.
He then calls Happy to action by getting him to enter a local golf competition.
The story then unfolds and, if the plan succeeds, he will save his grandmother's house. If it doesn't, he will lose his grandmother's house and she will end up in a nursing home.
The same story works for Star Wars (Luke Skywalker meets Obi Wan, the Death Star, etc...), Hunger Games (Katniss, Haymitch, The Hunger Games, President Snow...), the list goes on.
And this is how you can use this in your business:
Create a Brand Narrative that follows that process with these two caveats:
- You are NOT the hero. Your customer is the hero.
- You are the Mentor. The plan is the product/service you provide.
The formula would be this:
Your customer needs to solve a problem - they discover you and you offer them a product or service.
If they buy your product or service then they will have solved their problem and their world is transformed.
If they don't then they end up staying where they are now, or worse.
A full brand narrative would go into a lot more depth, but this is a great place to start.
Once your brand narrative is in place, everything you do should be built on the foundation of that narrative.
The Brand Narrative informs everything:
- Your Social Media Strategy
- Your Content Strategy
- Your Marketing
- Your Website
What you will find is that once you have a great Brand Narrative in place, everything becomes clearer.
Your ideal customers will know what your offer is and how to access your offer.
Your website will be clear.
Your sales copy will be clear.
Your profits will increase.
And your company will grow.
Don't try to sell a product, invite people into a story.
If you would like help creating your own Brand Narrative, this is one of the services Alex Boxall provides.
Click on the button below to book a free appointment to start working on your Brand Narrative.