Since the dawn of time, people have loved stories. Myths, fables, tall tales and biblical stories show us who we are and examine the human condition. In the fast-paced world of digital technology, good storytelling remains paramount. Good marketers naturally know how to spin a good yarn, and the prime reason people are motivated to buy products, listen to ads or take action is because of a story that resonated with them.
That’s why when 1800+ Attendees, 65+ workshops, trade show booths and guest speakers converged on the Irving Convention Center on December 4-5 to swap secrets and listen to technology afficiados, storytelling was a huge topic of conversation. It’s no surprise, many of the workshops centered around creating stories and quality content.
Here are a few of the workshops that centered on storytelling on Day 2 of the event:
Five Secrets to Creative Content From Your Favorite Songwriters – Ahava Leibtag, Aha Media
What do Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer, Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean and Jackson Browne’s Take it Easy all have in common? They all have lyrics that tell wonderful stories. Leibtag explains the traditional formula for telling stories is:
- Exposition (background)
- Conflict (adds drama) and
- Resolution (ending)
The lyrics in these songs use variations of this basic structure to move the narrative forward. “This basic formula holds true for marketing content as well,” said Leibtag. “The more we can tell stories that resonate with how our audience feels, the better.” Think about it. When we connect emotionally with love, loss, joy and heartache, it draws us in and stirs us, which affects our behavior. Her takeaway tip: “Always read your text out loud to hear the rhythm.”
Why Storytelling Remains the Future of Successful Marketing – Andrea Leitch, National Geographic
A picture tells a thousand words. National Geographic’s 100-year association with telling stories through photographs goes digital with social media, garnering the magazine the title of Instagram’s most followed account topping more than 90 million followers. National Geographic fully embraced social media, and with that mindset, devised an innovative, effective, on-brand digital storytelling strategy that is wildly successful. “People love looking at adorable polar bears and nature on Instagram, which provides us with the perfect platform for our brand,” said Leitch. National Geographic spawned several brands on social media including the National Geo Travel that has more than 24 million followers and continues to steadily gain more.
A Method Behind the Madness of Influencer Marketing – Ericka Kurtz, MGM Resorts
MGM Las Vegas finds that influencer marketing on social media, especially on Instagram and Twitter, is an effective way to promote their hotels, casinos and restaurants. Influencers of their brand include celebrity endorsements, well-known travelers and even famous dogs to generate excitement for visiting Vegas. “Social media where our influencers post attractive images is a huge part of our marketing,” she said. This kind of signaling and creates a connection with the audience, which is what storytelling is all about.
Lunch Keynote – Building a Brand with Outrageous Marketing Scott Dikkers, Founder, The Onion
As a rebellious third grader prone to acting out and getting into trouble, Dikkers said when he saw Mad Magazine for the first time, it changed his life. A cover graced with Alfred E Neuman with his finger up his nose, Dikkers relished the magazine’s irreverence which made fun of religion, politics and pop culture. Reading those pages, Dikkers realized life doesn’t have to be serious all the time and comedy became his calling. He started his career in high school by drawing comic strips and sending them to college newspapers across the country to print for free.
While in college in Madison, WI, he and two dorm mates started The Onion, aptly named for peeling back the layers to get at the facts, and printed on cheap, thin newsprint. Because the tabloid was riddled with typos (his mother was an English teacher), he became the self-appointed editor and later bought out his partners. After college, he dedicated himself to The Onion full time, hiring satirist from the “misfits and weirdos” of the world who didn’t fit in. He paid them $5 to write one story a week. The only criteria–to feel compelled to write parodies about society. The newspaper’s outrageous headlines continue to capture sales. “Marketing,” he says, “is reaching out to the world to try and make connections — all of us want love and attention.”
Building Teamwork to Achieve Innovative Results – Mitch Lowe, Co-Founder, Netflix
Perhaps the biggest storyteller of them all, Netflix supplies the world with great stories. The company is a story in itself, started by three video store owners who wanted to banish detested late fees. After a meeting at a diner to design the famous Netflix red envelope, when the partners went home to tell their wives the idea, they were met with “That will never work.” Today, the company’s growth is legendary and many of the original same team members are still with the company.
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