Michelle Stinson Ross of Apogee Results talks about how marketing your brand is best told through storytelling. Learn how marketers communicate through stories to psychologically connect with other humans at a basic level and how stories serve to stimulate human behavior.
Bob : Alright. This is Bob Tripathi with Digital Sparx Marketing. We have a great guest today, Michelle Stinson Ross with Apogee results. Michelle welcome.
Michelle : Thank you for having me
Bob : Yeah. Great. I mean I know you talked a lot about psychology marketing and things like that. So why don’t you tell us what do you mean by that.
Michelle : Well, marketing is inherently a form of communication right? Communication happens to be inherently human. And yet because of the mediation of technology we’ve gotten kind of mired in keeping track of what Google bots track and looking at data points and all of this kind of stuff and we sometimes forget that those data points actually represent human behavior.
And the way you stimulate human behavior is with the psychological aspect of communication in and of itself. So, to be successful, especially in digital marketing, there are a lot of aspects of just human communication that we have to go way back to the beginning of it and make sure that we’re connecting with that at a psychological level in order to have digital marketing success.
Bob : So can you break down?
Michelle : Yes. If I were to start on the psychological factors and looking at humans and then basically targeting through that prism how would you go about it? In any seven factors? Five factors?
Michelle : I don’t know that there’s any particular number of factors All right, let’s think about this. So one of the things that we as marketers tend to want to track is conversion rate optimization. Right? Well, psychologically did the page that t person landed on match the message that brought them there? Did the page serve the purpose that the user was there for all of those things that factor into how successful clean we convert a page visitor into a lead or whatever get them to fill in that form or click that button or whatever? Those are psychological things. Also, in social media marketing, did we get somebody to watch a video? Did we get somebody to click through on a social post? Did we get somebody to hit the smiley face? All of those forms of communication that get that communication ball rolling.
Bob : Those are all psychological. Ray Rice is psychologically a huge ball. And I think I read a study by this researcher from Stanford is how we have psychological triggers. So how something triggers a certain behavior and then we take action on it. Right? And you mentioned social media. What are some of the other areas where we see this in play day in day out?
Michelle : If you can think of an example, one of the things that I think about is in the media and in this space of public discourse about social media marketing and social media in general. We’ve talked a lot about how social media can be misused. Right? Same thing. So what if we’re not careful about the psychology and we’re either being abusive in some way shape or form. So a lot of the moral implications of our marketing messages also stem from that psychology. Are we really pushing the buttons on say, race or gender or any number of hot button issues? Are we pushing those buttons a little too hard sometimes? So being able to hold ourselves accountable to do no harm in the public space is also a psychological aspect, particularly of social media marketing.
Also read – 7 psychological triggers that impact decisions
Implementing Psychology in Story Telling
Bobr : I think one thing, and you talk a lot about this, is you have psychological factors and then you have storytelling. Right? So how does storytelling or how can you take the psychology of humans and then build it into storytelling.
Speaker : So storytelling is key and it stems from our basic humanity, regardless of language, regardless of culture, regardless of age or anything else. We as human beings have always– ever since the communication was a part of what we do –we have always told stories. It is how we connect with one another. We learn how to be empathetic to one another through storytelling. The ability to walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes is done through storytelling. So in order to garner that, emotional connection to a brand, we have to be able to tell a story around a brand.
How Story Telling Impacts Creating Content
Bob : Right. Right. So when you talk about storytelling, I think the first thing is on the content side of things I see are a lot of people creating tons of content. How much of the storytelling plays a part of, let’s say you’re creating a book or a webinar or even a content pieces.
Michelle : Certainly. Well, think about it. Written content is only one form of content. We can tell stories verbally so it could be this video is a form of content. And the story, the narrative that we have through the course of our conversation is a part of that content. Maybe we decide to turn this video content into podcast content where it’s audio and still have this engagement.
Michelle : The storytelling aspect that we have in the course of our conversation becomes a part of the content itself. How we then present that to further the story along. Maybe this is a series of stories that relates one to another to another to another.
How Story Telling Helps Creating Content
Bob : Yeah. I mean you’re right. I see that a lot. You run a small podcast. And what we see is when somebody listens to one podcast episode victims zoom all the different episodes right. And that’s a classic form of story. Right. So my question to you is when is thought out and you don’t have this approach of creating content or looking at your marketing through a storytelling prism. How should they go about it creatively. Like what?
Michelle : Creatively? Honestly, storytelling and engaging storytelling actually helps a lot with not so much promoting the brand or the product or the service because, yeah sure we can talk about those things all day long but does another human being actually connect with that aspect as soon as we start engaging a bit of storytelling to tell how a particular client had a problem? And then they started using a particular service and how that service helped solve the problem and make that client that customer that whatever.
Now we’re actually telling a story where we’re starting with its plot. Yeah right. We we have a character. They get involved in a situation and somehow that situation is resolved. That’s classic storytelling. And as soon as we kind of get our focus off of our brand or product or whatever and into the story of how a particular customer or how a particular potential customer can succeed and make themselves a little bit better and basically go on that hero’s journey with our product, then we’re engaging in storytelling.
Bob : So you know there’s a lot of effort in that. Right. Because it’s not a classic straight cookie cutter creation type. But when you’re doing storytelling that has a lot of strategic planning involved. So how would you measure those impacts of that storytelling type or fourth form of content.
Important Metrics to Measure
Bob : And so you build a bigger case in the organization. What are some of the metrics people should be measuring?
Bob : Honestly, I think audience acquisition continues to be the one metric that kind of gets ignored. So, whether we’re talking about content marketing or we’re talking about influence or marketing because, hello, you probably have to have content in order to even have influence or marketing.
Michelle : A lot of times people are advised, oh you need to track your brand awareness. Well what does that mean technically? Audience acquisition is the thing that you measure. So you’re looking at the growth of an email list based on how they converted around a story right. Tied to a landing page right? Or we’re looking at how the Google remarketing pixel picked up somebody that we continue can continue to engage with until they come back and convert. Same thing with the social media pixels.
Michelle : So then audience acquisition is the core, the main object right of things like the end story can drive audience acquisition.
Michelle : When you look at how video views can drive a retargeting audience from Facebook you start the audience acquisition process with storytelling and you continue to take them along that journey with subsequent stories.
Story Telling Examples
Bob : Are there any examples that come off your mind that are good storytelling examples. Can you think of any right now?
Michelle : Also offer to support. OK, so I go back to I I came to marketing as a writer and as a storyteller. Anyway, so again, that classic plot. Character has a situation. Character gets involved in trying to fix the situation and what is the resolution. So that same 3-point arc is the basis of any kind of storytelling. And usually when you follow that classic model you can find a way around your product your service or whatever in order to begin to engage that story. And the best stories usually follow that model.
Speaker : What bugs you bothers you? These days when it comes to the whole storytelling content. Acquisition marketing that you think that stop people stop doing this, do this instead. I wouldn’t say so much as aggravate us.
Michelle : Wow you just told a great story in a particular format. Why aren’t you using that and all of the other formats available to you? Once you’ve got that great story make sure that you’re telling it in all of the possible ways that you can tell it because storytelling also engages like semantic language all of the other terminology that it relates back to. Whatever the particular topic of that story was. So make sure that you’re doing it in video that you’re doing it in visual, that you’re doing it in audio, that you’re doing it in written form.
Bob : Good. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you would like to share?
Speaker : Probably that he can go other than oh guess what. You’re a CEO impacts your social media, your social media impacts your content marketing. Look at the entire digital ecosystem and not just one particular discipline at a time.
Bob : Right. So have a holistic approach to this.
Michelle : Exactly. And because that’s how your customers are looking at you.
Bob : Yeah. And that’s what we call it going to beat back the copy. But look at the holistic view of it. Right? But also a live audience reach out to you. How do they do that?
Michelle : Honestly, the best way to reach me is Michell. Yeah. At. Apogeeresults.com so I’ll spell that one for you. A-P-O-G-E-E, Apogee results.com. You obviously you can visit our website. You can email me Michelle Stinson Ross. Absolutely every social media platform you can think of will get you to me as well.
Bob : Awesome awesome. This is great. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for your time.
Bob : My pleasure sharing with you. That’s it. Photos– love some great nuggets about human psychology of storytelling from Michelle. So thank you for joining.