Effective brand storytelling is a combination of both rational and emotional components. Even major productions at Hollywood studios follow this concept.Behind every directors vision and screenwriters script, there's a solid marketing and business plan that outlines the day to day details needed to get a movie made.
In the consumer world, most of our decisions involve a combination of rational and emotional decision-making. Not only must a brand tap into our emotions, on some other level it must also give us a valid reason to buy it. If the product doesn't serve our purpose - or doesn't work very well - chances are we won't buy it. At the very least we might give it a try, but switch brands if we end up having a bad experience.
When I worked as a sales rep for NCR in 1985, we were given a book during our training sessions whose concepts are still valid today. The book is called "Open the Mind and Close the Sale" and was written by the then Vice-President of Sales John M. Wilson. The year was 1953.
To be successful in selling, Wilson stresses the importance of using a balanced and integrated approach in your routine. He discusses the importance of having a plan, of the need to arouse interest through visual aids, and the ability of humour and enthusiasm to arouse the emotion needed to close the sale.
Wilson was also a master at tapping into a prospect's emotional side, while appealing to their sense of rationality as well. He listened to his customers, and that skill translated into profits. He tells the story of how he visited one of his prospects who had just moved into a new store. When he stopped by to congratulate the customer, he just sat back and listened. His final proposal integrated the prospect's sense of pride in the store - and he got the sale.
The technology has changed, but the principles behind buying and selling are the same as they were 56 years ago. The same is true of effective storytelling. A finely woven tale has the ability to last generations, and one that is used to tap into brand power has the ability to persuade beyond any marketers dreams.
In the spirit of fine salespeople and marketers everywhere, I'll let Wilson explain why people buy:
"He had a basic need for what he was buying, and I felt that he would eventually place an order. But the little extra that closed the sale that day and eliminated many recalls was the frequent use of the pride motive - an emotional appeal- to supplement rational reasons for buying."
Why do you buy a certain brand? Did advertisers appeal to your rational or emotional side? Did the brand tell a story - and was that story effective in getting you to buy the product?