In last week’s blog, “The Customer Response: Start with the End in Mind,” I talked about the link between culture and brand, and how challengers use that link to create exceptional customer experiences. This week, I’m building on that with a look at the five things challengers do to build and fortify the kind of connections between culture and brand that, in turn, deepen connections with their customers.
1. Start with great storytelling.
In a century of filmmaking, there have been thousands of movies and television shows in the fantasy/sci-fi genre, but none connected like the films of Marvel, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars. That begins and ends with their extraordinary storytelling, not their production value.
With the media available at your fingertips – both old and new – there’s never been a better time to tell broad, fantastic, integrated stories. And yet, for most brands, story is an afterthought. Or worse, a never thought. If you want to truly connect with your customers, tell great stories in smart, touching, funny, dramatic, and engaging ways. That goes not just for the brand itself but, if you’re a marketer, for the advertising you create. Engaging storytelling is the most ancient and effective method we have to connect people. Tell your story well and people will notice.
2. Think ahead and plan accordingly.
A 22-film story arc doesn’t happen by accident. The MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is an inspired, perfectly-planned universe of character and crossover that becomes even more brilliant when you go back and watch it from the beginning. The same can be said for the Game of Thrones and Star Wars sagas.
Whether it’s due to timing, budget, or lack of imagination, most brands shy away from this kind of broad production, opting instead to produce single spots or, at best, limited campaigns that rarely build on each other. Like compound interest in financing, great ideas that advance an intriguing narrative are far more lucrative than ones that are simply one and done.