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Your campaigns have to tell a story and that story needs to cross the channel divide


In this interesting video from the Coke marketing team, we see that they were trying give an important message. The fact that this video is three years old and they never actually seemed to follow up on it shows more about the company than the message, which is a huge shame because that message was bang on.

In a nutshell, they talk about how brand building is about developing a story that your customers can enjoy, and it’s about carrying over that story theme from channel to channel. More than just being consistent with your branding and core message, it’s about weaving a narrative that can engage with a customer no matter where they start from. Like a choose-your-own-adventure, but using channels as the decision process, rather than pages.

It’s ether you or the voices in my head that are saying things, but I am sure that I can hear you saying, “Ben, that’s mental, you have to have a massive budget for that sort of thing, I need to spend small and make sure that I am talking about my product and its benefits, not brand building with fairy tales.”

Well that may be the case, voices in my head, BUT, you can do a great deal with a small budget, a bit of creativity and some smarts on where you promote it. I want you think think about the last viral phenomenon you saw on Facebook, twitter or wherever, I would put money on the fact that, it was very low budget and made by a noob, and I want you think think now, what if you had made that, and that it was telling your story. It didn’t cost anything but it went worldwide, even with a little cost you can do a great deal, as an example, Gangnam style, cost only $25,000 to make, but its a video that has been viewed over 2.3 BILLION times.

I’m not saying that you can easily make a viral hit, but you can make something, and if you’re smart and you tell a story, then you can make something very interesting. The royal Shakespeare company did a project in 2010 where it used Twitter to tell the story of Romeo and Juliet in real time, and it was a massive hit. For them, the cost was as minimal as the people typing it all into the accounts, so really zero cost, just a lot of time. You don’t need to do anything as grand as that, but you need to tell a story.


What story to tell?

This is where you need to get your creative juices going. You should think about something that is unique to you, preferably a passion because, let’s face it, you are the one that will need to make it all happen so you need to be interested in it, and you are going to need to develop something that will work in the medium that you are able to do best.

What I mean by that last statement is that if you are able to create cool videos, or at least you have an interest in videos, then you can look at telling a story with moving images. If you’re more of a writer, then write. It’s going to end up being a bust if you have to try to teach yourself how to edit videos, before you can start telling the story. Stick with something that you know and you can make it happen faster, and that is going to keep your enthusiasm up.

But what do you tell? Well, I’ll tell you want not to tell, and that is don’t tell a story about your product, that’s for sure; no one cares that your widgets are small and are made in a widget factory. Actually, maybe people will care about that. People may be interested to hear the stories from your widget factory staff, or maybe you are using some sort of manufacturing process that is really interesting. Of course, you need to pick the medium that will tell the story in a way that is actually interesting. If you were to write an essay about your manufacturing process, then I would probably be asleep before I got to the second paragraph, but if you were to make an interesting video about it, with lots of cool shots of stuff on a conveyor belt, all artistic and stuff then, yes, it’s going to be interesting.

So, find something that interests you, something that is actually interesting, then find the medium that will tell the story in the best way and you are on the right track.


What channels should I use?

This channel selection will, of course, be dependent on the medium you use, but don’t forget that we want to be telling a story across all channels. The best method of managing this is to pick a hero channel. This will be the places that all the other outlets will lead people to; you are trying to take people on a journey from so you need to plan where to take them.

I will use the blue widget factory as an example. Let’s say that you are able to produce video and you spent a few days filming in your factory, you have a cool manufacturing process video, and you also have 10 or so stories from some staff about their experiences, how they got there, what their aspirations are, etc. You’re humanising the product by having your staff be the faces of your product.

Let’s also say that you want to drive these potential viewers to your site, where you have a form to capture emails, or even phone numbers. You have embedded your hero video, which in this case is the manufacturing video, because, of course, your customers are going to want to see how you produce your goods. However, you will also humanise the story on YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, they are out there and they are getting views, all with links back to your site where you have your lead capture form.

You then post links to the videos on as many book marketing sites as you can, you boost the video posts on Facebook and you run sponsored tweets to the links. You create a few gifs and put them on Snapchat and other mobile applications and that’s that.

You’re paying for traffic to the videos, and you’re putting the human story out into the world, and that is just an idea on how to drive traffic using a story.


How will I know if it’s worth it?

This of course is the biggest question to answer, and it really comes down to your goals. Are you looking to get likes on Facebook, or are you trying to build leads for your sales team?

Knowing your goals are the first step, then you need to work out how to measure them. If we stay with the previous example, you would have added UTM codes to all the links that point back to your site, from all the places that you put links and promoted videos. That way you aven get a real number on the volume of traffic that the content sent. Then you would have set up funnels in Google Analytics, to track the users as they came down the line from channel to site, and through to page.

Those funnels have now tracked the number of people that came from promotion through to enquiry. And, if you work out the cost of production plus the cost of promotion, then work out the value per customer that came down those funnels, you can work out the cost per acquisition.

That CPA is going to give you your definitive answer to the question: was the cost and time worth the expense?

What you will not know for certain is, what is the return for my brand? Yes, you can track brand mentions on the social channels before and after and get some indication, you can even assess the volume of links to your site before and after, but what you can’t get is the value of that brand awareness.

But at the end of the day, isn’t it better to be talked about, then not be talked about?

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Benjamin S Powell

CEO & founder at DSA global
A Digital Marketing expert and CEO & founder of DSA Global. Ben has over 10 years experience solving complex business problems in both client and agency-side roles.

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