How do we create connective stories, amplified across multiple channels?
When crafted to plan, storytelling pulls the consumer into the realm of the brand inspiring a different perspective. It gives the bigger picture. The story invites them to participate in something bigger than themselves. Something to believe in. As a direct result of digital transformation, individualism has become the norm. The digital environment has given marketing experts the data driven tools to enhance its communications with a personalize context.
Theodore Levitt, a famed Harvard Professor wrote an article in a Harvard Business Review in 1960 named "Marketing Myopia." He pointed to the fact that “people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” This inspired Professor Clayton Christensen, with the theory of disruptive innovation and specifically the idea that "people buy products and services to get a job done."
Of late, there seems to be a great disconnect between marketers and audiences. It was never more clearer and noticeable than with the 2021 commercial line-up for the Super Bowl LV. The entire population of the U.S.A. had almost circle a full year of lock down to avoid a contagious disease, completed four years of a boisterous President, from #metoo to #BLM, the uprisings were real and then we all watched with the world, in shock and awe as the Capital was attacked by its own people. Overall, advertisers and marketers had a chance of a lifetime to lead this challenge to appeal, and empathize with its audiences. Many agree, it failed. Some say, it failed miserably.
As marketers of the 2000's, we might be facing the possibility of extinction. It's not about the threat of being replaced by robots or artificial intelligence. It was pointed out by Professor Christensen in his 'Jobs to be done,' theory. He expressed that the traditional, ‘by the numbers’ management style of collecting the data and putting it into predictable models and archetypes is misleading. His theory is rooted in empathy. Empathy will begin the story.
The connective story that considers customers' motivations and struggles, even in this data-driven world, is the ideal way to receive communication. The great stories are the ones that move people. They stick. They inspire people to do the impossible: to change. But these stories — the ones that leave you better than before — are becoming scarce.
Our #1 Favorite Content Story
Our favorite connective story is a classic. Way ahead of its time were the Michelin brothers and the timeless Michelin Guide. It is our best pick for so many reasons but mostly because it's food and travel, with some nostalgia, that has outlasted any competitor, anywhere. In 1889, the innovative French entrepreneurial brothers, Ándre and Édouard Michelin launched a rubber factory in Clemont-Ferrand, France. It was soon thereafter, a cyclist needed a pneumatic tire fixed and Edouard repaired the bicycle. It took two days, but it failed. However, he and his brother became inspired. By 1981, their first patent was for the removable pneumatic tire. The same tire used by Charles Tremont to win the world's first long-distance cycle race, the 1891. The technology would later evolve and become the run-flat tire used today.
Ok. We digress. There is more.
The story expands. The two brothers needed to drive demand. To drive demand for more tires, people would need to use the tires would need to drive miles. The inspiration to travel would be adventurous and appealing to the class of people who owned cars. (Only 2,200 on the French roads, at that time). In France, what better way to express yourself than to dine at the finest restaurants and enjoy the drive to get their and back.
The first Michelin Guide was published in 1900.
When a restaurant is awarded a Michelin Star, it is a sign that it has succeeded at the highest level as a chef. Two Stars and the restaurant is excellent. Three Stars and the restaurant is worth traveling to. The same French entrepreneurs who had fixed a bike tire 11 years prior launched a ratings guidebook for hotels and restaurants to instigate the limited number of drivers to wear the tires through travel and then buy more. Ingenious. (We love that part)!
The automobile infrastructure in France at the time was limited. It was in 'build-mode.' As part of the Michelin Guide, it included hotels, mechanics, and gasoline vendors throughout France. They even went as far as to put up homemade road signs to assist travelers, according to Michelin. The Michelin inspectors are former chefs and to maintain the credibility, are barred from speaking to journalists, as they remain anonymous in reviewing the restaurant. Although the guide is international, it has only been in the USA since 2004. It is unknown why it has only been in the USA over 100 after being launched. Makes you wonder. Do you think they are trying to say something about the USA based restaurants? Hmmm?