The Power of a Story

 

Last week, I attended the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Conference in Chicago.  As I sat waiting for a panel to begin, the stranger sitting next to me told me about her great new hand lotion.  I was intrigued – why did she love it so much?  Did the hand lotion really make her hands that much softer?  Was it really that easy to use?  As I sat there, I was reminded of the Power of a Story.  Her Story. The story she wanted to share with me.

At Active Network, we see the power of stories every day – someone’s first triathlon, a first soccer game, a memorable family vacation at a campsite.  We know what happened and what that means to each individual.  This is the daily world in which we live, and it’s awesome.

From this conference last week, what I found to be even more moving was that each speaker honed in on this same concept time and again. Storytelling is nothing new. It’s why we love a good movie, but it’s also why we love to dish about our favorite reality stars. What was different about this conference was the intense focus around the consumer story.  Not only should brands (i.e. the Gatorade’s and Dove’s of the world) be focused on telling their own brand story (for Gatorade, this story is likely the power of targeted sports nutrition; whereas for Dove, this story is likely female empowerment of being her own true self), but really focus on why this story matters for each consumer’s journey.

This then begs the question: why should an individual choose your product?  Answer: only if it helps her where she lives, works and plays. At the conference, the brands and agencies were each challenged to think about their stories with the following in mind:
–          What is Your Story?
–          Who is Telling your Story?
–          Why Are They Telling Your Story?
–          How Are They Telling Your Story?
–          Where Are They Telling Your Story?
–          And When Are They Telling Your Story?

At Active Network, we think about our participant journey each and every day.  It was remarkable to see so many people on the same page – that in a room of brand marketers, agencies and activity providers, we were all centered on the concept that an effective story must be intertwined with a participants’ experience for the right people to want to continue to share information about your brand.  As Keller and Fay say, 1) Start with the Right Story, 2) Tap the Right Talker, and 3) Choose the Right Channel.  It’s marketing success in a bottle!

Day to day, this thinking seems common sense, but it is always great to be reminded of the power of our participants’ journey and how we can enhance that experience each and every day through relevant stories that we connect with their lives.

…Oh, and I bought the lotion.

– Erica Graham is our go-to promotions gal and gets active through yoga, going for a jog, and training for her first triathlon.