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Great Storytelling Principles

Great Storytelling Principles

The Facts
I spend a lot of time writing about storytelling. It’s my passion, and it’s a huge point of difference between Spiker Communications and our competition, just like between you and your competition. Everyone seems to understand that storytelling is important because we’re awash in videos that don’t say anything, that we can’t remember, and because these videos don’t tell us anything. There is no copy, just drone footage mostly these days that looks exactly like the last 15 videos I’ve seen.

Connecting with another person is one of the highest forms of social being for humans, and at its heart is great storytelling. So let’s quit this boring “I’ve got a drone too and I’m going to show you a bunch of roof tops and tops of trees that don’t look anything like your roof tops and tree tops.”

Spiker Insights
Effective storytelling involves a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations and psychology in order to truly move an audience. Luckily, storytelling is something we all do naturally, starting at a very young age. But there’s a big difference between average storytelling and great storytelling.

A few principles we use are:

  1. Great stories are targeted to your particular target audience. They are not for everybody. If you wish to target everybody, you will reach nobody.
  2. Great stories are simple and focused. As marketers we naturally want to include as much information as possible in our stories, but we can’t. We have three to four minutes to set the hook.
  3. Great stories are surprising and unexpected. Surprise our audience with our message so they think about us long after the film is over.
  4. Great stories appeal to our deepest emotions. Tell authentic stories that reach and move people where it counts.
The Future May Not Include Your Phone

The Future May Not Include Your Phone

The Facts
Smartphone supremacy is starting to wane. The devices aren’t going away anytime soon, but their grip on the consumer is weakening. Global sales slump, lack of new advancements, and the price of today’s new models make smartphones not look so smart anymore. Functions that were the exclusive domain of smartphones are now flying out of phones and onto other products with their own embedded smart connections like wristwatches, televisions that can now talk and listen, and then there is Alexa where voice-activated speakers smaller than a bread box can make more than dinner reservations for you.

Spiker Insights
We may need another word in the future for whatever the smartphone will become because when “smart” is everywhere that term becomes almost meaningless. Like the arc in the personal computer, smartphones now are more of a need in the modern world than a splurge. Manufacturers are now engaged in a race toward the bottom. Chinese and South Korean manufacturers are now making similar devices at lower prices, with newer features and advanced technology.

Consumers are pulling back amid the tech industry’s acknowledgment their products can be addictive, spur anxiety, distract drivers and even walkers on a sidewalk, and cast a ring of silence over restaurants and dinner tables. You’ve all witnessed it, four people at a table and no one is talking, they are all on their phones. Flip phone sales are again inching upward as more people now just want a basic phone. Americans on average spend two and a half hours daily on their smartphones. The need to have something with you is not going away. But in the future, we may be wearing it, a chip implanted in our skulls or glasses that will do everything and more than today’s smartphones can do.

Don’t Hate Old People

Don’t Hate Old People

The Facts
We are undergoing the largest demographic change in human history and it is being completely ignored by the absurd large marketing and advertising agencies and brands.

Marketers obsessed with millennials and “Gen Z” are paying no attention at all to the startling demographic changes that are happening in society today. It is projected by the Census Bureau that by 2035, people over 65 years old will outnumber children. Most marketers think that old people use walkers and wheelchairs to get around with a nurse standing nearby. Things have changed. Bruce Springsteen is over 65. Samuel L. Jackson is over 65. Sting is over 65. Jane Seymour is over 65. See where I’m going with this?

Spiker Insights
It’s not just the depiction of mature people that’s so ludicrous, it’s the way marketers ignore them. People over 50 are responsible for over 50% of consumer spending in the U.S. If Americans over 50 were their own country, they’d be the third largest economy in the world. Bigger than German or Japan. But they are the preferred target of less than 10% of all marketing. It’s time to forget the volatility of youth, and bank on the stability of age.

Support A Cause

Support A Cause

The Facts
We’ve reached a point where companies can no longer, and should no longer, stay silent about broad-reaching social issues. Employees are speaking up to hold their employers accountable to their own missions, and customers are loyal to brands they believe align with their personal values, such as Zappos, Patagonia and Nike.

Spiker Insights
It’s an exciting time for consumers and employees and is also the right time for brands to be thoughtful. Supporting causes as a brand is important. You have a platform and audience that can be used for the greater good. But beware, customers can sniff out inauthenticity – greenwashing. And you will turn them away from you as fast as you wanted them to embrace you.

Brands need to find a balance between having both a positive business and social impact while also remaining genuine to their company’s values and the causes they support. Brands can’t stay silent any longer, your customers and prospects won’t permit it, and we as marketers shouldn’t be afraid to try and affect change.

Let’s be the change.

Be Non-Traditional

Be Non-Traditional

The Facts
Part of the reason many marketers and their agencies continue to produce traditional solutions to marketing problems is because they continue to use the same traditional methods of problem solving − got to have a website right away, followed by a social media campaign to drive traffic to the new site, etc.   We can’t continue to use the same methods and approaches and expect to get different results than we what got last year or the year before.

Spiker Insights
The next time you have a new project, try some of the following methods of thinking and working differently.

  1. Don’t start with the marketing, start with the product. Look for marketing opportunities in the way the brand was designed, constructed and sold.
  2. Focus on how consumers come in contact with the brand, not just how they come in contact with the marketing.
  3. Focus on what consumers do instead of what they say. Instead of just using conventional research, what kind of new and useful insights can we get by observing behavior?
  4. Develop a channel plan instead of a media plan. What channels can you use to reach consumers in ways that might be more effective than traditional media?
  5. Make the channel as relevant as the message.
  6. Don’t just optimize media, invent it.
  7. Devote creativity to how and where brand messages are delivered, not just what they say.
  8. Make every idea sticky. Get the target audience to not only pay attention, but to participate.
  9. Help not only develop the brand promise, but deliver it.
  10. Build the internal brand as well as the external brand. Internal audiences are critical to the success of the brand.

There are of course more where that came from. If you are interested in learning more of the Non-Traditional Way, send me an e-mail and I’ll get them out to you.

 

Are Your Briefs Tight Enough?

Are Your Briefs Tight Enough?

The Facts
Trying to do more marketing with less investment this year? You’re not alone in trying to do more with less money. It can be done, it’s not as hard as you may believe, but it starts with your scope of work, and a better-managed briefing process may be the answer to your marketing team. Clients want sales, fair enough, and most client direction is flat wrong. Clients think the job of the Brief is to provide a cast-in-stone solution to the sales problem.

Spiker Insights
Creativity solves problems. If we don’t have a detailed and accurate problem, we can’t be creative. So creativity starts with the problem, not the solution. If we study the greats of our industry, their successes and failures, we will find that their thinking started long before the Client Brief. Their thinking started with redefining the problem.

As Einstein said “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about the solution.” Because if he got the problem right, the solution would be easy, but if he got the problem wrong, there would be no solution. In other words, the real problem is to know what the real problem is.