By Linh Dao
When is the next episode of Game of Thrones aired? What are the tour dates of One Direction? Will Manchester United come to Australia for a friendly match?
The fans can answer you without having to google.
Most of us are fans of something, whether it’s a TV series, a sports club, or a singer. Entertainers are clearly well poised for capturing people’s hearts; but when it comes to brands, only a few elicit positive, strong, and raw emotions.
Now that doesn’t mean marketers, content crafters and story tellers are destined to lose in the uphill battle to win customers’ engagement.
Below are some lessons we can learn from the entertainment industry.
Coordinated production effort
It is a team effort. Time and time again, people forget those in the limelight are backed by a strong, dedicated team working quietly in the background. You look at a well-groomed, radiating singer dancing her way on stage amid cheering crowds; not the make-up and fashion artists, not the light and sound technicians, not the producer, the choreographer, or the manager.
But without those people, the singer might be nothing more than one-off success.
Similarly with business content, maybe you are looking to launch a new product, to promote an event or simply to get more followers on social media. Then the question is: “Where is my production team?”
Who dictates the overall strategic direction (manager)? Who weaves bits and pieces together to make a masterpiece (producer)? Who takes cares of the technical side such as web infrastructure (light and sound technicians)? Who beautifies the look of your brand’s collaterals (fashion & make-up artists)? You get the idea.
The overarching story
People are innate story consumers. This explains why brands who have a cohesive backstory in their brand identity, or who build story plots in their marketing campaigns fare better in engagement.
Imagine watching a music video that is a mere collection of dance moves, or shots of the singer singing or lip-syncing; compared to watching one that tells a story (with an intro, climax and an end.)
Now apply that to marketing for a product launch, or to any campaign. Examples of successful storytelling in marketing abound. Check out some storytelling TV ads:
The pre-launch suspension
Whether you are a fan of Taylor Swift or not, there are important lessons about branding and marketing from the star’s journey. Her latest music video “Bad Blood” is exemplary of her pre-launch suspension building technique.
On Instagram, for instance, she released images of each character in her “story” (with intriguing nick names) over several days. People were hooked, both by the production and marketing values. The science is in the audience data (which social platform to target), and the art is in balancing between overselling and underselling.
The behind-the-scenes curiosity
One of the worst feelings is having an unsatisfying ending. Consumers hate being left hanging, whether it is because they don’t like how a story ends, or because they believe there is still more beyond that ending.
Entertainers keep people in the loop and build fandom not only before and during the launch of their new content, but also after it all. Again, recall those “Behind the scenes” clips that singers regularly produce. For brands, they could be the “Meet our employees” series, the “One-on-one” tutorials and so on.
If people love your brand enough they will be your loyal fans, and they may even nominate you for an [Oscar-equivalent] award. Start preparing your speech!