Based on what’s been on my mind this week I was debating whether to blog about Storytelling or Why Communications is about (doh!) Conversations not Shouting – then I realised they were basically the same thing.
I’ve been revisting the text of Jeremy Bullmore’s 1972 speech to Kraft, titled ‘The consumer has a mind instead of a stomach’, but which could equally have been called ‘How to do good advertising’. He talks of the difference between shouting at your target audience that they should buy brand X because of Y – and engaging your audience sufficiently that they come to that conclusion themselves. The analogy he used is the difference in how people will perceive someone who says “I’m funny” and someone who actually tells a joke.
(Incidentally, the only downloadable PDF of Jeremy Bullmore’s speech seems to have disappeared off the web. I only have a smudgy 7th generation photocopy.
Has anyone got a scanned version they fancy uploading? Carlos commented below and shared a link to a copy of the speech here.)
Telling a joke is basically telling a story. And the more and more fragmented and two-way communication channels get, the more brands need Storytelling to help them engage with their target audience. Just look at Cravendale’s Thumbcat.
But I’ve met far too many clients who seem to operate on a ‘if we tell them, they will buy’ principle. That might have worked in the 1940s, but these day’s there’s an unofficial contract between brands and their audiences – they expect brands to share an engaging story if they want connection (and the accompanying shift in mindset, attitude or behaviour) in return.
Or more simply – don’t yell, storytell.
Ministry of Information WW2 poster via The National Archives. Of course in these days of Behavioural Economics the poster would probably say that everyone else was already recycling their kitchen scraps…