A lesson on: don’t say it, just do it!

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

Do you ever get so sick of hearing something you just want to scream?  Allow me to test your reaction to…

50 Shades of Grey! Kim Kardashian! That’s so epic! Flatform shoes are so fab! Gluten Free!

See what I mean!  Now there’s a new trend out there that is starting to wear thin, becoming a bonafide overrated buzzword:  storytelling.  Let me say straight up that storytelling is critical; for advertisers who want to connect with consumers, for researchers like ourselves who want to turn data into something meaningful and for parents who want their kids to just go to sleep.  But have you noticed that everyone and their brother is saying “storytelling?”  In fact, I’m tired of saying it myself.

Here’s our suggestion, don’t say it…just do it.  Don’t put a label on it.  Just make sure what you’re trying to convey has meaning, connects to the audience, links to real life experiences.  Don’t say you’re going to tell a great story, just make sure you have the elements of one (source:  www.communicationskillstips.com):

1. Characters

Stories must have characters that audience members can relate to. When telling your stories, just give a little bit of information about what your characters look like so audience members can “see” the characters.

This is the story of IGB.

Once upon a time there was a King called IGB (Iconic Global Brand was his full name).  Many, many winters had passed and while King IGB had a business that brought millions of dollars into his kingdom by making and selling fast, inexpensive meals across the realm, he was growing big and lazy.  King IGB was arrogant enough to think since he was the king he didn’t have to worry about others trying to steal his throne.

2. Conflict

Conflict is the hook of the story. Conflict is what keeps audience members interested to find out more. When you throw your characters into a conflict, your audience members become interested in finding out how the conflict will be solved.

But the winds were shifting and the villagers were becoming restless.  King IGB could only increase his fortunes by conquering faraway lands.  He was losing money is his very own kingdom as his subjects were increasingly demanding:  seeking healthier food choices, higher quality products and better experiences.  And smaller, more nimble members of the royal court were rising up the ranks, at King IGB’s expense.  The King was in deep trouble.

3. Cure

There must be a cure to conflict. The cure is what adds value to your audience’s life. The cure should help audience members solve the conflicts they may be facing.

So King IGB set out to change the course of his kingdom.  He took a look at the trends, his villagers’ needs and wants, the strength of his royal competition and came up with a clear “plan to win.”  The output of the plan was, among other things, good communication that was relevant to the younger villagers, healthier product offers, good quality products at great value, and a better overall experience which included a new and improved look and feel.

4. Change

Characters must change as a result of the conflict. For example, after going through hardship, a character may become tougher.  There must be a happy ending / a silver lining.  The audience must feel hope that the conflict can be overcome.

King IGB has realized even though he is big, he must continue to meet the needs of his villagers, adapting to changing demands.  At the same time he must stay true to what he is about, what he is best at.  As a result, villager satisfaction and kingdom value increased significantly.

5. Carry-out message

The carry-out message is the key takeaway message for your audience. Your story should have one main memorable point.

No matter how big you are, change is possible.  You must meet the changing demands of your consumer while staying true to yourself and keep doing what you do best.

The End

Just remember, everything is a story.  You’ve just got to tell it well!

By the way, can you guess who IGB really is?  If you thought Mickey D’s then you thought correct.