Talking with a prospective client–a leadership and team development consultancy– a few weeks ago, I explained how I would approach writing copy for their new website. I told them that more than simply writing copy, I would work with them to define and craft a narrative their clients and prospects would connect with emotionally.
All good marketing–from billboards to case studies to blog posts to video, tells a story. And yet, narrative has been elevated to godlike status in the social media and viral marketing worlds, where the stakes are so much higher, and the potential for growth exponential.
All of this got me thinking, what exactly comprises a client’s narrative?
Most of us have heard the old-school marketing term, Unique Selling Proposition. The USP defines why a company is in the field they’re in, how their service differs from other professionals in the same field, what services and products they provide, etc.
But what if there’s another level of narrative, equally compelling, that can resonate with the client/prospect on a deep personal level? What if this brand story follows a typical story arc?
Consider, for example, how you might answer these five questions about your own service or product:
- What is the central conflict in your customer’s story? (The Problem)
- Who are the heroes of your customer’s story? (Heroes aren’t necessarily people; they can also be situations, attitudes, etc. Often, though, the hero is the customer)
- Who/what are the villains?
- What must the hero learn? What tests must they pass in order to overcome the conflict? (Solution to the problem)
- What is the world like now?
The Unique Selling Proposition is still an essential part of any marketing message. But in the age of YouTube and non-stop entertainment, we need to dramatize our business narratives in ways that inspire an even greater emotional response and resonance. A well told story does just this.
So what I believe is this: When the answers my client and I come up with together not only say what makes the firm unique but also form a dramatic narrative structure we can use for the firm’s website (and ultimately the entire brand), we’ll have clients lining up to hire them.