Monday, September 20, 2010

Say Something Interesting

Your message is fine. But how you are delivering it needs some work. No one is getting it for one simple reason - you do not have their attention. Sure, you could yell and scream, but that doesn't really get you anywhere. We are bombarded with so many advertising messages that it is like trying to fill a teacup with a fire hose. But you can get your message safely into the cup as long as you remember to...

Make your message more interesting than whatever occupies your customer's brain at that moment.

You can do that by telling a story.

Stories are Interesting
We all love stories. They hook us in and get us to listen. Facts are boring and dull, but stories are interesting and fun. Whether you are doing traditional ads like radio, newsprint or TV, or just coming up with a way to get your message across in networking or social media, turn your message into a story.

Here is a copyrighted (meaning don't use it verbatim, copy the style, not the ad) example from Roy H. Williams' book Wizard of Ads (pg 28-29)
Announcer: You are standing in the snow five and one-half miles above sea level, gazing at the horizon hundreds of miles away. Life here is very simple. You live, or you die. No compromises, no whining, no second chances. This is a place constantly ravaged by wind and storm, where every ragged breath is an accomplishment. You stand on the uppermost pinnacle of the earth. This is the mountain they call Everest. Yesterday it was considered unbeatable. But that was yesterday.

Client:
As Edmund Hillary surveyed the horizon from the peak of Mount Everest, he monitored the time on a wristwatch that had been specifically designed to withstand the fury of the world's most angry mountain. Rolex believed Sir Edmund would conquer the mountain, and especially for him they created the Rolex Explorer.

Announcer:
In every life, there is a Mount Everest to be conquered. When you have conquered yours, you'll find your Rolex waiting patiently for you to come pick it up at Justice Jewelers, your official Rolex jeweler, on Highway 65 at Battlefield Road.

Client:
I'm Woody Justice, and I've got a Rolex for you.


Make Your Customer the Star
Not only does this ad tell a fabulous story, it stars the world's most important person - "you".

When you can tell a story and make the listener/reader the star of that story, they will listen and hear your message. They will become engaged with your brand. They will picture themselves doing exactly what you want them to do.

Here is another example of a story that speaks to the heart:
He left Detroit 9am Christmas Eve. Some store somewhere had to have the one toy his sweet little six-year old wanted. Six stores…seven hours later, he stood, travel-weary, across the counter from me. “I suppose you don’t have any Simon games either.” As I handed over the last of our Simon games he smiled and said, “God Bless You!” Believe me, He already has. Merry Christmas from the Toy House in Downtown Jackson. We’re here to make you smile.

This true story was from my first Christmas Eve as an official employee back in 1980. I was 14 years old and will never forget the look on that man's face. We banked an entire Christmas ad campaign on this story. Results? Best Christmas ever. Yet we never mentioned our hours, our address, or our services. But everyone got the message... Looking for a toy? Save the hassle and try us first.

Figure out how to tell the story of your message and you'll begin to see that message resonate a whole lot better.

-Phil

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