Tag Archives: brand

The story trend: are you bored of bad ones?

From brand journalism to in-bound marketing  – we’re all encouraged to use story to engage our audiences – but what makes for a good story and even more, for a good writer?

Years ago, a friend recommended Robert McKee’s ‘Story Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting‘. I’d eagerly raced out and bought a copy, and tried to get into it, but at the time, I lost momentum and it sat patiently on my bookshelf — until a few weeks ago. It must have known that it’s time would come as it’s now proudly sporting a number of hand written annotations and several cracks in its spine and  from over use! Why have I found it so useful?

An animation of the Structure of Story

Structure of Story Prezi

Click to open a ‘Structure of Story’ Prezi

Being a visual thinker – and also wanting to learn Prezi with a ‘real’ project – I decided to create my first Prezi to try and represent Robert McKee’s thoughts on both the structure of story (acts, scenes and sequences) and the techniques of writing (the ‘quest’, ‘writing between gaps’, ‘turning points’ etc.) – and here’s the outcome:.

The Structure of Story Prezi

I’ve only scratched the surface of Robert McKee’s book – I’d encourage you to have a read – it’s a great help in understanding why some stories work better than others.

Story is like creating a symphony, you need to learn the instruments and how they work in harmony with timing to create great music. It’s not something that’s as easy as picking up a trumpet and blowing – it takes knowledge, understanding and practice, practice, practice.

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How carefully are you listening to your customers’ needs?

ROI needs are loud, functional needs louder, but it’s hearing the quieter emotional needs that pays dividends.

Click to view video.

Click to view video.

This compelling video from the Mimi Foundation in LaHulpe, Belgium is an outstanding example of listening carefully to ‘customers’ and truly hearing their emotional needs. Coupled with that, is a superb creative response captured in the video. These two elements combined are visible in the wide audience it’s captured which you can see by the number of views.

The creative has been extended into other touches including photography, gallery showing and a book, an outstanding example of emotionally connecting with an audience to highlight a service.

My take outs

  1. Listen for the emotional need – it may not be the thing most loudly voiced by your audience.
  2. Respond to that emotional need with a fitting creative response.
  3. Apply the two consistently in supporting touches to drive audience engagement.



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Google’s two-step is a shining example of the power of story.

Link to a google advert in India video on YouTube.

Click to view









This advert is a stellar example of a brand driving viewers’ emotional connections to ‘intangible’ services

Step one – connect with characters

Google tells a beautiful story connecting the viewer with likable characters and filling in historic background that lends itself to authenticity.

Perhaps less obvious, and deftly pointed out by Himanshu Gupta in his blog on Medium, is why Google have released this advert in a market where they have 97% share.

Step two – the deft move to mobile

Google are aware of the speed of mobile adoption, particularly in India – watch the advert a second time and look for the early move of search from the desktop to mobile; how mobile is used first in the home and then traveling to demonstrate location specific search, along with responses in ‘cards’ – these reflect Google’s eagerness to encourage seekers away from native apps that offer similar features.

I was fortunate to attend a Google/Mindshare event earlier this year, where ever more sophisticated searches are met using location aware and ‘previous question asked’ sensitive responses (more on that in my previous blog here), all enabling us to create our own stories like the one in the advert.

My take outs:

  1. a great story is the best foundation for sharing information
  2. viewers can engage emotionally with ‘invisible’ services
  3. repeat viewings can reveal the more subtle messages and purpose.



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Are you building a great content brand, or just an efficient content machine?


Click for larger version

Great content gets picked up, reworked, and occasionally ‘spoofed’ in recognition – this excellent SlideShare asks if you’re building that great content, or if you’re just an efficient content machine.

Grab a coffee, settle down and flick through this really entertaining SlideShare on content marketing if you’re in any way involved in content creation, I think you’ll find it’s well worth a few moments of your time – there are some great pointers inside.

This got me to thinking what great content marketing grabs my attention – and the latest for me has been “Old Spice Australia and New Zealand” with the strap line “In Australia, the men are manly, now they can smell like me”. It’s a great ‘take’ on an already extremely successful advertising campaign for Old Spice, which has spawned a number of ‘spoofs’ including an excellent Muppet version ‘Now you can smell like a monster‘.

Great content tends to get picked up, reworked, ‘spoofed’, and ultimately amplifies the original content. You could argue that the above are commercials – a particular category of content. The Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign, Fridge Raiders ‘Meat Hat’ and O2’s Gurus, are some other great content examples that aren’t traditional commercials, but build their brands – I’ve written more about those in my blog on getting the best out of YouTube.

What great content brands have caught your eye lately – and how have they informed your work?

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