Most marketers speak in tongues. What does that mean? They shovel benefits by the pound. The reason the word “narrative” is so commonly used in ad and digital circles today is because a narrative, by its nature, puts the shovel down. A narrative is a story with beginning, middle and end. If a good story it will have a message, a moral and funnel the reader toward a conclusion.
Over this past week, I heard myself talking about teachable moments. Or learnable moments. A learnable moment is when the light goes off in the listener’s brain. When the listener hasn’t been wallpapered with benefit statements, and comes to their own conclusion. Learnable moments stick with consumers, it sticks. If the marketer is the teacher, they get the credit. Trust ensues. As does a smidgen of loyalty.
As a kid in the business I wrote an article for Adweek (never submitted) that suggested print ads are only read if they show something you have never seen, tell something you didn’t know, or shared something truly beautiful. Narratives that accomplish these objectives can be powerful selling tools. A narrative that doesn’t pass this litmus not so much — but it still has a better chance as a brand building device than does a shovel filled with benefits. Peace.