“Storytelling.” It’s one those in-vogue marketing buzzwords that’s sometimes held in contempt by non-marketing folk.

As one tough sales guy at a manufacturing firm said, when I mentioned the word, “Our customers don’t care about that crap.”

Storytelling, or as we like to say, “messaging,” is important, however. The messages you communicate intentionally – or unintentionally – about your company are what compel people to contact you, or not

A product’s messages are conveyed through many elements, which are often referred to as branding: product design, colors, images, and most important, the story that’s told about the product through advertising and the branding elements.

It all matters – even if you think your customers are immune to “that stuff” because you are. (Hint: they’re not and you’re not. We’re all consumers.)

Even high-schoolers ‘get it’

Many years ago, I was asked by a local high school teacher to give a presentation about advertising to her class.

To make the subject interesting to fidgety and easily bored teens, I focused on soft drink branding and brought in all the sugary drinks I could find at the supermarket.

I wanted to get across the idea that all products have a message – and that we absorb these messages even if we think we’re immune to advertising.

To engage the students, I had them tell me the message of each soft drink and the targeted audience.

I assumed the kids would know immediately what each soft drink “stood for.”

I was right. All I had to do was hold up a bottle or can, and the students were jumping out of their seats to explain each product’s message and the target audience. Even I learned something!

It was a fun presentation – and the teacher thanked me after. She said it was wonderful to see the students so engaged.

Bottom line

How you, as a manufacturer, tell your company’s story – through your website’s copy, images, colors, and design – is what helps buyers make the decision to initially contact you and ultimately do business with you.

Filed under: Our Thinking