The DNA of good storytelling in marketing


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One of the best bits of my job is during pre production, when I get to explore the topic a client wants us to help tell their story on and I get to talk to the potential contributors, read existing articles and review industry examples of existing leading work in the field.  I think I like it so much as it allows me to get a feel for the real experience we’re trying communicate and encounter some of the nuances so I can really get our clients DNA into our work and present that in a way which is both creative and appropriate for the audience.  Sometimes it’s a particular individual that I’m introduced to who is really passionate about their work coming across with boat loads of character, sometimes it’s someone new in a company who’s got a unique perspective but great insight that needs coaching out but whoever and whatever brings that DNA, I love to find ways of bringing it through into the end product.

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I always remember one of our interviewees, they’d been interviewed by another producer before but most of their contribution hit the cutting room floor and from watching what remained it was clear it was a bad interview.  Awkward, poorly communicated and not sounding like themself.  When I first met the expert for myself they were passionate, animated and keen to share their expertise with me, and I could see that they were a pillar of the successful results so far; they embodied the brand.  All they needed was someone to take time to make them comfortable, to ask them questions that brought out their contribution and their personality, not the pre-set narrative.  It worked and the results backed that up.

The dna of good storytelling in marketing…

Brands pay huge amounts of money for their commercial advertising to ensure that their marketing efforts are ‘on brand’ or ‘on trend’ and produce many paged documents to ensure that people get the correct logo placement and look of their models.  Really successful brand campaigns not only line up with the established brand but reveal new insights, promote character and evolve your understanding of the people and product offering.  It’s that little bit of magic beyond the guidelines that creates the substance and lifeblood that connects with people at a human level.

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Much like a story, marketing has a dynamic narrative taking a journey the audience joins the promoter on.  And much like a journey, the audience stays with us and engaged with us if we enjoy familiar conversation about the experience as we move forward.  Maybe it takes a pause for a sit down to enjoy the view, often a journey can tread familiar routes that have been walked before, but it moves and with each step it’s a new experience.  Sooner or later if you stay sitting on a bench  for too long your partners, eager for progress, continue on.  In this little analogy it’s not the conversation that’s the magic, but rather the smiles as the conversation progresses, the reactions to encountering something amazing or unexpected, laughs and occasionally shared tears.

Almost all of the campaigns I remember, most of the significant conversations I remember, come from being informed, entertained, challenged, wow’d or comforted, but the person doing the telling has been careful to truthfully and personally represent what they stand for, not simply in the big headline but in the nuance and subtext.  And it’s a passion to bring those elements into my work that drives my enjoyment for this part of a project.  How can you not be excited searching to bring out fun, entertainment and passion?

– Christian

At Spiked Media we love producing video and digital media content for a wide range of clients and consumers.  If we can help you to shape your message and create content with impact, please drop our team a line on 020 3137 3100 or  We’d love to work with you!

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