A guest post by Tim Riesterer of Corporate Visions.
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games start today. Over the past few weeks, marketing and advertising campaigns related to the games have appeared on billboards, the radio, and—most prominently—on TV.
One stand-out example is this P&G Olympics commercial.
Why is it so memorable and effective? Because it uses one of the most successful marketing techniques: storytelling (specifically, the “hero model”).
The fact is humans live in story. Your story is your worldview, and it affects how you make decisions. When a story employs the hero model, it becomes all the more relatable and powerful.
But what exactly is the hero model?
Renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell devoted his life to documenting myths and hero stories from more than 100 countries. What he learned about the hero model inspired him to write the book The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Campbell called this storytelling model “Mono Myth” (or “One Story”) because he realized that all the hero stories essentially told the same story over and over again.
I’m sure you’re wondering how this applies to you and your marketing initiatives. Well, if you want to successfully market your product, you should use this model to effectively tell your story. The concept is simple, and it includes five basic steps, all which are applied in the P&G commercial.
- The world is normal.
- Something changes.
- The hero pushes back.
- Enter the mentor.
- The hero saves the day.
The P&G commercial starts out by showing each family in a different country and their daily routine, including getting out of bed,eating breakfast, and heading to school. Then, something changes: Each child gets inspired by a sport. Each child trains hard but hits bumps along the way, such as getting an injury or not performing well under pressure. Just when the children begin to doubt themselves, Mom is there. Mom is the mentor that the children need to help them get through the hard practices, the bumps and bruises, and the disappointments. Each mom gives them the strength and the courage to not give up on their dream—to compete in the Olympic Games. In the end, each child has grown up and achieved their Olympic goals.
The hero model works so well because there’s something in our brains that responds favorably to this model, no matter what our culture. As a marketer, you need to be the mentor and turn your customers and prospects into the hero. Your role is to help them see what has changed in their market and how they can adapt to better survive and rise above the competition.
To achieve this storytelling model, make sure your marketing messages look at your customers’ world and address the objectives and pains that your customers might not even realize they have. Then, show them how they can solve those problems with your solution. Your customers and prospects will be empowered to make a change and to choose you, proving that in the end, the mentor and the hero are both winners.
With more than 20 years of marketing and sales experience, Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Corporate Visions, Inc., is a recognized thought-leader, practitioner and author regarding marketing and sales messaging. Tim’s books, Customer Message Management and Conversations that Win The Complex Sale, focus on increasing a marketing department’s impact on selling by providing sales-ready messages and tools that salespeople can use to create a compelling story that wins more deals.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Olympics London)