Friday, June 1, 2018

Are Prequels Necessary for #BrandStorytelling?

There is something unique to television called binge watching. Despite the amount of time to binge watch (which can be ten hours or more, depending on the series you binge watch), there is an important take-away from the attraction of binge watching for all marketers: FANS LIKE STORYTELLING.

According to the BBC, "Collins English Dictionary chose binge watch as its 2015 Word of the Year. Meaning to watch a large number of television programs (especially all the shows from one series) in succession, it reflects a marked change in viewing habits, due to subscription services like Netflix.”

According to Wikipedia, “Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment…Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters, and narrative point of view.”

And, according to Harvey Deutschendorf (Twitter: @Theeiguy) in Fast Company, “To be effective, the audience must be able to relate to the story. Talking about an experience on a yacht would not be a good way for the CEO of an organization to connect with front line workers. This would likely have the opposite effect and distance the audience from him or her. Telling a heart-felt story about going fishing with a family member or a grandchild would be much more effective as this would be something many in the audience could identify with.”

TWEET THIS: To be effective, the audience must be able to relate to the story. ~@Theeiguy #brandstorytelling #brandtip

So, how do you tell your brand’s story? Consider the cultural phenomenon of Star Wars. George Lucas began the movie franchise with episodes four, five, and six. He then told the stories of episodes one, two, and three – which are an example of a “prequel,” a story, or in this case, movies, containing events that came before those of an existing work.

Consider the Walt Disney Company. Everyone knows how the company started, and to quote Walt, "It all started with a mouse." But what if there were more to the story?

Consider the television series Homeland on Showtime, which just concluded its seventh season. While there are rumors that the eighth season may be the show’s final season, I recently discovered two books that serve as prequels to the show. While the series has changed dramatically from the first three seasons, these two works of fiction offer some undisclosed background for the initial season.

TWEET THIS: When telling your brand’s story, did you start at the beginning or somewhere else in your brand’s lifecycle? ~@DebbieLaskeyMBA #brandstorytelling #brandtip

In what order have you told your brand’s story? Did you start at the beginning and strategically provide all the essential plot points and characters so that fans and customers can follow along? Or did you start somewhere in the middle of your brand’s lifecycle based on product or service successes or leadership successes? Either way, have you been completely clear so that your stakeholders can follow along every step of the story?

After I read the two Homeland books, I began to wonder about the value of prequels for all brands. Would a prequel be valuable for your brand? What if you created a prequel in the form of an e-book? Whatever you decide, storytelling may be a way for your brand to stand apart from the competition.

Click to read: “Three Branding Lessons from Binge Watching”

Click to read: “The Simple Science to Good Storytelling”

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey's library.

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