Stories are incredibly powerful. It is legendary. People fall in love based on the stories they tell themselves about each other. People go to war and start countries over stories. Furthermore, when stories are used to design a category and a brand, it creates massive enduring value.
In this episode of Lochhead on Marketing, we talk to the guru of the business of story himself, Park Howell, to educate us on how to construct legendary marketing stories and how story marketing and category design actually come together. Park also shares his fantastic thoughts on nursery rhymes and the Gettysburg address.
What Marketers Get Wrong About Storytelling
Most marketers are not award-winning screenwriters, they’re not great at long-form content like in Hollywood and Pixar. Park discusses how marketing comes down to just three words, one framework that is built on: and, but, and therefore (ABT). This perfect three-act structure is a complete customer framework that will allow the connection to the customer on an empathetic level and help develop the contrast in their problems.
“I’ve learned that this framework hooks the subconscious of your audience, which is always looking for this fight or flight. It’s a problem-solution dynamic that you are playing to the natural way your audience’s brain creates meaning. Now what a lot of people do is they start with the problem in the ‘and’ statement. Start with the aspiration, what is it that your customer wants and then insert the problem in your ‘but’ statement. Therefore, here’s my solution on how to help you get that. And the trick here is to have as much contrast between that aspiration and that problem as possible. A short, succinct, and specific contrast. If you do that, your audience will give you all the time you need in your therefore solution.” – Park Howell
How to End Up with A Captivating Story
Park encourages everyone to start in the middle through the ‘but’ statement and then proceed to answer the singular problem that needs to be solved. Once the singular problem is determined and boiled down, then jump to the ‘and’ statement, the specific audience, and lastly the ‘therefore statement’. Following the ABT framework can lead to amazing and captivating brand and founder stories.
He discusses that when somebody articulates the customer’s problem powerfully and effectively, the human brain makes the assumption that the person by definition must have the solution.
“A good story can kill a bad product quicker than anything. If you’ve got a great founder story, well told that has nothing to do with the product or offering, you create a disconnect there. There are a ton of those stories out there that have gone untold, and they are like gold sitting below your feet. You just have to unearth them and tell them well, but it has to tie to your why it is you do and what you do in your business. Huge believer in that.” – Park Howell
How Story Marketing and Category Design Unite
Christopher and Park discuss how to create legendary stories in context to the use of category design. Park comments one can do this by getting the ABT super focused so nobody can share the same ABT. Along with a little shadow on the category design, this little algorithm tool can help separate and differentiate from the competitors.
Park also discusses how the Gettysburg address and nursery rhymes all used ABT in their brilliant storytelling.
“If you go to the Gettysburg address, you’ll see the Gettysburg address is a perfect and, but, therefore. Lincoln steps on stage and addresses the GRA crowd. Exactly two minutes, 272 words. Yet it’s one of the most iconic, legendary leader addresses of all time. If you look at it, it’s set up in a perfect and, but, and therefore for him to give. He was just a brilliant storyteller. He knew the power of contradiction and consequence, and that’s what he was delivering that day. If you look at any nursery rhymer, most 90% of all nursery rhymes are an ABT.” – Park Howell
To know more about Park Howell and how to construct legendary marketing stories, download and listen to this episode.
Park Howell is a 30+ year veteran of the advertising industry who has guided hundreds of purpose-driven brands and thousands of people who support them to substantial growth.
But everything changed in 2006. That’s when he realized the advertising paradigm was being disrupted by the internet. Brands used to own the influence of mass media, but the masses had become the media creating a cacophony of communication.
Park learned that an anecdote is the antidote to help you stand out.
He now consults, teaches, coaches, and speaks internationally helping leaders and communicators rise above the noise of the Attention Economy and be heard using the power of the brand and business storytelling.
Many so-called storytelling experts tell you why story is important in business. Park actually shows you how to storytell.
Audiences are bewitched by his interactive keynotes, panel discussions and workshops.
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Lochhead on Marketing™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and subscribe on iTunes! You may also subscribe to his newsletter, The Difference, for some amazing content.
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