Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Have You Heard?

The role of storytelling in marketing is well known. In his book Sources of Power, Gary Klein has a whole chapter devoted to them in which he reminds us that stories are retold because they contain well-packaged wisdom. But, as Hollywood pitches prove, stories can be encapsulated in single sentences.

Thus, while browsing Guy Kawasaki's new venture Truemors, I was struck by how shamefully engaged I was in their top "story" which told how Mike Myers was kicked out of a yoga class for farting. I could not resist clicking on the headline and even before I had, I was already visualising the whole event and imagining how it played out. Since it was the most popular story, I clearly wasn't alone in filling in the gaps.

I shouldn't be surprised. From my time in the entertainment industries, I am a big fan of the tagline and its repeatability. What if you invented a tagline or series of taglines about your product/service? What if you just asked "have you heard about...."? Human inquisitiveness and sociability being what they are, you're very likely to get substantial positive traction if you stay truthful and timely in your claim. What is a marketing campaign, after all, but a series of claims/rumours designed to spread as far as possible for as little expense as feasible?

Postscript: Remember it's not a totally controllable environment. You might fall victim to something like the strange juxtaposition in yesterday's list of most popular stories. At number 1 was the Mike Myer's flatulence fiasco and directly below that, at number 2, was something entitled "Guy Kawasaki lets it rip again." You couldn't make it up. Or could you?

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