Chapter 2: Stories to Entertain

It's National Storytelling Week, to celebrate we're waxing lyrical about the way excellent, creative and thoughtful storytelling can take your marketing from an 8 to a 10. In Chapter 2, we look in more detail at stories to Entertain.

Chapter 2 ~ Entertaining your audience

How do we, as marketers, reach those who have not heard of our brand, product or service yet? The answer is simple: we entertain them. Pelle Sjoenell, Chief Creative Officer at BBH, writes for Campaign: “By its very nature, entertainment is designed to be spoken about and shared.” Which, of course, is what we want. After all, people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.

‘Entertain’ stories are all about the narrative. They rely heavily on triggering an emotional response from your audience, thus creating a deeper relationship and contributing highly to brand loyalty.

80 years of, slightly sinister, smiles

80 years of, slightly sinister, smiles

One of my favourite recent examples of entertaining content is Krispy Kreme’s 80 years of smiles campaign. To celebrate their 80th birthday, Krispy Kreme launched a viral campaign that involved giving away no less than 80,000 doughnuts. The brand toured around the world, doughnuts in tow, offering boxes of 12 doughnuts to anyone and everyone who fancied them. In return for their box of sweet treats, consumers were asked to upload a photo of themselves and their free doughnuts (smiling, of course) to their social channels alongside the #80yearsofsmiles.

I, for one, did exactly that. Out shopping in Newcastle City centre, I stopped; collected my free box of doughnuts; smiled for my photo, and uploaded it straight to Instagram. I had never previously engaged much with Krispy Kreme in my day-to-day yet, suddenly, here I was: enjoying my doughnuts, a warm feeling towards Krispy Kreme in my belly (or maybe that was the sugar?) and importantly here, telling my friends and networks all about it. 

By offering an incentive (because who wouldn’t want free doughnuts?), Krispy Kreme were able to draw in consumers who mightn’t have ordinarily engaged with their brand. Add to that an opportunity for the consumer to feel as though they are a part of something (via the social channel upload and hashtag); then sprinkle in a good helping of storytelling (Krispy Kreme making people smile for 80 years). And, voila! You have yourself a bloomin’ brilliant marketing campaign.

Social engagements help people remember [Kripsy Kreme] moments and create new ones.
— Kelley O'Brien

So, what can we learn from Krispy Kreme? Kelley O’Brien, director of social media at Krispy Kreme, in a presentation at the American Marketing Association luncheon advises that “social engagements help people remember Krispy Kreme moments and create new ones.” In other words, by focusing on ‘Word of Mouth’ marketing, you can build a legitimate following organically by engaging existing (and potential) fans who love your brand’s story, and who want to share it with others.

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Crystlsd Founder, Laura Rothwell offers advice for arts and culture organisations when it comes to entertaining your audience; "social engagements in the sector are clearly important, not least because they are low cost in cash-strapped times, but because they harness the power of peer-to-peer marketing (formerly known as word of mouth), so try to include in your campaign a way for your audiences to get involved. Sidebar here: think beyond getting your photo taken in front of an exhibition board laden with partner logos and uploading it to Instagram. We can do better than that.

For example, a campaign I worked on with Great North Run, enabled people to get a 3d printed keyring based on the data from their own runtime. Unique to the individual, yet applicable to hundreds of thousands of people, a low-cost incentive to take away from an exhibition and share not only online but IRL too.

Try to think about what makes your organisation, project or exhibition unique, start here and spend some time brainstorming ideas that speak to this narrative. Don't apply cost barriers at this stage, you will only inhibit your thinking. Find the most entertaining idea and then figure out how to make it happen...or failing that, doughnuts."