Lessons from a Two-Year-Old: Tell Stories

Our two-year-old loves stories. 

She loves it when we read her books, loves to “read” books to us, to herself, to her dolls, to her brother and sister, and, pretty much anyone who will listen.

She isn’t unique.  Kids loves stories.  In fact, we all do. They entertain.  They make us laugh and cry.  They relate to us in ways we understand.  Stories are timeless – they are how we get our news, and how cultures and religions share history, traditions and morals through the generations.

We all have our favorite stories we like to tell or hear. That favorite book from childhood  that we bought for our own kids too, the movie we watch over and over, or even telling our friends how a remarkable new product changed our lives.

At ADG, we tell stories.   

Every message we communicate for our clients has a story behind it.  It may not be cute, hilarious, or tug at the heart, but there is a story. A story that helps people understand the brand, remember the message, and take action.

I don’t mean we craft a narrative that begins with “once upon a time,” features a villain and heroin, and ends happily ever after.  In fact, you don’t even have to convey a narrative yourself. You just have to spark a narrative in someone’s mind.

Some of the most effective stories are the ones people envision in their own mind.  They are personalized. This is why the book is always better than the movie, which is really just someone else’s version of the same story.

As an example, when marketing a product, you want the potential buyer to envision their life with your product and then without – and realize your product will make their life better. To do this, you spark a story in their mind with a few words that paint the picture, such as Apple saying their Mac’s “just work.”

Let’s look at some examples from Bose, a master of marketing (from How to Weave a Story Around Your Startup):

  • Music can take you places. Why not leave the noise behind? [hint of superior experience]
  • You are not a kid anymore. It’s time for quality [aspirational]
  • The joy of sound [feeling]
  • Sound that will move you and your things [imagination]
  • For a happy new year, trade up to Bose performance [aspirational]
  • Your music never sounded so good [hint of superior experience compared to others].

Did you find yourself envisioning yourself in a state of traveling bliss with noise-cancelling headphones or listening to music on your couch, feeling like you are at the concert?  Bose is a great example of a brand that tells a story… but you’re the one that actually develops the narrative.

How do you tell your story?  Start with the story you already created in your mind.  Are you selling a product?  If so, you are already passionate about it.  Why? How do you envision lives improving because of your product?

Are you selling an idea? How will that idea improve the learner’s world?  Will it make work easier, enhance job security, lower taxes, or improve the economy?

Are you training or trying to change behavior?  How will the world be a better place if the learner changes their behavior?

Your story is there – just peel back the “what” and “how” and look at the why.

This is from a series I wrote on ADG Creative’s Brain Juice on lessons learned from our 2-year-old. 

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