5 Signs You’re Getting It Wrong with Your Content
The accessibility of Instagram ads exposed me to a world of ‘social content disasters’. When it comes to content, I’ve just about seen it all – the good, the bad and downright awful! I don’t know what irks me more: the lack of cohesiveness when you scan through a brand’s feed or the inability to see what story is being told. Surely, these two issues are closely linked because without a cohesive plot or story line, the viewers will be lost in translation and as you can guess, that’s exactly what I’ve been lately – LOST!
In today’s world, it is impossible to create content for your brand without employing the key principles of storytelling. You need to tell a good enough story in order to pull your audience in. Sadly, not every brand has figured this out, so I’ve taken it upon myself to point out 5 red flags marketers need to look out for when crafting a brand’s story:
1. No Central Theme
What’s a story without a theme? Think of some of the greatest movies in history. What was the theme of your favourite movie? Was it about love, bravery, discovery, or equality? Just the way every movie has a theme, your brand story should have a theme as well. The easiest way to identify your central theme is by thinking about what your brand is known for. In a previous article about the marriage of brands and storytelling, we talk about Nike and how consistently they’ve played around the theme of bravery. The ‘Just Do It’ message is consistently communicated with each new campaign. Their central theme affects not just what they say in commercials and on social media but the people they choose as ambassadors. Your central theme will give you a sense of what you want your audience to take away as they interact with your content. How do you want them to feel? Does that emotion tie into your central theme? If the answer is no, take a step back and re-create your main theme.
2. Wrong Character
Ever watched a movie and thought the casting directors needed to be fired? I know I have! And no, I’m not throwing shade at any one. After all, it’s human to make mistakes right? Like casting directors, brand marketers sometimes get it wrong when selecting the right character. Who would your brand be if it were a person? Does he or she work well for the story you’re trying to tell? It’s not always about what looks good or what sells. Try casting Liam Neeson in a comedy about finding missing tights… I know, how ridiculous! You have to identify your brand voice and make sure it’s consistent across all your channels. Again, it would be ridiculous if a character’s voice keeps changing – from the first movie to the sequel… and then the third part. It would only make sense if that’s part of the theme or story. If you notice, when a character in your favourite series is replaced, the casting directors do their best to find an actor that looks almost identical to the old character. Consistency is crucial – make sure you find your voice and stay consistent as you tell your story.
3. Twisted/Lost Plot
It’s sad to see that some marketers have a ‘whatever works’ approach when crafting their stories. Your plot cannot get lost in the middle. Once you have your central theme, work around it. Create sub themes that will help develop your story. If your story is about finding happiness for example, you might want to talk about challenges or obstacles to finding happiness. In this case, your brand is the protagonist, the one that constantly inspires others (the audience) to find happiness. If you have ambassadors, they could either be a physical embodiment of your brand or one of the many people that your brand enables to find happiness. It all depends on what your product or service is and how you choose to tell the story. No story is wrong; it’s all about how you tell it.
4. Extremely Slow Development
Is it taking you long to hit home with your message? Are you running out of sub themes and topics? You might need to go back to your central theme to see why. It’s never too late to start over, but once you do, make sure you remain consistent. Try doing a brand survey or hosting a small focus group to find out if your audience truly knows what your brand is about or what message you are trying to communicate. The results will help you figure out whether or not you need to revise your story.
5. Downright Boring
Poor reviews, low viewership and ratings…. even stories produced by Hollywood greats have experienced all of this. Sometimes, the story you’re telling might not connect to the audience you’re trying to reach. You need to figure out if you’re talking to the right audience. Some people believe there’s a market for every movie. The amazing thing about being a marketer is having access to different audiences from the click of a button. Try retargeting your content, go through your analytics to determine where your likes and views are coming from. If all else fails, accept that your story didn’t make the cut and it’s time to start from scratch.
Talk to the experts here. Not only will we help you kick start your storytelling journey, we’ll also guide you through the entire process. That’s just what we do!