How to Maximize Your Story’s Impact by Celebrating Your Customer Objections
March 26, 2018
March 26, 2018
It’s one of the easiest things to fix, yet most marketers are either not aware or don’t know how to do it right.
When you think of the classic 3-act story structure, we typically talk about Setting, Conflict, and Resolution. This is a core DNA of any good story.
Setting covers your hero=customer’s life before she came across that nagging problem your product/service solves.
Conflict describes that problem or challenge that prevents your customer from getting what she wants.
And Resolution is where you – the mentor=guide comes along with your product/service and saves the day.
Naturally, this is the classic narrative sequence. Advanced business narratives test diverse story sequences and outcomes (i.e., positive, neutral and even negative).
In our workshops and my online interactions, I find that most marketers are not aware of this classic narrative structure, and worse they tend to briefly touch on the conflict and 95% of their message is dedicated to the Resolution part – singing the praise of their widget.
And you know how does that feel? No one is interested in self-aggrandizing messages.
Simple. Because what really happens here, is that you, the brand is, in essence, taking away the role of the hero from your customer. If you are the hero what role do you leave for your customer? The adoring fan?
Guess what? Your customer at the top of the funnel is just getting to know you. She’s not ready yet to play the adoring fan, just yet. So, good chances she’ll intuitively classify your message as advertising noise and ignore it.
You see, the role of the Evangelist comes much later – at the bottom of the funnel – after you won your prospect’s business, she loved your service experience and can’t wait to tell the whole world about it.
That’s why it’s super critical that when you develop your story the hero’s role is always reserved for your customer. And you – the brand – play the mentor or guide, helping your hero gets what she wants at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Another visual metaphor I use to underscore the importance of narrative roles is to think about stories as “mirrors.”
They work best when they can authentically reflect your customer’s authentic world and key problem.
The moment your customer can see herself in your story, your story stops being YOUR STORY and becomes YOUR CUSTOMER’S STORY:
“Hey, that’s my pain you’re talking about here! “
A great “narrative mirror” will serve as a fertile ground for generating audience empathy and trust.
Now that you have the basic foundations of a great story, let’s go back to the importance of creating a good Setting. The first part of your story.
In this part, you describe your customer life before coming across the core problem your product/service aims to solve.
So, you want to be super descriptive and address details such as time, location, moods, and emotional state. The more details you can provide the crispier, believable, and relatable your story will mirror your audience real world.
To maximize your story’s impact, you want to ensure that your hero’s starting point is as far remote from where she lands at, at the Resolution.
That’s why after you authentically describe a detail-rich world of your customer, the core conflict she encounters, you want to delay the transition to the Resolution with real-life customer objections.
Customer objections could range from budget, timing, trust, competition, decision avoidance, internal politics, etc.
When you place your customer objections in your narrative, it allows your audience to a) find an answer to a similar doubt they carry – so it’s a seamless pre-empting exercise b) builds up authenticity and humanizes your message as the transition from non-believer to a believer is not trivial. And c) a great makeover story offers empathy hooks to transform your story from an easy-to-ignore ad to a relatable human story.
In conclusion, make sure that the narrative seams that connect your customer’s problem to your product resolution reflect your customer decision process and doubts. This sliver of imperfection and vulnerability will boost your story’s authenticity and trust.
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Source: Visual Storytelling