Joseph Campbell laid down the tracks for understanding the universal story, the story that every culture understands. At the core, marketing is telling a good sales story that goes like this:
A character . . .
who encounters trouble;
A guide steps in . . .
and gives them a tool (a map, a lightsaber).
The character is empowered by that tool.
The character overcomes the trouble,
and improves their community because of it.
Three key points:
The customer is the hero of the story, not the brand.
Most companies think they are the hero of the story. But they’re not. A core belief at Mycelium is that businesses make money by serving the needs of customers. That may sound elementary. But it’s not. Business is a radical act of empathy and the ability to execute on what you learn.
You’re in the business of solving customer’s problems.
What do your customers need? To get a deep understanding of their needs, create a customer persona (You may know about this, but when’s the last time you’ve actually created one?). The business term marketing myopia speaks to understanding customer’s need, instead of producing your product. Kodak missed the boat on digital cameras because it was focused on selling their film cameras without understanding what their customers wanted. The tool was wrong because they didn’t understand the problem.
Your company is the guide on the customer’s hero’s journey.
In this podcast, consultant Donald Miller uses political examples to illustrate hero’s journey marketing. John McCain and John Kerry were military heroes. “I’m with Her” put Hillary Clinton as the campaign’s hero. But we don’t vote for heroes. We vote for movements that make us the hero. Bill Clinton (“I feel your pain”), Barack Obama (“Yes We Can”), Donald Trump (“Make America Great Again”) put the voters at the center of the story and positioned themselves as guides. Do you remember John Kerry’s, John McCain’s, or Mitt Romney’s slogan? Exactly. You weren’t put in the center of the story.
The same applies for business. I’m sure you know Nike’s slogan by heart. In three words, it demonstrates the awesome power of story marketing. Who’s the hero and who’s the guide? Go to any good real estate agent’s website. Who’s the hero and who’s the guide? Do car commercials show how cars are built or people living their dreams because of their new car?
Your customer is the hero of their purchasing story. They are Luke Skywalker or Neo. Be Yoda or Morpheus.
If they are the center of the story and you solve their problem (a problem that they perhaps didn’t realize?), you win.
We are hosting another free small-business session next Monday Feb 4, 6-8pm. This time we'll be working through an activity based off of the first project of our curriculum. It will be applicable and valuable to any stage business. This happens to also be the required assignment should you be interested in applying to join our cohort now or in the future.