The Missing Art of Storytelling…

By February 12, 2008Uncategorized
A creative director, Rich Coppola, and I were talking the other day about the ascendence of using video on the Web. He knew the challenges of the medium firsthand — the biggest being creating a smooth combination of technology and an honest feeling human experience. He has the creds to speak to the subject well (, amongst others).

Eventually, the conversation turned to the need for more authenticity, humanity, and emotion in pharmaceutical advertising. He was in tune with this, but with a twist.

The Art of Storytelling, he told me. Honest emotion. Someone sharing their experience. Many non-pharma brands are starting to tap into this, from Aleve to Kleenex to Hellman’s Mayonaise. Brand managers are beginning to realize that the 20/80 rule does apply in pharma — your hardcore loyalists, the 20% or so of your population who are really wedded to your brnad,  are perhaps your most vocal, and therefore valuable, asset.

But while they may be true believers in your brand, they have surely come to define that loyalty in very personal terms. In other words, you no longer define the brand for them.  They define it for themselves.

How do you use this? How do let it not use you? As always, it is all about recruiting and filters.

Rich had encountered filters even n the non-pharma world, but it all worked out well. He cited a recent site we did for Best Foods.  The site was about mayonaise, a product as old as time, but reinvented by including contributions from people sharing this warm spot in their lives. Simple customer-submitted videos put youtube squarely in the space of condiments. He also pointed me at another client site, this one for The Goodlife Recipe pet foods, as an example of ways to use owners’ pride in their pets to tell their story.

More seriously, these and other sites are spotting up. People are telling stories, sharing pieces of their lives. Anyone can see how this would translate to pharma/biotech –which is so in need of emotional honesty. I mean, this industry saves lives and alleviates terrible suffering — it should get the credit! The storytelling approach is the natural avenue to let your best customers say their part.

What stories would your patients tell? I bet they’re telling others.

Rich wants to tell the story of that patient.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • James Rley says:

    This is a good point. Brands need to build awareness, and what a better way than to increase their engagement with the brand, and do it in such a way that encourages the passalong effect…the word of mouth from shared stories…

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