David BanksComment

Make Your Brand Story Worth Working For

David BanksComment
Make Your Brand Story Worth Working For

“Lord! When you sell a man a book you don’t sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, in a real book I mean.”

-       Christopher Morley


 As digital marketer we spend a lot of time trying to make things as easy as possible for our users.  The idea of the effort of a digital action – buy, download, watch - being the reason why a person does not engage with us wakes us all up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat mumbling, “Sorry, I’m so sorry. You may have added that item to your cart if it would have just opened up in a lightbox and not taken you to a new page!"

What often happens is we spend all our efforts on how to make something easy to do, but forgo the whole part about convincing them that this is something valuable to do.

This is a good thing when we have the luxury of breaking our marketing efforts into equal parts UX (user experience) and CX (content experience). This results in an engagement that is simple, intuitive and rewarding. However, most of us do not have the time and resources to do both. What often happens is we spend all our efforts on how to make something easy to do, but forgo the whole part about convincing them that this is something valuable to do.

This is because we think we have to slowly inch someone closer and closer to the carrot, and then whack! the net swoops them up. But if you believe in your product and believe in the messaging that surrounds your product, there's no reason for a net. Just convince them you got the best carrots and yeah maybe you have to walk a little further to get them, but guess what when you take a bite, my oh my will you never look at root veggies quite the same way again.

Our audience’s minds – similar to ours – are always working, and if they are not , it’s our faults, the marketers, not theirs. If we don’t believe our users’ minds are working than we are trying to get them to take a mindless action, and while that may help us achieve a micro goal – web visits or something – it will result in a growing population of zombie users on our site. Signing up for a webinar and not attending, hitting a form fill and abandoning, or picking up your phone call and saying, “Wait, what does your company do again?”


Tactics work well enough to get attention, but not well enough to hold it.

They are perceived but not apperceived. This means that an impact was made but the instance didn't last long enough for a person to associate it with past experiences and anchor it to their personal life. This allows our interaction to float away never to be thought of again.

With each interaction a user has, we can't focus on the movement: find us on social, click to our landing page, take a quiz, give us your information, download and buy. When we get too caught up in the weeds of the funnel, all we see is the funnel, and people become metrics.


Metrics don’t respond to stories, and stories are all our brands have to take root.

We need to instead focus on the engagement experience that a user is having at each state of the funnel. If this experience is not enjoyable or rewarding at each stage, they are not going to take that next step no matter how easy it is.

This brings us back to the Morley quote at the top of this thing. Ease is not the answer. Willingness to work for it is. We don’t want to strategically place slides around the digital playground so that if users take one wrong step they slip into our trap. No, instead we should be proud of our monkey bars and engage a user so much that they see that grabbing hold of the bar and swinging to the next is in their best interest and they’ll have a good time while doing it.

That’s because they haven’t been brought into your story. They’ve gotten to the end of the book, but your were the one turning the pages not them.

Think of it this way. It takes a lot of conviction to buy most of the things we’re selling. Don’t think just because you’ve gotten your thing right in front of someone, that they are going to buy. Actually, web metrics and conversion rates show exactly the opposite. Most people who get right in front of your product will not buy. That's because they haven’t been brought into your story. They’ve gotten to the end of the book, but your were the one turning the pages not them.

Create a story that your audience wants to be part of and see to the end.