#1: Tell Stories, not Ads

Once upon a time…

We love stories.

Go on, say it ain’t so.

You can’t, can you?

You’re probably thinking about a story now. It might be The Three Little Pigs, or the creation myth where Nüwa made mankind, or Christopher Nolan’s Inception, or even this YouTube video about Smooth E beauty products.

There lived an old couple in the deepest, darkest forest. Their joy was an axe to chop with, a bucket to gather mushrooms in, and a spindle to weave the finest gowns from.

We love stories because it’s an escape from humdrum living. More importantly, they make sense of our surroundings – like creation myths that explain our origins – and let us  speculate on “what if” and connect with other people.

Stories can make us weep, laugh, moan, and gasp. Just sit through a movie, and observe your fellow movie-goers’ reactions.

And we remember stories best, even if it’s tied to a corporate campaign. Like this advertisement by Taichung Bank about five old men who relive their youth by going a motorcycle road trip.

By day, the woman gathered whatever edible fronds, flowers and mushrooms in the bucket. The man swung his axe in shivering arcs to spilt wood and animal heads. By night, they huddled before a roaring fireplace, hands trembling as they clutched at each other.

The hard part: create a story to fulfil your client’s (or your) needs.

Before starting, understand…

  1. What does your client want?
  2. Who is your audience?
    1. What do they normally do?
    2. What do they strive for?
  3. What does your audience say about the client or market?

The answers to these questions will beget more questions which needs more answers, and so on. It’s painful, tedious and tiring as heck.

But don’t skip this research.

It identifies what’s important and creates substance for your story. Paraphrasing noted screenwriter, Robert McKee, “the best and most meaningful stories come from understanding your world back to front and sideways.” After which, you can start to create stories (see Don’t Waste my Time for ideas and other things).

But firstly, research and understand, then let creation begin!

One night, there came a sharp knocking on their tiny gnarled door. The old man unfolded himself as with a sigh, and padded to the door. The knocking never ceased. He placed his hand upon the handle and turned…


A day, a tip | 100 days, 100 useful content tips

Tip categories: Create, Source, The Truth, Spread & Be Nice.
Got an idea, opinion or critique?
Please share it with me @skybe077.

Credits: Featured image from Waylou.com

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