Intro To PR: Storytelling Pays in Marketing | Nick Armstrong | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Intro To PR: Storytelling Pays in Marketing

teacher avatar Nick Armstrong, I make marketing FUN.

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro to PR: Storytelling Pays in Marketing - Welcome!


    • 2.

      Marketing vs PR vs Branding


    • 3.

      What Makes For Good Stories


    • 4.

      Earned Attention vs Stolen Attention


    • 5.

      Actions Speak Louder Than Content


    • 6.

      Why User-Based Content Wins Over Influencer Marketing


    • 7.

      Growing Solid Story-based Content


    • 8.

      Branded Content - Not Always Under Your Control


    • 9.

      Wrap-Up and Final Project


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

  • Do you struggle to create a brand that people pay attention to and care about?
  • Do you find yourself staring at a blank page with no idea how to create cool content?
  • Do you wanna avoid rinse-and-repeating the same old marketing tactics and build events, content, and promotions that can't be ignored?

This course will teach you how to find, identify, and own your brand's story, how to create and leverage content, events, and promotions that enhance the brand story, and how to avoid bad storytelling that damages your brand.

Each lesson is backed up by case studies from real-world companies. By the end of the course, students will be able to begin crafting a brand story and 5 content ideas that will begin to elevate that brand story.

This class is for marketers or students of marketing - the skills are equally applicable whether you’re a freelancer, small business owner, or marketing manager at a mid-size company.

Check out my FIRST Skillshare class on Negotiation and Conflict Management here:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nick Armstrong

I make marketing FUN.


I'm Nick Armstrong and I make small business FUN.

I'm the Geek-in-Chief behind WTF Marketing, Fort Collins Startup Week, and Fort Collins Comic Con. I'm a dad, author, speaker at Ignite, PechaKucha, and TEDx, audio drama enthusiast, and award-winning serial entrepreneur.

More than anything, I love to make people laugh, especially while I'm teaching.

I want YOU to learn how to have fun in every aspect of your business and my classes are built specifically around fun, actionable projects.

Ready to make your business fun? Check out my courses below...

See full profile

Level: Intermediate

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro to PR: Storytelling Pays in Marketing - Welcome!: Pop quiz. I'm going to tell you two words, and I want you to think about the very first thing that comes to mind when I say these two words, you're ready? Coca-Cola. Now chances are, you just thought about, red or you thought about fancy typography or even weirder, probably polar bears. You might have even thought about going out to dinner or eating a specific type of food, or hanging out with specific people, or going to the movies. All of these answers, thanks to marketing and branding and PR, are absolutely right. Because in your mind, that's what the brand of Coca-Cola is. We don't get to control the brand as marketers, but we can create elements of story in the content that we create, and that's what this course is all about. My name is Nick Armstrong, I'm with WTF Marketing. I'm actually the geek in chief of WTF Marketing, and if that doesn't tell you a story, I don't know what will. We're going to learn about how to create good content that is story-driven. We're going to learn about what good story and bad story look like. We're going to learn about why earned attention is so much more powerful than bought attention or stolen attention. We're going to learn about why natural advocates for your brand are so much more beneficial than paid influencers. We're also going to learn about how to leverage story across simple content that you can create and start crafting right now, and by the end of this course, you're going to learn how to create a campaign that creates story, gets people to care about your brand and gets people to engage and leverage that story to advocate for you. At the end of each lesson, we're going to recap what we've heard and we're also going to cover a case study that talks about an example in the real world of what we just talked about. Plus, you'll have an actionable step that you can complete right then and there to increase the amount of story that's in your content and in your brand that will get your audience talking about what you are doing and why. Let's get started. 2. Marketing vs PR vs Branding: Before we get too far down a rabbit hole, I want to start discussing what the difference is between Public Relations, Marketing and Branding. The best way to segment these out that I know of is to think about the audience that they are intended for. PR is very much aimed at an external partner of some sort. Could be the industry, it could be the media, it could be a tangential partner, somebody that you need their attention. You need them to believe a certain thing about your company or your business. You really need their help to succeed and other areas. Marketing is very much aimed at the market, the customer or a potential customer lead somebody who's going to buy something from you. Marketing activities include social media, email campaigns, promotions, those types of things. Marketing is very much aimed at the people who are going to buy things from you, as well as PR is aimed at people whose attention you need or belief you need in a certain aspect of your business. Branding is very much the types of things that you associate with your business, but not necessarily control once it's out in the wild. As we've seen with Coca-Cola; polar bears, red fancy typography, certain bottle shape and style, association with the movies that's branding but brand is not controlled by you. It's very much created in the minds of the customer and the consumer when they buy your product or by your service. PR has an element of storytelling to it. Marketing has an element of storytelling to it and I would also include, by the way, under marketing, your contracts and how you approach a customer service relationship. If you work well with your customers, your clients, as they come through your doors, what you say to them, how you say it, what they're greeted with, those types of things, what the company uniforms are, all of those things could be included in marketing as well. Every aspect of your business theoretically could be included in Marketing. PR is about garnering a reputation, or creating a reputation or creating a relationship with others, not necessarily a sales relationship. Branding is about creating and crafting an image that you hope to espouse. You hope creates a certain story or set of keywords, or set of memories or set of emotions in the customer. Branding uses Marketing and PR to get across to different audiences. If we're thinking about separating these things out which we should, because sometimes they're used interchangeably and it can get confusing PR for an external audience that you don't necessarily need to sell to. Marketing for the market, for customers. Branding, telling a story that is specific enough to go out to the customer through Marketing and PR. In the next video, we're going to be talking about what makes for a good story. Knowing your audience, the basics of storytelling, and also knowing who your protagonist is, your antagonist, knowing what the drama is, and knowing what the end goal or the resolution of the story is. For the exercise, the one thing you can do right now to clarify all of the things that you're going to be learning moving forward. Segment out the activities that you are currently doing into the PR camp, the Marketing camp, and the Branding camp. This might be a little bit difficult because some things from each of the camps interact with others. So it's more of a Venn diagram. I'll see you in the next video. 3. What Makes For Good Stories: I want to ask you a personal question. You don't have to answer me directly. Not certainly in the comments, but I want you to think about it. Think about three things that you want to change about yourself. Things that you hope that other folks don't think about you. These are negative things, things that you would hide if you had the opportunity to. It could be a body aspect. It could be a personality defect, that you think you have. It could be any number of different things. Now think about, on a more positive note, three things that you wish people would associate with you. Positive attributes or emotions, or notions that they have about you. Now, think really carefully about the types of products that you buy. The types of places that you visit, and the things that you do in your daily life, and the products and brands that you use during your day-to-day routine. The things that you do as a consequence of a lifetime of making decisions have created the story of you. There are certain aspects of that story that maybe you hope to change, maybe that you hope to augment. Maybe that you hope to completely ignore, the brands and products and services that you choose, to bring into your life to augment yourself with. Those, tell a story not just to you, but to the people around you. As business owners, as marketers, as the people in charge of the product. We have to be reticent of the fact that our story is the brand as the business, is so much less important in the minds of the customer than their personal story. A perfect case study for this is Tiffany's. Tiffany's branding is exceptional. The boxes, the ribbons. Now along with that comes a message that you care about love, and love isn't the only thing that Tiffany's is about. But they know that the customer-centric story is love. Not that it's a Tiffany's engagement ring, not that it's a Tiffany's necklace, not that it's a Tiffany's bracelet. What they care about is love, the customers. Knowing that it's a Tiffany's ring, knowing that it's a Tiffany's necklace, knowing that you have that till box in your closet or on your nightstand, that tells a story. It allows you to become part of that story. Now, Tiffany's, in June 2011, their stock price was $72 per share. They switched to a storytelling narrative, that they launched that same month and it was called What Makes Love true. What Makes Love true, encouraged couples to publish their stories on the Tiffany's website. They're encouraged to post their stories of true love. It had very little sales focus. There wasn't hardly any product mentioned during this entire period. By July 2011, the Tiffany's stock price had raised to $83 per share, $72 per share, to $83 per share. It's $11 per share, that's a huge, huge capital increase, all because they asked for stories. They focused on the customer, and they asked for the customer's story. They didn't have an external pushing story. They were asking, they were pulling the stories from the customers. How incredible is that? Your story from the company is not nearly as important as the story that comes from your customers. If you can get them to engage with you, and you can get their personal story, and how you as a brand or as a business, help them amplify attributes about themselves. How loved they are, how love they feel, the love that they feel for one another, in Tiffany's case, or the pleasure of hanging out with one another. Amplifying pleasure of being with your friends, watching the game together, enjoying the coke, having a summer afternoon on the porch and enjoying a coke. Those types of experiences, are stories, and they are so powerful to your brand, $11 per share, powerful. That's what makes for a good story, is that in the customer's mind, their personal story is so much more important than anything else, even the other people around them. Their story is the thing that drives them. It's the thing that guides them subconsciously or otherwise. They are the protagonists of their own story. We're merely as a business or a product or a service. The tool that helps either shield them from something, or get them to the next level that they hope to get to. We are a tool for them to tell their story. Anything less is running off course. It's not the business's story that matters, although it matters just a little bit when they're making a decision between our company and somebody else. Sometimes that competitor story can tell a thing, but it's the resonance. It's the resonance between our story, the thing that we can provide them, the value which is a lot different than the price of the product, and their personal story. The customer's story always trumps everything else. The protagonist, the antagonist, is always relative to the customer and not to the business. That's the most important lessons you can learn in marketing. Right now, I want you to stop and think about what it is that your customers are doing. What stories they're telling themselves, what attributes they want to augment. What things, devices or other derogatory things in their minds, that they want to hide or push down in themselves. Through using your product or service, or augmenting themselves with your brand. What are those things? Write those down right now, and figure that out and see how your brand, your product, your service, even your staff. How those elements can come together to help the customer relative to their story. Write those down right now. In the next lesson, we're going to be talking about what makes for a bad story, and why earned attention is so much more powerful than stolen attention. I hope to see you there. 4. Earned Attention vs Stolen Attention: Bad stories are everywhere. I'm willing to bet that you have at least four jingle stuck in your head right now that you don't want there. That is stolen attention. It's super annoying because, you didn't want that advertisement in your head. It doesn't make you any more likely to buy the product. It doesn't make you any more likely to use the service. There is no reason that marketing should be stuck in your head and yet it persists. Earned attention is much more powerful because you've done something to warrant that attention. It wasn't a cheap trick. It wasn't a joke. It wasn't something slimy, wasn't jumping in front of somebody and yelling. You are attempting to get their attention through your actions. As we're going to learn, actions speak louder than words. In the next lesson, we'll talk about that. It makes for a bad story besides trying to steal attention, attention thievery, well, Upworthy style headlines. You won't believe what happens when, and you style those second-person headlines garnered a 175 Percent more clicks. Now what happened afterwards was people felt used and abused and they didn't go through with buying the product, but it did drive a lot of traffic, which is worthwhile in the sense that, well maybe your Google AdWords will pay out a little bit more this month. Ultimately though, if you're selling a product, especially in information product or a service or other things like that. Upworthy style headlines, not really something you want to espouse because there is a cost to it and the cost is your soul. You don't want to do that. What else makes for a bad story? Well, manipulation, honest intent is key. You must go into marketing with your customers best wishes at heart. If you don't, it's manipulative. If it's only for a padding your bottom line and not with their best interests, that's just wrong. It's bad marketing and it's not going to lead to a positive story for you in the long run. You might not know this because you only see about this much of me. I was once a member of Weight Watchers and each section of Weight Watchers, the different classes that you can go to our top by local teachers. I went to one time a class that had a poster on the wall and the poster said, ''nothing tastes as good as being thin feels''. Now you might think that, Weight Watchers, going in there, trying to lose some weight, sure. Being thin, it was not the goal. In fact, being thin was not the goal for any of my compatriots as far as I could tell, the goal was, healthy. Just that one poster and it stuck with me to this day. I've been there for 10 years. It stuck with me to this day because they are out of sync one time on their brand story. Now we've got this disconnect. It's a dissonance and I think about it every time I think about Weight Watchers. That's a sad thing for a brand to be. It's a sad position. It doesn't take much to get out of sync with your customers. For this lesson's project, I want you to look around your business anywhere, your website, your social media, your receipts. I want you to think about where you are creating, disconnects and dissonance with your customers. I want you to write those things down and come up with a plan to fix it. In the next lesson, we're going to be talking about why actions speak louder than content. 5. Actions Speak Louder Than Content: In marketing and PR, actions speak a lot louder than words. Often times those actions are driven by your employees interacting or creating touch points with the customer. That could also be your website, it could be your social media, it could be any number of different things. Wherever there is a touch point with your customer, your actions, speak so much louder than the words and the pictures and the marketing copy that's sitting on the page. If you are doing a good job telling a cohesive story, your actions are in line with your marketing copy, and your employee's actions especially are in line with your company's beliefs and your company's story. Let's talk about Oreo. There are two distinct events in the last couple of years that Oreo really nailed as far as the story went. It's estimated that they saved anywhere between four to $6 million on advertising alone, just as a result of two social media posts. The first one is during the 2013 Super Bowl. You can still dunk in the dark. This was an Oreo ad that ran as a result of the lights going out in the Super Bowl. That in and of itself wasn't event and people were talking on social media of it. But to tie your product to it in such a way that it was really silly and fun and engaged your target customers who are basically anybody who eats cookies. That's your target customer there in that moment there having fun and by the way, here's a shared joke that we can all giggle about. That was masterful storytelling. It was closely knit with the brand because the brand is about fun, and of course, you're going to have party snacks, which might include Oreos and sweets and other things like that. When you're sitting around watching a big game, that is masterful storytelling is about timing. It's about presence, and it's all about connecting your customers back into the brand story, but not in a cheesy, intrusive way. It's not like Oreo had to push hard to get that to happen. They waited for the right moment when their customers could pull that story back into what was happening in real-time. They waited. It was not customer driven content, but it was very much an invitation to share in the joke. That's also talk about Oreos pride cookie. Who knew a cookie could be so political. A 150,000 impressions is what is estimated on that particular image alone. It got 15,000 likes, it got 20,000 shares. What's really, really interesting is that again, it was a ping to a specific target market, an invitation to play. That target market could engage where it might not, but it wasn't pushy. It wasn't here. You must have our product, you must buy this. It wasn't even asking them to buy anything. It's largely as a result of their type of product and their type of service. But it doesn't necessarily mean that if you're Joe, SHE Mo plumber, or if you have a carpet business that you can't do fun and interesting marketing and storytelling as well. Those things are at your disposal, but you just have to connect to an experience that your customer is already having. When we talk about action speaking louder than words, we know what the actions are. When a customer comes to us to buy our product or service, we know what they're feeling, the stressors that they're having, the type of pressure that they're under, Maybe for Joe SHE Mo Plumber, the mother-in-law is coming to visit, and of course, you don't want to be seen as the husband who doesn't know how to fix the house and maybe they helped you with the down payment or whatever and there's some guilt there. There's some of course, this man isn't going to take good care of my daughter and blah, blah, blah, that stress and that story is so easy to connect to. Of course you want to connect to it and send an invitation to make that connection. But you don't want to ram it down folks throats because it is just not going to go so well for you. Anytime that we have interruption based marketing, it doesn't go well, unless of course you're an ambulance to a hospital, then it's okay. But anything short of that, it tends to go poorly. We'd say actions speak louder than words. How do we connect to that story? How do we connect our story to the customer story in a way that resonates and is effective and not slimy. It starts with, and this is your project for this lesson, by the way, it starts with identifying the actions and emotions that your customer ties to buying your product or service. What are they going through just before they call you? What are they going through just before they walk through your door? What are they experiencing? What's the anxiety? What's the fear? What's the feeling?what are they hopeful for? What's the resolution? What is solved and done look like when those things are really clear in your mind, the story of their purchase becomes really clear to you. The points at which you can make that purchase easier or better or more impactful, also become clear as well. Start with the identification of a problem, the need driver, write down every step in the process, what you do, what the customer is feeling, how they're feeling, why they're feeling it, and what their motivations and drivers are. If you can write all of these things down, you'll have a much clearer picture of what happens inside your customer's head and their heart when they come to you for, in the next lesson, we're going to be talking about drawing solid story-based content for your business. 6. Why User-Based Content Wins Over Influencer Marketing: I have yet another confession for you. I am a huge fan of The Bachelor. It seems really silly, but it started with survivor and then sort of transitioned over to the Bachelor because I'm a sucker for a really good Love Story and Chris Harrison, man, he spends a good one. But what I will tell you is that all of the contestants on The Bachelor and the bachelorette brand themselves at some point or another as a social media influencer, there's a very large trend right now for social media influencers to market product. The thing that makes that so squeezy is that the story and the connection to the brand by these social media influencers is not authentic. It only exists as results of money being paid. Now if these influencers were out there actively using the product beforehand before having been paid for it and now, okay, they're cashing in on the relationship a little bit because they use it. There's less skis there. It's a sponsorship where you have a person endorsing a product of a famous athlete or whatever, endorsing a product that they may or may not use. If they actually use it or not, but hopefully there's a business relationship there. But they're being paid either way to endorse it. That's the thing that adds the grain assault and makes us confused about whether the message is genuine or not. Authenticity, which is a huge buzzword, is just genuineness. You've had a relationship with the product, there's some longevity there and it's coming from a place of honest intent, not just I'm being paid to say this right now. That's the real problem with influencer marketing is that we don't always know if they're genuine. We don't always know if they're authentic or coming from a place of honest intent. If you are a brand and you're paying for social media influencers to influence the general public just because so and so buys a product doesn't mean that your target customers will buy the product or that they'll even have the same experience. In fact, what ends up happening is that instead of blaming the influencer, they blame the brand for the disconnect and the story that they've been told. Now the influencer might not have your best interests at heart. If they're just there to collect a paycheck, that's a really big problem for you. Because the story that they tell that you can't control because it goes out from their brand to your customers, to people who may not be your target market. Not controllable story right there. You might end up with something that is completely dissonant with the brand story that you were hoping to tell. The much better path would be to recruit cheerleaders from inside your customer base that exists already. People that are advocates for your brand. People that can go out and espouse all that goodness, all the stories of your brand having purchased it with honest money, their own money, gone out and done it on their own accord without having been prompted, without having been paid. These are much more genuine stories. These are much more authentic stories. Without the buzzword connotation of authenticity. They are true to form, honest intent stories that we'll be honest. Tell both sides of that story. You might have some bad things about your product. You might have some side effects. You might have some negative aspects of your customer service relationship. Those things are okay. They're kind of the freckles on the face of your product. Some people like freckles, some people don't. It's going to happen. Your core demographic will understand because if the person came to you with honest intent, they've genuinely purchased it of their own accord, that is a much more resonant story. Then, one where in your influencer was paid to purchase the product and paid to pimp the product out. That doesn't resonate as well with your actual customers. That's the real reason why influencer marketing will never beat user based marketing or customer based marketing for your project. For this lesson, what I am going to encourage you to do is identify three customers who you could convert into brand ambassadors. Brand advocates, giving them access, early access to new product or services, giving them early ability to test something out or demo product or introducing them to your core team, or just sending them a t-shirt that's branded, turning them into brand advocates and asking them, would you please share our product, our service, out to your friends who you think actually need it. Not everybody. We're not asking you to e-mail your entire list. That's ridiculous. You're all your list of friends, your buddies from high-school? No way. What you're asking them to do is you're asking them to connect you one-on-one to somebody that they know needs you. In the next video, we're going to be talking about additional resources, and we're going to be talking about your class project. 7. Growing Solid Story-based Content: I have a confession to make. I'm a huge [inaudible]. Because of that, I care a lot about space travel. I look a lot at Space X and their Falcon 9 rocket. Now, from 2008 their very first test to now they have 95 percent mission success rate and 76 percent recovery rate of the rocket booster, and that is a huge deal because the rocket booster itself costs millions upon millions of dollars and the same things to space. Usually, you would end up with a rocket booster that couldn't be reused. It couldn't be recycled. It ended up either at the bottom of the ocean are crushed on some landmass. It's not a good thing because those things are really expensive. But if you can recycle one and recover it in a way that it can be reused again, you can send things to space faster. You don't spend a ton on rebuilding products that you already have, and it's a really cool story. Space X just launched their Blooper Reel, and it shows over the course of all these tests, all the spectacular failures that have accrued as a result of building that system to recover the rockets. It's a fantastic story and it wasn't something that could be done overnight or even in a week or six months to plan your next year's social media content calendar. There's no way that you, as small business owner, as a marketer CMO, can sit there and expect that you'll be able to build out a competent social media calendar that competently address a story in the span of a week or even a month, or even six months. It takes dedicated effort year after year after year to create as cohesive storyline that your customers will resonate with. It takes testing. It takes an understanding of your customer that adapts and changes over time, and if you aren't committed to that, if you're just going to push market and you'll never see the benefit out of doing storytelling based marketing. But if you're willing to put in the work, if you're willing to really get to know your customers and their needs, and how they come to you, and what they say, and what they do prior to purchase and after the purchase. If you really commit to getting to know them more than just walking, talking wallets. If you really commit to getting to know them as people, then you're story-based content comes alive. Story-based content almost always succeeds well when it is customer centric, and by that I mean, it comes from the customer. They tell you the story. They give you the testimonial, they give you the photograph of their using the product happily. They give you the example of what's happened in their lives since your product or service, and when that happens, you've been gifted an incredible thing. You've been gifted the story of your product. You don't create that as much as we like to say that marketing and branding and PR helped to craft a story of us, of our business is really not. We are integrating ourselves into the life of our customer, and in doing so, we get a little bit of a kickback from that because it amplifies our brand, our message, our story, and we are capable of doing this, and this is what done looks like. When they've bought the product or service, when they're happy with it, when their life has been taken to new levels as a result of using that product. Everyone, every business is capable of this. Every business is in business because there was a need that wasn't being fulfilled and now it is and you are fulfilling it. The story behind that need is also very much the story behind your business, and when you create and craft story-driven content in your marketing, you need to have that in mind. Not all stories need to be push for selling product, but it should be a push to resonate more with your customer and their demographic. That could be tangental TED talk. It could be partners that you are within the community. It could be a community event. It could be a fundraise or a drive or something that your employees believe in, and oftentimes your employees will be closely in tune with your customers, and if not, then there is a disconnect there that needs to be addressed. If your employees believe the brand story and the brand's values and they show it every single day to your customers, that's a story in and of itself. How do you get solid story-based content created? Well, it starts with stories from your customers. Testimonials, reviews, those types of things, but also what they're doing in the community after having purchased your product. Now, it doesn't have to be neat, necessarily something that is happening with your product or service, or even enabled by your product or service. It's just about your customer highlighting your customer, highlighting the need there. This is something that we did with Fort Collins Comic Con. In fact, we started highlighting our local cost players, folks who like to dress up as their favorite characters or even unique creations and show off their cool creator skills. We highlighted different cosplayers in our community on the Fort Collins Comic Con Facebook page, and we started doing it in our Instagram feed, and we started doing it in our Snapchat feed. The more that we did this, the more honored that that cosplayer community felt. We didn't do it to sell badges. We didn't do it to sell anything about our product or service. What we did for was to honor the community that was coming out to show off at our at our event. It was really cool and it was really cool to see their reaction to it as well because they felt honored for having been recognized. This is the type of collaboration that you can create with your marketing. Find your customers, tell their story, not necessarily the story about the product, but the story of them. Also do the same thing for your employees, and for your founders, and for your community. There are four sources right there waiting and ready for you to find stories in. If you can't do any of those four things, find a connection point, something that you care about. Do some pro bono work. It doesn't matter. Those elements of story exist all around you and you just have to look for them. That will be a much more solid base of content for you then anything else you could come up with in your week long planning meeting for the next six months of your content calendar and social media. Here's what I will encourage you to do is your project for this lesson. Stop and think about how you interact with your community, with your customers, with your employees, with your founders. All of those people have a story to tell. What is that story? What do they care about? How are they interacting with the world? What thing can you assist them with? Knowing those things, can you write up their story in a way that honors them, and that highlights them with honest intent. You're not going in to sell something, but with honest intent. Can you honor them and highlight them in a way that tells her story honestly and effectively, and then gets them to have some recognition or elevates them in some way, or helps them achieve a life goal that they have. Are you capable of doing that? If so, start writing it down. Find three examples in your business, whether it's an employee or customer or your community. Find three examples. Write those down. In the next lesson, we're going to be talking about brand content and why sometimes, in fact, most of the time you don't control it. 8. Branded Content - Not Always Under Your Control: Do you ever get buyer's remorse. That moment where the price that you've paid for something suddenly exceeds the value that you thought you were getting out of it in your heart, in your mind now are no longer in alignment with your wallet. That happens a lot. Sometimes it happens in a good way versus a bad way. Sometimes we can tell a story so convincing, so apt to a customer's needs that they can't help but to buy the product or service. Because the value that we have given to them through that product or service is going to far exceed the price. The difference between price and value is really significant. It's mostly in your customer's head, just like the values that you think your brand espouses. They're making it up as they go along. What if I told you that you could buy a charge key at a garage sale for about $2? Write up an incredible story about it, a backstory. Something with a little bit of drama, maybe a little bit of character, a little bit of humor, and resell it on eBay for 36 bucks. That is exactly what did. The stories were completely made up, they were fictitious. Somebody went out, bought a $2 charge key at a yard sale, something that maybe looked a little cool. They went back, wrote up a cool story about it, wrote up a little bit of drama or some backstory that was entirely fictitious and resold it for 36 bucks on average. That is $34 worth of value packed into a little bit of time to write a story. That's how valuable story is. It took a meaningless $2 object that would have been thrown away, or given to goodwill, or whatever, and it turned it into a highly valued commodity at $36. That's a huge price increase. It's a huge value increase in the minds of the customer, and it's only possible because of a story that resonated. How do we get stories that resonate? Well, we look at first the elements and components of the customer that are so important to them. Their personality, their intrinsic traits that they want to amplify, or the things they want to hide. Those are things where you'll get resonance. Things that need to be changed in one direction or another. When you create elements that resonate with your customers, that creates value. Do you remember Creme Egg-gate? This was something that was really interesting. They actually changed up the recipe for Cadbury Creme-Eggs, and it caused this huge kerfuffle. A kerfuffle on social media is not something to be laughed off. It actually caused a 1 percent drop in Kraft Foods stock price, because they changed the recipe and people were freaking out. You also might have seen something similar about Toblerone, their chocolate bars have a little bear on the logo. They increased the amount of space in between the chocolate wedges because each of the little wedges are shaped like mountains. They increased the amount of space, so there was less chocolate or at least it looked like there was less chocolate. People had a similar freak out in creating branded content that was out in the world, that was not under the control of the companies that had created the product. This is a pivotal lesson that sometimes the things you do, especially having to do with the product or service that you're working on, don't always fall under your control. In fact, the content that's created on your behalf can be good, bad, or somewhere in-between. Certainly the new Star Trek series is a good example of this. Star Trek: Discovery has really positive reviews from reviewers. Now, if you compare that to The Orville. That has really negative reviews from all of the critics, but a lot of the audience has a really favorable impression of it. It's a very interesting paradigm. Not everything that you create will fall under your control and not everything that's created on your behalf is going to be under your control, and certainly maybe not on message with your brand. But it will be in line with something that you might have done, or something that you've said, or something that has happened to one of your customers while dealing with your brand. The customer service experience is a huge model of this. There's no reason to believe that you can't create a positive user-based experience across your entire environment if you so choose. That also is marketing by the way, marketing and public relations. If you create a message that's consistent across every touch point of your business, you will receive the full trust of the customer, but you have to be intentional about it. Everything from the boxes that the product come in such as Tiffany's, to the receipts that you check out with. I haven't seen a good example of a fantastic receipt yet, but don't you think that the lasting impression, the biggest thing that people take with them every single time, everyone has them in their wallets or everyone has them in their purses and their pockets somewhere. That plain white, black and white heat tape that maybe has one little very, very small marketing message on the bottom of it. Doesn't that infuriate you as a marketer? It does me. We can do better. The receipt doesn't have to be boring and plain and white and heat paper printed. It doesn't have to be. We could do a nicer job with that, and we should because everything that we do in business is marketing from how you answer the phone to what you do. When you write the receipt to how you hand the person the product to what you do. So iPhones for instance, when you open the box. That box being opened so slowly, that was intentional. The margins between the interior box and the exterior box were purposefully designed to make the phone slow to emerge, build that sense of anticipation. Can you imagine the thought that went into that product experience? Not just from the receipt side, the Apple Genius Bar side, but from the very opening of the box, and what that was supposed to feel like and what emotions that was supposed to induce in the customer. If you put that much attention to detail into your marketing across the board, public relations will be no problem because you are creating the story that you're hoping to espouse. Now, somebody might fall off the wagon at some point. Some customer will have some interaction with an employee and they will both be having a bad day. That happens sometimes, and it's okay. But you have to understand and plan for how to recover. Branded content exists everywhere that your business has an interaction with the customer. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can get to planning around it. For this lesson's mini-project, here's what I want you to do. Write down three touch points that your business has with the customer and figure out what you can do to increase that sense of delight, or tell a story, or bring something relevant into the conversation that they might not have had before. It could be an opportunity to upsell, but generally you want something that the customer is going to appreciate without having to spend any more money with you yet. That yet is really key to the process because if you do it right, they might buy some more anyway. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about why user-based content beats influencer marketing every single time. 9. Wrap-Up and Final Project: Congratulations, you've made it to the end of the process. I have some extra resources for you now, which will help you along your journey of creating powerful stories for your brand. The first of which is End Sex Trafficking. Now, this is a compilation book from a lot of different interviews of different business experts, spiritual experts. The goal of the book, the project was created by my friend Erin Giles to raise money to end human trafficking. Inside, you will find some amazing advice from the likes of Leo Babauta, Ash Ambirge, and Seth Godin. The next is a Misfit Entrepreneur's Guide to Building a Business Your Way. This is a book that I helped to design, but my friend Adriana Friedlander created an incredible story using her journal as she created her business. If you want to know what a brand story looks like when it's written from a place of genuineness, that's the book to read. I don't get a kickback by the way, from the sale of any of these books. All of them go direct to the authors, the proceeds. I don't get a kickback for mentioning them at all. I do think that they are fantastic reads. The final book that I encourage you to read is 30 Ways to Bloom Your Online Relationships. It's available on It has, again, a slew of interviews with entrepreneurs, freelancers, and fellow business owners who are dedicated to the craft of storytelling and tell actionable stories that you can learn lessons from. Finally, you can't go wrong with any books from Chip and Dan Heath. They're the number 1 recommendation on all of my book lists. I think they're fantastic reads and they get you to the heart of what good storytelling is. Let's talk about your class project. We've covered a ton of material in this class, and I really think that the best way to utilize all those nuggets of knowledge that I've shared is to put them into use in an actionable project. Sitting down with your CMO or with a trusted advisor, I want you to think very carefully about your brand. Use the template that I've attached to really create this story. Two to three sentences as you're doing it this first time is enough. Upload it to the course here on the discussion boards and I'll review it with you to talk about things that might be missing, elements that you might be able to take advantage of. Definitely going to respond to any of your questions as well. Please, please do post in the discussion area and I will get right back to you. But let's cover quickly this template. The first thing we cover is your attitude. Your attitude is your brand values, the things that you believe your brand stands for, the things you hope people say about your company. The next is your approach. What are you doing in your brand in your day-to-day business aspects, everything that you do from the point that you open your doors and turn on the lights to the point that you lock the doors and close down the store. Those are the things that you do in your approach to live your brand values. Those are things. The next thing I want you to think of is your five major business goals for the next year. These are your top five goals, the things that you hope that you will do and accomplish in your brand and your business. If you can think of more than five, just list the top five. It's not super critical that I have every single one. I just need to know where you're wanting to go and what you're wanting to do. This really helps clarify what values you hope that your brand espouses as well. Because if all of them have to do with money, then maybe your primary value is survival. But that's not also a very good story to put out into the community. You'll have to rein it back into something that's more customer centric. Let's put together also some of the pieces that I asked you to do, the mini-projects in each of the video lessons. One of the most important ones was writing down, what your customers' purchase story is? What gets them in the door? Why are they there? What are they feeling when they're buying from you? What do they feel after they've purchased from you? That story is really critical to your understanding of how they interact with your business and why. Now, it wouldn't be a marketing class unless you are actively creating some content. I've asked you earlier to find three different customers that could serve as brand ambassadors. I also asked you for a couple of different stories from either your customers, your employees, your founders, or your community that might be good and resonant with your target market and bring some people up along with you as you're selling your product and service. Those stories, I want you to outline into actual content. Now, it doesn't have to be anything crazy. It could be a picture, it could be a tweet. It could be an Instagram post with a little bit of content on the picture along with it. It could be a video, it could be a blog post, an interview. Five hundred words, 300 words, 200 words. It doesn't matter. But I want you to create five samples of actionable content, or at least the outlines or the synopsis, and include that in your template when you post. Just the fact of you starting down that path will get you thinking in new ways. When you start engaging with those stories that exist to you that are readily available to your business, in your community, in your employee pool, in your customer pool, those are things that will really start to elevate your business story. Because when you start to honor the folks who are around your business, the community that exists around your business, they will start to honor you. I really hope that you've enjoyed this class. I hope that you've engaged well with it. If you have, please give me a thumbs up on skillshare. Hope to see you in another class. I'll see you around. Thanks so much.