Saturday, May 24, 2008

Telling great stories

I got the above nice picture from HERE. Perhaps it is about a great marketing story on the phone.

Clarification
: Telling a great story is to be perceived positively. In India, we often say 'telling stories' to mean saying lies. In marketing however, telling stories means a great pitch - an impelling story that connects with the target audience, and enhances consumption of the product or service.


For successful marketing, telling impelling stories is an important competence. It is the stories that create the buzz and increase the consumption, which is the core of marketing. And it is exactly why the pranayama-Yoga system being promoted by Swami Ramdev is becoming a phenomenal hit. The Indian diaspora is firmly with his health program on TV channel Aastha. The USP of Swami Ramdev's program is the right-before-your-eyes case studies being shared by the Yoga participants. The stories are impelling. The program is full of verve, purpose, and fun. The TV program is a successful presentation of a good pranayama-Yoga concept by Swami Ramdev.

Products and services become successful in the marketplace not only on the basis of the merit of the product; it is good marketing of meritorious products or services. THE ESSENCE OF GOOD MARKETING IS GOOD STORY TELLING.

Swami Ramdev is not only a honest, sincere, and purposeful Yogi - he is very intelligent. Swami Ramdev has understood the importance of good story telling to market his mission and gain audience share. Swami Ramdev's stories on Yoga are inspiring and guiding. Even more sagacious is his strategy of story telling to co-create stories along with the Yoga practitioners in the audience. This engages the audience even better, creates the word-of-mouth (which is again an important goal of marketing), and finally Swami Ramdev ends up producing lifestyle change - which is THE GOAL OF ALL MARKETERS.

Good story telling is the crux of many of allopathic successes and leadership in the marketplace. Every allopathic product is launched with years of research to establish the molecule's safety and efficacy. This creates the fodder for a good story. It is in-depth material. The fodder gets mathematical treatment, in terms of statistical analysis of the pre-clinical and clinical data. And finally, when the molecule and formulation is unveiled, the narrative brings in instant success.

Take for eg., the historic and mega successful launch of Viagra. The story telling starts with the interesting point that the PDE - 5 inhibitor was being investigated for its future application as an antihypertensive vasodilator. Sildenafil citrate's property to help overcome erectile dysfunction or impotence was itself a side effect, that became the product's promotional platform. The narrative of story is interesting right from the brand name potency - VIAGRA (coming from vigor and Niagara). The product finally took off not just because of the clinical trial data back-up to persuade prescribers, it was the worldwide frenzy of media buzz that created the hype, positive imagery, and word-of-mouth for Viagra. The product was seen as HOPE in physical form. True marketers it is said do not sell products or services, they sell ideas, imagery, and HOPE! And the story of Viagra is just that. The story telling of Viagra has been successful even though the emphasis was not on impotence - but the then less popular term erectile dysfunction; the use of this term, created an educational component to the Viagra story telling too, and as they say, rest is history.

Pharmaceuticals and healthcare is yet to see such a successful launch campaign and story telling, after the stupendous success of lifestyle prescription product Viagra.

That is why we say,
good stories create eddies that disrupt established trends

The core of good story telling is not the narrative - it is the idea and the novelties. For instance, when Lupin launched their brand of atorvastatin, it was as a heart shaped tablet; the entire internal and external launch marketing campaign was centred on the heart (including cutting a heart shaped cake at inaugurals). The idea of a story is the appeal, it added to brand differentiation. The idea serves as the foundation of story telling.

Good stories trigger enthusiasm and are infectious. The ultimate goal of good stories is to bring about a change in the prescribing or usage pattern with respect to product categories. For eg., when a MR details a good story on how nutrients promote wound healing with clinical reports and clinical case studies, the story becomes impelling and produces the required change in the target audience.

When stories appeal to the intellect and the heart, they persuade, create customer confidence. Stories can grip the target audience. And the required change is produced in the target segment, and the business objectives achieved.

MUCH LEARNING AND CHANGE IN CONSUMER BEHAVIOR, PRESCRIBING BEHAVIOR, AND PURCHASE BEHAVIOR IS BASED ON STORY TELLING. It is for this reason that books like Made in Japan, Akio Morita, or any of the business books that chronicle organizational successes become big hits in the marketplace. The world likes great and impelling stories. When marketers use all the promotional tools available, apply the marketing techniques and tell a great story, the product becomes a success.

Most of the successful products are simple. But they tell a great story.

Thanks for reading the above blogpost, hope it was an impelling story! Please scroll down and do read all other blogposts. Please click on OLDER POSTS wherever required.





6 comments:

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Sunil S Chiplunkar said...

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