From days in the Stone Age, when our ancestors would gather to tell wild stories of mythological heroes, to now, where we gather to movie theaters or stockpile books: storytelling is a remarkably vital element of the human experience. Storytelling runs in our blood; it's a force that entertains and motivates us as members of the human race.
Not only do people seek out stories as a means of entertainment, but motivation as well. Some of the greatest, most popular books, movies and legends resonate because people can relate to them on a personal level. Every person is searching for a part of themselves in the narratives that they encounter. This is why, in 2019, companies and political campaigns have been taking a new approach to marketing that capitalizes on this desire.
It's called brand storytelling, and RoboCent has all of the details for you.
More Than What You Sell
Brand storytelling, as defined by Marketing Insider Group, is "using a narrative to connect your brand to customers, with a focus on linking what you stand for to the values you share with your customers.”
When it comes to companies selling products, this means that the story behind the product needs to resonate with consumers. In the case of a political campaign, brand storytelling should answer a couple of important questions. WHO is your candidate, WHAT is their story, and HOW does the voter play a role in the candidate's story?
You're more than likely aware that your candidate is more than just a person running for office. They are a representation of their platform, and an embodiment of the narrative of the constituents they are aiming to serve. How can you make your candidate feel like a protagonist, by voting for you?
Brand Storytelling in Political Campaigns
The most recent presidential election carried a slew of storytelling from candidates, both in marketing and fictional senses. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum however, a candidate's story was quite possibly the most vital contribution to their campaign.
As a politician, you want to tell a story that reveals your humanity. You want your brand's story to linger in the heart of every voter that encounters you. This includes every age group, ethnic background, and socioeconomic status. It's a challenging task, because you must find a way to present yourself as a unique candidate, but not so unique that people don't understand you.
Find a story in your platform that calls on the spirit of every American.
There's a very specific reason why so many politicians cite their immigrant grandparents, regardless of their stance on immigration policy. It's because the story of immigration is one that so many Americans relate so deeply to. As the ancestors and first-generation descendants of immigrants, the average American sees him or herself in this hard-working narrative.
The main goal of telling your story as a politician is to show the similarities between you and your voters. People, most of the time, don't want to vote for someone who is outwardly pompous and unattainable. A candidate like that, without a relatable story, appears sleazy and out of touch.
Just as you might find in everyday life, someone with a relatable story will appear more trustworthy.
Text Message Marketing
In order for your campaign to tell a resonating story, you need to have a relatable brand voice. Luckily, text message marketing for political campaigns can help you with that. In using a service like RoboCent to text constituents and possible voters, you have the opportunity to reach out to voters in a down-to-earth way. You'll be able to convey your brand's story through a more intimate setting, directly to voters' inboxes. If you're looking for a way to be relatable, look no further.
Storytelling in Slogans
Your campaign's core values, and ultimately, brand story, should be recognizable and understandable from the get-go. This means creating a slogan that conveys part of your story, or at least implies a story to begin with.
In the most recent campaign cycle, President Trump's marketing team coined the infamous slogan "Make America Great Again" which resonated with Americans on a deeply emotional level.
This slogan includes not only the protagonist/voter (America), but also the implication of an exposition (the use of the word again). Viewing this slogan with a fresh set of eyes, completely ignoring any sense of context, you know that it at least tells a story. It tells the story of a once sovereign nation that needs to be delivered to greatness, and only you, the voter, can do that. Donald Trump's brand story is conveyed completely in those four words. Those words are so powerfully telling, that a vast amount of people bought this iconic merch to use as a way to convey their connection with it.
Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you lean, the "Make American Great Again" slogan tells a story extremely clearly, which is why so many people resonated with it.
Another example of a storytelling in slogans comes from the Donald's 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. Her slogan "I'm With Her" is a different take on storytelling, as it almost resembles dialogue from a triumphant underdog archetype. Many people across the nation, especially women, viewed themselves in this slogan, or at least viewed a story of triumph long in the distance for them. The slogan made people feel like, in giving a vote to Clinton, they were part of a historical moment in which America gains its first female president. The slogan, and the campaign in general, made the average Clinton voter feel like the protagonist in their own election story.
Use Data to Your Advantage
Just as you might use data to back up claims in a speech, you should use data and statistics to back up your brand story. Being relatable means more than just, well, being relatable. It's also convincing people who don't relate to you, that you're relatable. In the words of Forbes Magazine, "Interpret data with originality to make stories believable, engaging your audience and converting them into buyers all at once."
While you may not particularly be "selling" them anything, they do need to "buy" your story. There's no better way to do that than to come prepared. If you claim to be a child of an immigrant, draw on statistics of immigrants in the United States. If you're running on a platform of gender, cite statistics related to gender issues in America.
As a politician, data should be a key factor in your statements to begin with. However, using data with regards to brand storytelling will only further enhance your campaign.
A Call to Action: Get Out and Vote
Regardless of what your brand story is, making the voter a priority is always going to give you the best results. President Obama, in 2008, made enormous efforts to get young people out to the polls, which benefited him greatly. This is because his brand story of "Hope" and "Change" couldn't have existed without involvement of the people he told his story to.
Obama's brand story required voters, because without the masses of people turning up to the polls, change could not occur. Therefore, the voters were made a vital character in Obama's brand story; this resonated enough to win him the presidency.
Just as Obama was able to do so in 2008, making voters a part of your brans story will increase likelihood of your victory. We see the same type of involvement in Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. "Make American Great Again" implied a need for the protagonist voter. It's almost like the slogan says "(Come out to voter if you want to) Make American Great Again." When you make the voter feel like the good guy for voting for you, you've done brand storytelling the right way.
The American Story
The story of the average American is a simple one. Each and every American wants the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Whatever this happiness means to the individual, is up to him or her; however, The United States should be a provider for this pursuit in its democratic freedom.
That's a fairly easy story to convey, and its one that everyone has been told since birth about this country. When approaching your brand story, find something that uniquely fits into this narrative-- like voting!
Voting is a naturally American ideal to appeal to-- one that enfranchises everyone who follows you.
The Wrap Up on Storytelling
If you feel like your campaign is lacking something, a good narrative might just be your fix. While it adds not only narrative and relatability to your campaign, it also generates interest. Not only do you appear as a trustworthy candidate, you appear as a real human, with a real human background. Authenticity will always win over ham-fisted theatrics. This is why your story needs to come from the heart, you communications (text message marketing) needs to come from he heart, and your campaign needs to come from the heart.