“Storytelling vs selling: It’s time to start selling stuff properly again”
Happy New Year. Ok, let’s kick things off with a little pot-stirring in an article by Leslie de Chernatony, on last year’s marketing go-to, storytelling and its contribution to brand (or business) building.
de Chernatony’s argument is bluntly that “For the past few years storytelling has been popularised by creative agencies promising a really differentiated branded offer. Yet in all probability it is more responsible for brands becoming more undifferentiated than ever before.” (my emphasis).
His thesis is a straightforward one, on the point of “The hard work no longer appears to be done at the Product end. Where once a product had to justify its existence, now less time is spent looking for USPs… Instead too much time is spent… over promotion”.
While the article might come across as a rather curmudgeonly rant against the current direction of media-businesses playbook and pitch (as its critics have been quick to point out in the comments already), it shouldn’t detract from the central tenet – that the thing that makes a product great should be the starting point; that it should be the message that you sell; its story that you tell.
So the difference between ‘selling’ or ‘telling’ comes down to how forcefully (or quickly) you need to get your message across. Your message about why buy you over your competition. Take the time to craft and execute what makes what you do unique (or at least different, or better, or cheaper or more expensive) really well, and the results will be telling.