Can You Count?
If you’re like me, as a content marketer you may often find yourself battling to balance what is sometimes a bi-polar job description; on one hand you need that creative-focused mind of an artist to stay inspired while creating concepts, campaigns and content. And yet, on the other, you’re somewhat lost without the analytical brain of a lab-rat testing hypothesis, headlines, CTAs, images and delivery methods while all-the-while measuring the results.
The reality is, whatever state of mind you’re currently in, many marketers are questioning their ability to measure the impact of their work in a tangible way. However, two recent articles from FastCompany.com and LifeHacker.com - both shining examples of great content in their own right - point to a very real and direct correlation between the ability to tell a good story, make someone take action and, ultimately, turn a profit.
Would you pay $59 for a $1 snow globe?
Last month, Fast Company looked at this case study of an online retail experiment that imbued everyday yard sale items with an engaging back-story and then sold them at an outrageous mark-up. The founders of significantobjects.com calculated an average increase of 2,706 percent in monetary value by providing a great story for many otherwise cheap, mundane knick-knacks. The sterling example being this “Utah Snow Globe” which topped out the list at nearly 60 times its purchase price of 99 cents.
The takeaway? Whether you’re a garage sale shopping super star or slinging diamonds at Tiffany & Co. (Fast Company’s brand-level example of a story’s value), there is a direct and measurable impact in aligning your brand story with the specific products your selling. But, if I haven’t sold you completely on the concept please read on.
The sounds of science.
Okay, I can admit that selling someone else’s junk at a mark-up is basically how I view every antique store I’ve ever been to and you would certainly be hard-pressed to find someone unfamiliar with the telltale Tiffany blue box – so, what if your brand is still trying to establish its story? How does all of this brand storytelling really work?
Shortly after reading the above Fast Company article, I stumbled across this gem from Lifehacker.com entitled The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains. Leo Wildrich, founder of a social media tagging app called Buffer, writes that the act of sharing a story activates the same specific brainwaves in the mind of the recipient as the teller. “While we are busy searching for a similar experience in our brains, we activate a part called insula, which helps us relate to that same experience of pain, joy, or disgust.”
The simple conclusion from the Life Hacker piece is that if you’re searching for the most effective way to get in your customers heads telling a story may just put you top of mind in more ways than one.
Counting on content.
To bring this full circle, when it comes to the question of measuring impact from content, if you’re able to spin a good yarn about brand, services or products there is both money and science supporting your chances of collecting a return.
As Marketing Manager, Luke Meyers handles all aspects of marketing, branding and market research for McMurry and writes on topics related to content marketing, branded media and emerging technology.