What can content managers actually learn from the famously clumsy character of Mr. Bean?
A whole lot! This was made clear recently by our exclusive workshop “Storytelling in B2B”, to which we had invited selected managers from the advertising industry. Lesson one: munching Snickers!
But first things first:
The host of the event, Silke Bonarius, introduced the subject and various storytelling formats for digital natives and then played the YouTube clip “United breaks guitars” – a musical rant of Canadian David Carroll and his band Sons of Maxwell. Carroll describes how he himself had to watch the destruction of his guitar before flying with United Airlines – an agony for musicians.
The clip went viral with more than 18 million clicks, triggered a worldwide media coverage and even has its own entry on Wikipedia. That too is content marketing, with simple means, but enormously effective.
How this can be systematized explained Janis Schibalski, digital strategy consultant at the Neofonie agency: A content strategy can be derived from several criteria – therefore, this is less the witchcraft of some creatives, but rather the result of essential strategic considerations.
There are some key questions to ask. What this looks like in practice, Schibalski made clear on the example of the Snickers spot with Mr. Bean. The field manual looked like this:
- What? Which product is it? So here it’s a chocolate bar
- For whom? Who is the target audience? The answer is obvious: hungry consumers in the broadest sense, chocolate lovers in the narrower sense
- Competitor? Who are the competitors? In this case: Milka, Kitkat, Hanuta
- What is the theme? What is it about? Avert failure
- What is the conflict? Possible failure versus successful mission
- What are the resistances? Lack of concentration, hunger
- What is the message? You lose focus when you’re hungry
- Who is the protagonist? A testimonial with deficits, depending on personal taste funny or ridiculous
- What is the mission? Defeating Ninjas, thirst for adventure
- What is the Excalibur? What is the “magic” element that helps to win? There is only one answer: Snickers
Apparently simple ingredients – also for the complex B2B world?
Yes, says the digital strategist, because even business decisions are never met completely rationally. “Every decision is emotionally influenced”, says Schibalski: “Two-thirds of managers even openly admit that gut feeling plays a key role. The rest just may not be that far in self-awareness”. Therefore, storytelling approaches as we know them from the Hollywood blockbusters – for example, “overcome monsters”, “from rags to riches”, “travel and return” or “rebirth” – work even in the B2B environment.
In subsequent workshops, the participants were able to test their own storytelling skills – topics were a new product for a mobility service provider, green banking and project management. Subsequent discussions were also unavoidable – because, whether right or wrong can never be determined in advance to this discipline. “There are no patent recipes”, the content expert told the participants. Above all, authenticity is important, because that is the prerequisite for trust and that is in turn the prerequisite for most business decisions.