WHY THE POWER OF YOUR CREATIVE STORY MATTERS EVEN MORE NOW
Contemporary marketing guru Seth Godin states, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.” Even for creatives who make art, not “stuff”, it’s a valuable point. The use of stories and storytelling principles in contemporary marketing for creatives and personal brands has become even more essential for building an audience, creating authentic connections and driving sales. In this post, I consider why stories are so important in marketing communication – from blogposts to speeches, personal bios and brand messaging – and why the rise of AI has only increased their value.
Did you ever hear that great story about…
Though digital technology and social media platforms have definitely shifted the modes of marketing – with so many new opportunities for publicizing your business, product or service to an interconnected world – it’s funny that the primary means for the most effective marketing involves a technology thousands of years old – the story. Give it up for the power of ancient technology still going strong.
But stories are more than just a simple tool. And even a supposedly ‘simple’ story has a rainbow effect – an innate power to capture interest and colourfully thrill and mesmerize us. A well-told story gets under our skin and messes with our head.
Stories are also a key link in the human chain – not only for transmitting information but for creating emotion, establishing trust, nurturing curiosity and loyalty and love. And stories are the very foundation of community – as they are shared, people get woven together through inspiration, emotion and common values.
Of course big brands know all about the power of emotional storytelling to infuse human empathy into the selling of their faceless product or service. Cola and coffee and burgers and Pilsbury doughboys rely upon it.
But it’s truly the creatives and curious individuals and personal brands who have the best stories to tell. Authentic truths and engaging stories that open up meaningful awareness of what and how and why and where they do what they do.
Having worked with a wide mix of interesting clients, I’ve heard so many fun, fascinating, and richly rewarding stories that are central to their creative spirit and brand purpose. But often creatives share little of this insight in any meaningful way with an audience. Despite the fact that people – audiences everywhere – are starved for inspiration and want to know more and somehow feel the experience of what it is to be creative and live a life of authenticity and experimentation while getting to use their imagination and their heart to change the way people see, experience, and understand the world.
Creativity is a wonder to people and they long to somehow be closer to living in that wonderland.
It’s why people intently read the info wall plaques in a museum or binge biographies and documentaries on artists and so many other unique talents in all walks of life. Outsider artist Vincent Van Gogh (he certainly was an outsider, originally) now has over 10000 books written about his life and art. Audiences are eager to know more about individuality and creativity.
We love the beautiful surface of whatever a creative conjures up but we want to dig deeper. To gain more insight and feel more emotion. Stories and insights and personal details are the vessels that carry people toward a deeper appreciation of your achievements and worth creating a more informative, heartfelt and lasting connection.
Creatives need to feed that audience desire for a meaningful connection. Every business should. Your website and social media messaging are key opportunities to open up an authentic awareness of what you do and why. If you only talk in stiff formal language about your efforts, you create barriers more than bridges. Insightful content creates emotional awareness and allows for a deeper appreciation of your work.
But what about the kink in this blogpost title – why does your creative story matter even more NOW? Simply answered, in two letters – AI.
While the shift/revolution/extravaganza that AI (in all its many iterations and abilities) is already creating is profoundly significant and its ability to create “art” (and many other things) will continue to advance, the value of human authenticity and human creativity will become even more coveted. Certainly, a lot of derivative, machine-produced work will be sold but that’s always been the case (think of the cheap poster market for masterpiece art) – now it will just be amplified nth fold when everybody can, instant magico, create a photograph or other work of art.
It’s also true that because of AI, the story, experience, struggle and exhilaration of making art will be even more important to communicate. Such details will be a key signifier of authenticity. To know the weird wild wonderful and heartbreaking humanity that serves as the soul of creativity – and can’t be replicated. Human creativity is complicated and raw and messy and tough to achieve. But that effort is all for the good. Besides, overcoming obstacles always makes for a great story.
Take care to be authentic and share what matters most to you in the story of your creativity and individuality. And consider the curious needs of your audience and their hope to be inspired.
Finally, just for the sake of creativity’s power, consider the story of Van Gogh for a moment. Poor troubled Vincent, shunted about, sold only a single painting, living mostly in obscurity while making his art under complicated circumstances. Nothing came easy – but still he persisted. And he loved being an artist. It was his gospel, his light, his daily bread.
Thankfully, Van Gogh took care to record – in over 600 letters to his brother Theo – so many thoughts and impressions and stories about all that was involved in making his art, and in being his own special self.
And Van Gogh knew something else that we should all keep in mind as AI advances – he knew that art stems from the heart, and is achieved, often gradually, by artists at first witnessing the world and then seeking ways to interpret and transform our perception of experience. He considered the power inherent in art-making an ‘irresistible momentum’.
In an 1882 letter to Theo, Vincent wrote this –
“What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person. Somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.”
Remember to show and tell the truth in your life and the authentic stories that shape your core values. This applies to everyone – not just artists. As AI reshapes what is technologically possible, remember that the messy wonderful thrill of humanity still connects us together in the most meaningful ways.
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As a freelance creative consultancy, BCreative Consulting gets involved in many unique projects specific to the needs of our clients. We enjoy insightful conversations, positive client relationships and heralding the authentic meaning and value at the core of all creative efforts. It’s a powerful opportunity – and a great challenge – to inspire an audience.
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