You’re an optimist. And why not? The world is full of opportunity: to create, share, sell and buy. To advance human progress. Indeed, the future is awash in exponential abundance. Thing is, there’s a big downside to this opportunity.
With it comes a glut of information for humans to process and understand. Marketing and video advertising is a primary culprit. Like a tide, it rises at dizzying, dazzling pace. It’s confusing, scary and overwhelming… like a breech in the flood wall.
As a creative marketing professional, the demands come at you like a barrage. Is the product even ready for launch? Establish metrics. Hit metrics. Do more with less. You must engage on FB, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snap, and more to come. Drive effectiveness. Create activations. One video or a campaign? Did the message resonate? It was gone in a flash! You mean the video or the 22 months you’ve already been in this job? And that’s but one project—what about the 8 others in which you hold a stake?
“Things change so fast these days,” a cliche every generation grimly mutters. But, there are a few time-honored marketing truisms we probably agree on. For example, it’s about expressing your values and being different rather than following the herd. At its best, marketing empowers rather than deflates. Too bad such thinking is often disregarded in return for the easy kill: a strafe of content focused on “features” over the people who would use the darn thing.
Technology organizations are both perpetrator & victim of this cycle. With a lickety split rate of revolutionary ideas, their need to be first and loudest seems logical. That’s what everyone else is doing. And that’s the problem. It’s not hype to say consumer confidence may not exist in the future.
With all of this competition, sharing your story is a monumental challenge. The hope is that someone finds your content; loves it and ultimately shares it. We know that’s tough. Your marketing tactics have hit a wall, growth has slowed, and your campaigns have failed to achieve the results you were hoping for.
That’s not to say there hasn’t been work that makes a difference, that is daring, different, and true. But too often it’s the result of timing or chance. Like a former boss “too busy on other things” to second guess every move. At that particular quarter’s rushing close, you actually got to express yourself. The results were inspiring. Yes, you’ve had success, awards and promotions. But too often it’s about simply getting it done and moving on. It’s not your fault. It’s the world of communication in general today.
The values that spurred you to join the field—progress, empathy and creative arts—seem distant. But we know they’re still within you. And there is more out there.
In spite of it all, there remains a choice.
The Alternate Path
It begins with something basic to us as humans. You likely already know this. After all, when you go home and pop on your screen, you’re human too. Not someone to be sold to or bombarded with bluster. But someone who loves stories that move you or help you understand. Ones in which it seems you’re playing the lead (or at least feels that way.)
We are Myriad. A video agency using stories to represent the human side of technology. Consider these art which result in business value. In their own way, they help advance breakthroughs. We are optimists who believe an abundant society is possible. Like you, our people imagine more for the future. We use the power of well-crafted stories to show how organizations are solving humankind’s biggest problems.
And what does it mean to be human? It’s more than just standing upright, walking on two feet, and clasping opposable thumbs. We design and use tools to a much higher degree than any other creature. We have wielded these implements to build sophisticated societies, arts, and technologies. At the dawn of humankind it was fire, while today it’s the microchip and social networks.
As a species, we are uniquely adept at using symbolism and metaphor to exchange ideas. The desire to understand, explain and influence our world has pushed us forward as we evolve our methods of communication.
While being heard in the digital age may be more complex, our motives remain unchanged. Beyond survival, we are searching for meaning and connection. For centuries, we have relied on myths and legends, fables and champions to embed our messages with meaning. It’s in our genetic code and today is no exception.
The alternate path is liberating because it empowers your audience versus playing to their base anxieties. This breathes life and energy into otherwise listless work. It is thrilling because it is highly effective. Remember that storyteller inside you who got into the business to create work that entertains, inspires and makes a difference.
The Power of 3
“Snap, Crackle, Pop” is the essence of Rice Krispies. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are America in short. There is something naturally pleasing and potent about three things considered as one.
Our work too is best expressed by a trio: The Three Agendas of Business, Creative, and Audience. We view these as a hinged triptych. A strategic guide which assures both the accountability and pure integrity of our work.
The 3 Agendas
1- Business – The reason for being. Why are we doing this?
2- Creative – The myth which creates understanding. How are we doing this?
3- Audience – The source of knowledge. Who are we doing this for?
Art for art’s sake is only puffery. Name a single business objective that ever moved a customer to action. It’s critical to consider these three agendas simultaneously. Not one at a time, but linked together in mutual harmony. Therein is the essence of our approach. One which results in the business impact and artistic success creative marketing professionals crave. Indeed, finding the balance amongst these frequently competing needs is where the magic happens.
It’s important that we pause and consider an important truth. While the agendas of Business and Creative are elemental, the ultimate source of knowledge resides within the Audience. This wellspring is where we find the understanding we seek. They have the insights with which to create stories that resonate.
Indeed, the revolutionary advances resulting from AI, IoT, cloud, solar and their ilk won’t result in exponential progress alone. They are merely the means. Within your audience are the human heroes whom must grasp these tools and feel empowered rather than confused. We use the term “grasp” for a dual reason. Specifically, your audience must both understand and utilize your technology in ways that matter to them.
This is the kernel of a strategic approach and influences every aspect of the StoryMap. A framework which leads us smoothly down the path from creative to production to engagement optimization. The insights gained are distilled into a guiding policy that aligns all stakeholders around a singular vision. Contained in this pillar document are key representations of The Three Agendas of Business, Creative and Audience.
We challenge you to discover the lives of the human beings who will use your product. To observe, listen and learn with openness. Inside them are the keys. Commit to thinking of them first, your technology second and brand last. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Embrace the truth your product is nothing better than distraction in an otherwise crowded life of:
- The father in line at the grocery store only focused on the pressing matter of his cranky, hungry toddler.
- A cash strapped entrepreneur with 4 different enterprise software subscriptions, payroll on Friday and investors to meet on Monday.
- That confused senior laboring to understand her Medicare paperwork. She’s the same who just searched “life expectancy with lymphoma.”
We issue this call because too often in our 25 years of work we’ve seen it happen: The last minute challenge of an out-of-pocket stakeholder. He’s the one with the abrupt power move that replaces wonder and empathy for the audience with the inverse: stale self reverence. “Just get it done and move on” is the familiar, tempting response.
“We humans control the world because we live in a dual reality. All other animals live in an objective reality. Their reality consists of objective entities, like rivers and trees and lions and elephants. We humans, we also live in an objective reality. In our world, too, there are rivers and trees and lions and elephants. But over the centuries, we have constructed on top of this objective reality a second layer of fictional reality, a reality made of fictional entities, like nations, like gods, like money, like corporations. And what is amazing is that as history unfolded, this fictional reality became more and more powerful so that today, the most powerful forces in the world are these fictional entities. Today, the very survival of rivers and trees and lions and elephants depends on the decisions and wishes of fictional entities, like the United States, like Google, like the World Bank.
While that sounds a bit daunting and grandiose, it also clarifies something important. Simply, it’s our natural ability to create and respond to stories which results in progress. This has been true since time immemorial. Pause and consider for a moment how far we’ve come as species.
He makes another important point. At this moment of rapid change and rising challenges, our destinies are in the hands of people organized around big ideas. Of companies like yours.
We share Harari’s words because they speak to something thrilling about what the world finds itself poised to realize at this moment:
A future of exponential abundance and human progress.
We must grasp it.
Indeed, these are lofty ambitions for your organization and yourself as a creative marketing pro. Certainly for Myriad too. They require you believe in the worthiness of your creative values again. You must also balance three things at once: the agendas of Business, Creative, and Audience. This trio assures the critical needs of your organization, the value of the artist’s craft and the audience’s insightful perspective.
In doing so you create stories where magic happens. The primary source of which resides within those very human beings who are your customers. Listen to them with care and curiosity and they will almost write the words for you. Progress will surely follow.
Remember that storyteller inside yourself.