When I say “clydesdale” what comes to mind?

The HARD TRUTH…… you are easily forgotten (yikes).

We are inundated constantly as consumers, and boring messages get drowned out quickly — especially when you consider the reality that you are never competing just locally for a donor, a client or a customer.

Who are you really and have you ever really considered how you come off to potential donors, clients or customers?

We all have the “Who We Are” or “About Us” page on our website. Unless you’re a nonprofit, chances are it’s rarely visited and likely hasn’t been attended to or updated since it was built.

When you or whoever wrote the content for that page, it’s likely it was approached in a very straightforward, straight to the facts manner ……….

“In 1980, Justin Shore founded Rhino Air. The company now has 25 employees serving all of Southern Arizona as a locally owned and operated HVAC company.”

Ads from the late 90s/early 00s essentially screamed at you like a used car salesman. Websites were built out almost like yellow page ads- with very little thought or intentional focus on anything of meaning or value.

But marketing and branding has evolved into a storytelling approach that ascribes emotion and meaning to everything, with intentional focus on your “why”. 

Typically when we audit websites, or any sort of content really – this is a piece that is always missing.

Budweiser started creating these incredible stories with their dogs and clydesdale horses years ago. One of my favorites has to be this:

Then, and even now, it’s shocking to think about how evocative this really is. I mean, how stupid is it that a beer commercial can bring tears to my eyes? And I’m not even a dog person (don’t hate me). 

Now compare that to a Coors commercial. Same basic product, same basic level of quality – but a completely different tactic is employed here:

Now, of course, these are likely tailored to very different groups. Coors is lighthearted, and honestly, much more closely related to the product itself. Beer is a drink you drink with friends during games and to celebrate right – I mean it genuinely has basically nothing to do with horses and dogs. But which one did you remember after the Super Bowl? Which one was shared over and over again in your social media feed? If I say Clydesdale horses – how many of you automatically picture the Budweiser horses? 

This is effective storytelling done exactly right. It is attaching a brand to something bigger and much more exciting than just a bottle of beer. This approach has been extensively researched and proven to increase our ability to connect to and remember stories.

Why Storytelling Marketing Works

Again, reflect back on the ads you remember from this last Superbowl. They were all emotive in nature – they made you laugh, they made you cry…. they made you connect! And because you feel connected, you remember the brand, and the way you felt when you watched it. Your response was likely so embedded you can probably remember additional details like where you were sitting when you saw it, who was next to you, etc.

So the question should no longer be “Who are you” but:

  • Why are you who you are?
  • Why do you exist?
  • Why do you sell what you sell, or serve who you serve?
  • Why does what you do matter?
  • Why do your donors/clients/customers matter?
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