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Wiggly Man is NOT a Marketing Strategy

Have you ever been driving down a street, and noticed, from the corner of your eye, one of those giant “Wiggly Men’?  You know what I’m talking about-those 15’ tall inflatables that wiggle their arms about, hoping to get you to pull into their place of business.

Tim Sudall, from Video One out of Philly, was a guest speaker at the Illinois Videographers Association last month speaking about marketing and growing a business, and he brought up the interesting phenomenon of the “Wiggly Man”.  He asked the group a great question (and I’m paraphrasing)-“has anybody ever gone into a business for a high end item and bought something, like a new car, because they had a Wiggly Man out in front?”  Nobody in our group had.  Odds are, neither have you or your circle of friends.

Unfortunately, in this new world of brands, social media and internet video, much of the business marketing effort out there is just an electronic version of the Wiggly Man.  Companies shout out (figuratively and literally) what they think are great reasons to get people to come in their store and buy things.  They ‘wave their arms’ and fill their online ads or website blurbs with hollow descriptions and platitudes like “state-of-the-art technology” or “industry leaders”.  Maybe they’ve produced a piece that is really slick and shiny, but, like the videos with empty descriptions, don’t inspire you to action or grow your desire for a product or service.  They might grab your attention, but they don’t get you to buy anything.

You see people today are much smarter than you give them credit for.  A giant inflatable King Kong might make your five-year old point and jump up and down-but they won’t excite you enough pull in the drive.  Slick ads or hard sales pitches don’t make you want to know more about a company, spend your hard-earned cash or become a life-long customer.  With visual Storytelling, however, you cannot only grab people’s attention, but also elicit an emotional reaction and connection-making them more likely to pull the trigger and buy from YOU.  Storytelling, when done correctly, allows the consumer to become part of the story, drives deeper multi-sensory experiences and leads people to action.  Story becomes less about “look at me!” and more about curating a brand and the consumers’ journey with the brand.  Companies that are great about sharing the story about their brands, like Apple, Coke and Starbucks, inspire intense loyalty because they tell a story that consumers are eager to adopt as their own.

We live today in an age of “too much information”-with very little able to cut through all the noise.  Don’t just wave your arms about-use authentic storytelling to tell your personal story, penetrate through that noise and grow an audience of brand evangelists.

Do you have a great company story you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear them.  Please post links or stories below so we can share them.  Need help telling your story?  Contact me so I can give you a hand.

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