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MarCom Matters

July 2013
Issue: #45

The Play’s the Thing

Sometimes you’ve just got to find a new rut and plunk yourself into it.

As it happens, my wife Janet and I discovered a good one this spring: Theatrical plays. Not the fancy Broadway kind, but performances by local community and professional companies.

In the last few weeks we took in two plays from the 1930’s: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and the Kaufman-Hart comedy, You Can’t Take It With You. And just recently, it was the 1960’s classic, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Now all three were written by different playwrights and have different plots and themes. And one of them is a musical. Yet, they all have one huge thing in common: They’re old.

Because they were written in the heyday of the theater, they don’t rely on daring acrobatics, pyrotechnics, mega-hit musical numbers or co-marketing agreements with McDonalds. They rely instead on good ol’ fashioned character development and storytelling…

And let’s face it, as a marketer or communicator who’s been around for a while, you’ve met your share of characters and have plenty of stories to tell. So why not turn them to your advantage?

I mean, for starters you’ve got your company history, executives, inventors, customers, strategists, visionaries, partners, distributors, products, community affiliations, and customer and professional services. Those are some mighty powerful sources for story ideas.

With that in mind, what can these three plays teach us about how best to tell those stories?

Let’s go backstage to find out…

Storytelling in B2B marketing breathes life into products, services and people in ways that traditional approaches to collateral don’t. It teaches and helps answer those lingering questions and doubts in the minds of your buyers and customers. And best of all, it fits into your existing channels and communication formats.

So if you’re looking for a new rut and want see your name in lights, consider the story.