In a recent story picked up across the web, John F. Harris opined a shift in how elections are won. In his piece entitled “7 Stories Barack Obama Doesn’t Want Told,” Harris wrote:
Presidential politics is about storytelling. Presented with a vivid storyline, voters naturally tend to fit every new event or piece of information into a picture that is already neatly framed in their minds.
No one understands this better than Barack Obama and his team, who won the 2008 election in part because they were better storytellers than the opposition. The pro-Obama narrative featured an almost mystically talented young idealist who stood for change in a disciplined and thoughtful way. This easily outpowered the anti-Obama narrative, featuring an opportunistic Chicago pol with dubious relationships who was more liberal than he was letting on.
This so called “revelation” is a bit disappointing, though not surprising in a world more focused on distribution channels than storylines. To paraphrase a former president, “it’s the story, stupid.”
TPRM has been a supporter of social networking, online videos and other digital initiatives. But the bottom line is that these are just new ways to reach a target audience. The same principle that has guided marketing firms since a caveman first contemplated how to sell his excess mammoth meat to another is still as relevant today. Telling a compelling story is the single most important skill necessary for success.
There are many companies that can build a Web site, create a piece of collateral or send out an e-mail blast. At TPRM, we believe that it’s important to be able to execute those tactics for clients. But helping clients create a story that connects them to their target market is far more important and valuable. Empty words eventually will disappear, but building a relationship will continually create opportunity.