Transmedia Storytelling as an Effective Theme Park Marketing Strategy

In a lot of ways, developing an effective theme park marketing strategy evokes quite the “roller coaster” of experiences. There are highs and lows and oftentimes, it even throws you for a loop!

But- it doesn’t have to always be that way, particularly when you have a good sense of what your target audience is looking for in its theme park experience. At our marketing agency in Orlando, we understand that people visit theme parks to be entertained, excited and thrilled, but also to relax and escape everyday life. One of the best ways to get people to choose your park over your competitors’ is to tap into their emotions through emotive storytelling.

This isn’t a story with an introduction, a middle and a conclusion like you might’ve been told in your third grade English class. We’re talking about transmedia storytelling, which describes the art of being able to tap into what people are thinking about, and being able to give them great content and visuals to help inspire them. And, by inspiring potential customers through images of what a great vacation could do for them, you’ll hopefully also be able to inspire them to buy plane tickets to Florida to spend a week at a local resort hotel.

In telling an emotional story, your imagery and words should reflect your commitment to this appeal. A photo of kids laughing on a double decker carousel in LEGOLAND’S Fun Town is going to grab a child’s attention and make them want to escape in the same way. A bullet-point list of facts about your park? Maybe, but think about how much more the photo might resonate with a parent who has a LEGO- obsessed child.

Disney is a master at this, and Universal has appeal through its rides inspired by famous favorite films. A perfect example of incorporating media and other immersive storytelling techniques into a marketing strategy is the soon to be newest Universal Water Park- Volcano Bay. Keep your eyes open for this marketing plan, it’s going to be one for the books (get it? Since we’re telling a story? We think we’re funny.)

Unfortunately not every theme park has learned to tap into that universal trigger that keeps people thinking about their experience there through the generations. So if you’re a theme park marketer, one of the most important things you can do is focus on the importance of story in everything that represents your brand. And if you need ideas on how to bring that story to life, contact the expert team at our Orlando ad agency to help you navigate the twists and turns of this exhilarating industry!

Learn the Brand Benefits of Transmedia Storytelling

In marketing, “transmedia storytelling” is a trendy buzzword. Marketers have often proclaimed the benefits of placing much of their advertising-driven focus on telling a compelling “story,” but what is actually represented by the story itself may be a bit hazy. That’s where the marketers at your favorite marketing agency in Orlando come in – we’ll help you paint a clearer picture of how a viable story might help you to provide positive support and reinforcement for your message.

Before the digital revolution, brand storytelling meant something very specific. In particular, it applied to the types of stories we share with one other, in both formal and informal settings, often containing an overarching narrative – including protagonists, antagonists, and the like.

With the ever-present and constantly changing advent of emerging technology, storytelling has taken on a brand new connotation (pun intended). Sometimes called transmedia storytelling, these are, from a broad perspective, the stories about your brand as told through the use of social media, design and other elements that help give people the entire picture of what your brand is all about. Additionally, every image or bit of copy itself can also tell a story. Even Google’s “Don’t be evil” slogan gives us a pretty solid example of how the brand strives to present itself – abiding by the belief that a company that does good things for the world might be forced to forego some short-term goals.

Let’s take a look at how we can apply storytelling in a variety of business facets:

Storytelling in Copywriting

“Just do it.” “Think different.” “Got milk?” Each of these copywriting examples represents a widely-known slogan. In just a few short words, the copywriters responsible for these taglines are able to tell fantastic stories about their business. But it doesn’t stop here. Content through longer-form text and via social media are both excellent avenues to deliver stories out into the world.

Storytelling in Imagery

Images are effective because they truly resonate with people, transporting them to the locale that they see in the visual. Make an impact on your audience by relying on impactful visuals to tell these stories.

Storytelling in Web Design

Does the design layout of your website accurately depict who you are as a brand? Cutting-edge companies often have interesting websites that also reflect these values, whereas simple brands will employ more simplistic websites to reflect the mission of the business.

Storytelling in User Experience

Beyond simply website or mobile app design, this scenario poses the question of whether the user’s experience across platforms is consistent with your brand story. For instance, if you advertise excellent customer service, then your user experience can aptly highlight this feature by allowing ease of navigation of your apps, as well as features that place the customer at the center of the experience.

Storytelling in Sales

People are much more engaged with stories than with hard facts. Use interesting stories in your sales decks and presentation in order to help highlight your business’s strengths and create a feeling of “relatability” within your audience.

Storytelling in Company Culture

To at least some extent, your company’s people are the living and breathing representations of your story. Think of corporations like Google and Apple, both of which lean on their unique corporate cultures as the heart of how they do business. As an organization, who are you are, where you come from, and why you do what you do often makes for a very compelling story.

Storytelling in Customer Service

For Zappos, customer service IS the story. Zappos employees will stay on the phone with customers for 8 hours or longer just to fulfill the high customer service expectations set forth for and by customers. And, Zappos’ customer service commitment actually inspired an entire book called Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, which essentially contains a collection of stories the culminate in the overall Zappos brand story.

If you’re not focusing on your brand’s story in all areas of your business, maybe it’s time to shift the paradigm – to begin thinking about how your great tale might best be told. Our Florida marketing agency can help you find and focus on a brand story worth sharing with your customers. Contact us today to let us help you refine your approach, and develop strategies to create a library of success stories!

Frequently Asked Questions on Brand Messaging

Brand messaging is critical to the health of your business. Here’s a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about the subject.

Every business owner wants to build deep, long-lasting relationships with customers. Brand messaging is the mechanism by which this is accomplished. Every communication an enterprise engages in should be done with proper brand messaging in mind.

When done right, it inspires, informs, persuades and catalyzes audiences. When done poorly, it can do serious reputational harm.

Now that we’ve understood the stakes involved, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions business owners have about brand messaging.

Brand Messaging FAQ

1. I’m a brand messaging neophyte — can you explain what it means in two sentences?

Sure. Brand messaging is the language, voice, tone, and ideas that a business uses to convey its core value proposition and company values.

2. Can you give me an example?

Absolutely. The classic Nike slogan “Just Do It” is a famous example of potent brand messaging. It distills the company’s ethos into three unforgettable words.

3. What are the qualities that make brand messaging effective?

The same qualities that make interpersonal communication effective, for the most part. Great brand messaging resonates with audiences and builds a connection. It inspires, catalyzes audiences into action and engenders a sense of personal identification with the brand. It’s how lifestyle brands are created and lifelong customers are made.

4. What happens when brand messaging goes wide of the mark?

If you’re lucky, audiences simply won’t respond to it. In situations where brands badly misjudge their voice or misunderstand their audience, poor brand messaging can alienate people, anger them, and turn them into another brand’s loyal customers.

5. So how does one create effective brand messaging?

Here’s where things get a bit more challenging. First, brands need to identify and segment their audience. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re just throwing darts in the dark. Do research, identify your audience, and query them. What motivates them? What matters to them? How do they engage with brands?  By understanding the answers to these questions, brands can then draw a line between their customers’ motivations and their own products and services, their values, and their unique value proposition. 

6. What else is important?

One word: Differentiation. When you’re developing a brand messaging strategy, it’s natural to review what your competitors are doing. After all, you’re targeting the same audience, so there should be some overlap between your messaging strategy. That said, it’s critical to differentiate your product or service. Sometimes you can accomplish this through features or innovations, but in many industries, it’s the branding itself that is the primary differentiator. So while you want your messaging to be informed by what your competitors are doing, you don’t want to follow what they are doing. Develop your own unique, differentiated voice and message.

7. Any other tips?

Yes. Consumers are inundated by advertising and marketing messages, so it’s important to develop language and themes that stand out. Seek to be compelling and memorable, rather than aiming for a bland, middle of the road voice designed to appeal to the broadest possible demographic. It’s also critically important to be clear and concise — audiences will disengage immediately if you’re sending confusing messages. Place the audience at the center of the story and explain to them exactly what your brand can do for them. Make sure that your messaging comes through in every bit of content or communication you author, and always ensure your brand speaks in a unified and consistent voice.

Finding the Right Brand Messaging Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts when it comes to resonant brand messaging. Whether you’re looking for an innovative approach to brand video or new, tech-forward ways to reach your desired audiences, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about what a sophisticated brand messaging strategy can do for your firm.

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How Brands are Winning Over Customers by Being Genuinely Authentic

The authentic arms race: A competitive route that can only be won by working with a branding agency to help position your messaging genuinely.

You don’t need to run a branding agency to understand that consumers crave authenticity. Given that most of us are continually bombarded with advertising and marketing, it’s natural that we seek messages that connect on something deeper than a purely commercial level.
Technology has exacerbated our impatience with inauthentic branding. We live in an age of Instagram filters, perfectly curated social media accounts, Photoshop, and even outright digital manipulation. In an environment where people are surrounded by the phony and the superficial, it’s little wonder that they desire something raw, real and unmediated.

And that’s a desire that today’s savviest brands are trying to accommodate.

Two tips for creating authentic connections

We’ve established that people crave authenticity. So now let’s talk about two strategies that brands can execute to create messaging that resonates.

1. Be human when developing your brand voice

For as long as consumer society has existed, its primary mode of communication has been a bland, neutered form of corporate-speak, designed to minimize the odds that someone, somewhere might take offense. Yet while this tone may not offend anyone, it’s also not going to challenge, engage or excite anyone, either. Time to take a risk!

Too often small to mid-sized businesses adopt this generic brand voice out of insecurity — they mistakenly believe they will be perceived as “unprofessional” if they opt for something too colorful, lively, edgy, etc.

The truth, however, is that people want to hear brands speak in human-sounding language. They want brands to interact with them the same way that people in their social networks do. This is partially because Twitter and other social platforms are absolutely overrun with bots. A recent Pew study showed that an astonishing 66% of shared links on Twitter were generated by bots, versus utilizing a branding agency.

In order to be perceived as authentic, brands must speak in a recognizably human voice. They should also be familiar with the social conventions of the platforms on which they are communicating.

Fast food companies are the masters of this kind of consumer marketing interaction. KFC, Burger King, Arby’s and other chains love to propagate clever memes on Twitter and poke sly fun at themselves. They are also highly adept at taking trending topics and relating it to their own brand — and people, of course, eat it up(no pun intended).

2. Standing up — and standing out — for a good cause

Over the last year, we’ve seen several examples of brands creating an authentic connection with consumers by taking a public stand on social issues. Patagonia’s “The President Stole Your Land” was a fierce bit of advocacy marketing. It delivered a stinging indictment of a powerful figure couched in simple language. It was also deeply authentic and perfectly in line with Patagonia’s brand identity.

Gillette’s famously polarizing “toxic masculinity” ad was a much larger gamble, as its message wasn’t guaranteed to resonate with much of the company’s customer base. Though it was criticized in some quarters, it was joyously received in others, while raising Gillette’s brand profile exponentially.

Brands will often attempt to earn goodwill and position themselves as good citizens by offering general statements of support for various social causes or donating money. These gestures, though well-intentioned, are usually forgotten almost immediately. Not so with Patagonia and Gillette, who turned their social advocacy into a deeply felt, authentic message.

Finding the right branding agency

At BIGEYE, we help our clients create deeply authentic marketing messages, while also giving them the advanced technological tools they need for effective targeting and distribution.

If you’d like to hear more about what an authentic marketing campaign can do for you, please reach out to us today.

Warning: This Blog Post May Lead to Cuteness Overload

Prepare for an emotional overload! Work with a brand development company to help craft an ad that pulls at the heartstrings and connects consumers.

Any good brand development company knows that emotional resonance is one of the keys to great advertising. If you can move someone emotionally, there’s an excellent chance you’ll be moving some product soon afterward.
Obviously, not all emotions are created equal in this sense. Brands making a habit of sending audiences into a hot rage probably wouldn’t be beneficial.

But joy? Wonder? Delight?

If you can master those feelings throughout your brand messaging the way Disney has, your brand has unlimited potential.

Disney and the science of “cute overload”

You’ve probably noticed that people are naturally drawn to cute things, with babies, puppies, and kittens serving as exhibits A, B, and C.

But baby ducks might be the cutest of them all. Small, squeaky, and equipped with adorably goofy bills and oversized webbed feet, baby ducks are certainly in the Pantheon of Cuddly Animals.

Disney’s recent ad showcasing its EuroDisney theme park exposed our collective love of baby ducks in brilliant fashion. The story plays out like this: A tiny, lonely baby duck finds an old Donald Duck comic book in a field and is instantly infatuated. The duckling mimics Donald’s poses and seems to spend all his time absorbed in the book’s pages.

Unfortunately, a change of season comes in the form of a nasty thunderstorm and some seasonal migration. The duckling has to leave his beloved comic book behind, as he flies away to parts unknown with the rest of the flock.

In a heartwarming twist, however, the flock’s new home just happens to be on the outskirts of EuroDisney. Who does the duckling see standing in front of the theme park? Donald Duck himself, resplendently clad in his customary three-sizes-too-small sailor suit.

The duckling runs to Donald, hugs him and closes his eyes in sheer bliss — striking the same pose that millions of children visiting Disneyworld have also experienced after meeting Donald, Mickey, Minnie, etc.

It’s a pretty brilliant advertisement — even for a company that specializes in creating this kind of magic. If you’re a brand or a brand development company, it also provides a good opportunity to examine just why this approach is so effective.

As it turns out, it’s all in our DNA.

Why the cuteness sells

It’s not uncommon to see someone pinch a baby’s rosy red cheeks. Or, to hear someone utter the (slightly unnerving) phrase “you’re so cute I could just eat you up” when in the presence of a baby.

So why do humans feel a compulsion to pinch and squeeze babies and puppies?

Science has an answer. According to a 2015 study conducted by Yale psychologist Oriana Aragon, the feelings that adorably cute babies and animals inspire in us are so overwhelming that we instinctively follow them up with feelings of aggression. The general idea is that humans are designed to maintain emotional equilibrium. The presence of a baby (or an adorable duckling) sparks such an emotional reaction within us that we immediately compensate by thinking or acting in a more traditionally aggressive manner.

That’s a fascinating finding — and one with interesting implications for any brand development company, as well as the advertising and marketing industry as a whole. If emotional resonance is the Holy Grail of connecting with audiences, cuteness overload might be the map that helps brands discover it.

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we help brands create the kind of advertising and marketing campaigns that inspire and delight audiences. If you’re not getting maximum value from your current marketing approach, please contact us today to learn what we can do for you.

Warm Messages, Cold Devices: Branding Authentic Digital Connections

It is not difficult to understand why consumers respond to a personal connection, as the evidence is overwhelming. Consider the persistent power of word-of-mouth advertising, for example. Today’s companies can create an extraordinarily sophisticated and insightful marketing campaign — support this campaign with bleeding-edge technological tools — and still lose a customer, simply because she was given a different word-of-mouth recommendation.
Marketing, at its core, attempts to facilitate these kinds of personal connections between brands and their audiences, whether intellectual or emotional. When this is done well, it creates brand intimacy, a close, personal and enduring bond between people and the companies they use and love.

Yet these all-important human connections must be forged in an era where people are becoming increasingly atomized and distant. Fifty years ago, people joined fraternal organizations, participated in civic life, went bowling together and lived in relatively close proximity.

Today, popular fraternal organizations such as the Lions Club or Rotary Club have withered, civic participation is at record lows, bowling leagues are considered retro entertainment, and suburban sprawl has created unprecedented physical distance between neighbors.

These developments have created a tear in the social fabric of society, as the public commons have grown ever smaller, and people fail to socialize and form connections. Mutual trust is also at record lows, as we continue to retreat into private spaces rather than the public sphere.

All of this raises a few important questions: Is technology to blame for societal atomization? Are our devices alienating us from each other?

If so, how should marketers respond?

Technology and its distancing effect on audiences

People have always looked to technology as a means of reducing distance. The telegraph and telephone brought unimaginable change to the 19th century; television and the Internet did the same for the 20th century.

Yet while technology may offer a soldier the opportunity to speak with his children from thousands of miles away — facilitating a profound human connection in the process — that same technology can also have an alienating effect.

Walk into any restaurant today, and you’ll inevitably witness two people sitting across from each other idly scanning their smartphones rather than speaking, or even looking at each other. This scenario is now so common as to be almost the default expectation. Research has shown that when mobile devices are present in a face-to-face interaction, both empathy levels, and attention wane.

Theoretically, smartphones and social platforms have given us much greater (near total, in some cases) visibility into each other’s lives, something that should facilitate greater connections. Yet social media is often full of artifice; a hyper-curated representation that bears little relationship to lived reality, and too often inspires feelings of anxiety, envy or sadness in others. For all of its communal pretensions, social media is often an alienating experience.

The truth is simple: People change at glacial pace and technology changes at breakneck speed. The changes we’ve experienced, particularly in the last 30 years, have been extraordinary, and we still have little notion as to the long-term effect.

Whether this is ultimately for good or ill is an open question. It does, however, present a specific challenge for brands seeking to create meaningful connections with audiences in this environment: How can we forge human connections through machines that are often alienating in their effect?

How brands create human connection across machines

The correlation of a warm human connection delivered via a cold collection of hardware and software is a striking one. Humans, at our core, have always had mixed feelings about technology — one look at dystopian science fiction makes this techno-anxiety palpable.

Brands, of course, are highly motivated to create these invaluable connections, and they understand how powerfully modern technology can facilitate them. This means that brands must strike a delicate balance: Use technology to deliver compelling and emotionally resonant marketing messages without tapping into broader human anxiety about that technology.

Marketing campaigns for Charter, one of the world’s largest telecommunications firms, provide a good example of how to thread this needle. Charter’s TV commercials have a notable tendency to depict large groups of people singing and dancing while surrounded by computers, screens, and other devices. In this representation, the technology is present, but it takes a definite backseat to humans interacting together within their natural social context.

Technology firms aren’t the only organizations attempting to take a more humanistic approach to advertising and marketing. Charter’s campaigns are following a larger trend toward brand personalization and human experience.

Aviation firm JetBlue created its clever “Air on the Side of Humanity” campaign to connect with air travelers who felt alienated by the impersonal process of taking commercial flights. A generation ago, boarding a plane did not require navigating strict security protocols, and the experience was far more relaxed. JetBlue’s campaign skillfully highlights the “chicken run meets DMV” aspect of modern flying and positions the company as a more humanistic alternative, simply by acknowledging how cold and impersonal commercial flight often feels.

The banking sector has also become rapidly depersonalized in recent years, as automation and other technologies have reduced the need for tellers. Thanks to ATMs and online banking, many people may go months or even years without speaking to someone at their bank. The primary tradeoff for this efficiency is, of course, the human touch.

In order to compensate, BMO, TD Bank and other financial services firms have created advertising campaigns that emphasize the “human” angle of their business. Meanwhile, global insurer Liberty Mutual dispensed with subtlety altogether, using “Human” — the Human League’s inescapable number one single from 1986 — as background music for a high-profile ad that ran during the 2012 London Olympics.

These efforts illustrate the value of an authentically human and personal approach to marketing messaging. Today, so many of our interactions with the companies we patronize are not only mediated through technology but wholly lacking any human connection. Consider how virtual receptionists attempt to route your calls and answer your questions without the need for a person. Or consider the proliferation of A.I.-powered chatbots; most of them are programmed to sound human, and nearly all of them utterly fail in the attempt.

These approaches may be more efficient, but they are often alienating, and make those on the other end feel unimportant. As A.I. and machine learning evolve and mature, our interactions with businesses will grow ever more distant. This means that marketing messages need to be more authentic, resonant and personalized than ever before.

By making an effort to close the alienating distance created by technology, brands can create the kind of deep and meaningful connections that inspire persistent loyalty among audiences.

The takeaway

Technology is a double-edged sword in terms of fostering connections. While it removes the impediment of physical distance, it often creates a different sort of distance, more emotional or psychological in nature.

Brands that prioritize authentic human connection in their messaging will be best positioned to mitigate the distancing and alienating effect of technology — ultimately creating the kind of deep personal bonds that create brand intimacy and earn long-term loyalty.

Looking to refocus your brand messaging and campaigns to provide more human-like connections with your audience? You’ve come to the right place. Contact our team today and we’ll get started!