We humans are endlessly fascinated by the strengths and weaknesses that jumble together to make us who we are.
In storytelling, there are universal themes and characters we see over and over again. None quite as endlessly fascinating as that of the hero.
The Hero’s Journey:
Through much of the last century, Joseph Campbell explored The Hero’s Journey, his work picked up and explored/adapted for use amongst screenwriters by Christopher Vogler and others.
And since then, by marketers.
Start with the questions:
In screenwriting, you have characters. In brand marketing, you have personas. As your write and research them, you need to ask yourself a laundry list of important questions.
With a little adaptation, Vogler’s questions can apply to your brand.
The temptation will be to make the brand the hero.
Don’t be that brand:
People are the heroes of their own lives, not the brands they interact with. So resist every urge in your body to make your brand the hero and instead make your primary persona the hero.
They are critical to your brand story.
So, how well do you know your personas?
Do you know them like you would know a best friend or relative?
Borrow a little help from Christopher Vogler and get to know them intimately by following these simple steps.
- Do a complete biographical sketch, specifying personal history, education, family background, job experiences, dislikes and prejudices, preference in food, clothing, hair, cars, etc…
- What ideas, events, and people have had a great influence on your persona?
- How is your persona incomplete? Get specific about the persona needs, desires, goals, wounds, fantasies, wishes, flaws, quirks, regrets, defenses, weaknesses, and neuroses.
- Is there anything that could lead to your persona’s downfall?
- If so, what could save him/her?
- Does your persona have both an inner and outer problem?
- Does he/she have a universal human need?
- How does he/she go about getting that need met?
If your brand bible fully understands their:
Then you can better understand how your brand and story ideas can help.
Knowing Your Personas
Get into the head-space of your personas.
Think of the questions and concerns they would ask themselves. Try and get into their head by understanding:
1) What problem are they trying to solve and what has turned up the heat around it enough for them to prioritize finding a solution?
2) If they go with us, how will they know our solution has worked (how will they measure it)
3) What’s preventing them from running with us?
4) What’s the criteria against which all solutions are being judged?
5) How the persona fits into the scheme of the buying decision.
Once you’ve answered all these questions you should be able to start tackling the next big one… “How does your brand interact with your personas and how do you help them achieve their needs?”
And that’s when it really gets fun.