Back in the 1940s, psychologists Fritz Heide and Marianne Mayer conducted an experiment. They found that the subjects' animated films consisted of a rectangle with an opening, plus a circle, and two triangles in motion.
Participants were then asked to briefly describe what they saw in the film. Before you read on, see it for yourself. I'll be here when you come back.
So, what do you see? Of all the study participants, only one responded: "There's an open rectangle, plus a circle, and two triangles in motion." The rest developed complex stories about simple geometric shapes.
Many attendees concluded that the Latest Mailing Database circle and the little triangle were in love, the circles that evil gray triangles tried to hurt or kidnap. Others take it a step further, that the blue triangle fights back against the more harmful triangle, letting his love escape back inside, where they soon date, hug, and live happily ever after.
At this point, you think it's crazy.
The Heide-Simmel experiment became the initial basis for attribution theory , which describes how people interpret the behavior of others, themselves, and, apparently, geometric shapes on the go.
More importantly, things people explain in terms of stories . We tell our own stories as a way of explaining our experience of reality, even when no stories are being told intentionally.
Yes, we tell ourselves stories about brands, products and services. Whether you're consciously telling a story or not, the prospect is also telling himself a story about you.
you tell a story? More importantly, does this resonate with the way the story prospects and customers see things?
It's key to knowing what your prospects need to hear and when they need to hear it as part of your overall content marketing strategy. And in the online, information-rich world where prospects have all the power, this is your only chance to control the narrative.
What kind of story to tell?
You need to tell a Star Wars story. And by, I mean, you need to take your prospects along the journey of a content marketing version of the mythical hero.
In Hero with a Thousand Faces , Joseph Campbell identifies "monomyth" - the common basic structure to myths that have survived for thousands of years. These monumental myths from different times and regions, Campbell's logo inspired modern storytellers to consciously craft work following the Monomyth framework, also known as the hero's journey .
Of those inspired by the Hero's Journey, the most notable is George Lucas, who acknowledges Campbell's work with the plot Star Wars Origins . As a content marketer, you can also consciously incorporate monomyth into your rollout, funnel, and general editorial calendar.
The image above shows the Hero's Journey, which can be broken down into more detailed general elements than explained here. It's important to note that not all monomythic stories contain every aspect, but the original Star Wars faithfully followed nearly every element of the hero's journey.
Let's focus on the first two steps of the journey, before the journey to the "ordinary world" really begins. Here's how these elements came about in Star Wars .
Luke is an ordinary world living on his home planet, working on the family farm.
"Call to Adventure" is a holographic message by Princess Leia, the classic Princess R2-D2 in distress.
Luke initially refused to call due to his family obligations until his aunt and uncle were killed.
Luke meets his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who convinces Luke to continue with his heroic journey.
Obi-Wan gave Luke the gift that determined his fate - his father's lightsaber.
How does this apply to content marketing? Simple. As I mentioned last time: