How to create a sense of “Reveal”

Reality TV is ripe with programs that build a story around their characters as the season progresses.

Whether it’s home renovators, singers or amateur chefs, these shows all have two things in common when telling a story that keeps us watching.

Firstly, they set up tension between characters as they put people into unlikely scenarios of competition or team companionship. Stakes are high and pressure is on, and this provides drama that keeps the audience entertained.

Emotion is powerful.

I’m not suggesting you have a cook-off with your competitors. But you can show that you fight for a worthy cause, report progress, and build a team of people that believe in a common vision.

Creating drama in your brand story is a powerful way of connecting with your audience.

The second thing reality tv does is build a sense of “Reveal”.

The nights that get the highest viewer numbers, and are by far the most intense to watch, are the nights where we finally see the results of the previous episodes.

The story unfolds, the relationships simmer. The suspense is undeniably drawn out, with commentary and adverts – until, finally, the new room, or the last challenge, or the best meal, is finally revealed.

Why is this so compelling?

And, importantly, how can we create the same experience for our clients?

If you run events, then a “launch sequence” is a contrived way of building suspense and revealing your offer.

This works as a tactic, but I’m talking about something deeper and more important than that.

How can you make your clients yearn to hear more from you, to find the final piece of the puzzle, to hear the end of the story?

Create a story arc with your brand messages. Tell people where you have come from. Show them the results they will achieve. Guide them through the terrain they’ll see on their journey.

Use real humans as examples, complete with names and faces and experiences.

Your brand story can be as large or small as you need, and the more you think of it as a “story”, the more compelling you will be able to make it.

And you, and your clients, will live happily ever after.

Not as important

Your logo: not as important as you think

The golden arches – everyone knows them, they’re a worldwide phenomenon and one of the most recognisable symbols of our time. As I drive down the highway with my kids, every time we see a McDonald’s sign I’m reminded of the love this logo inspires.

Why do we have such a reaction to a curved yellow “M”?

A bunch of other shapes immediately spring to mind when we think of famous logos, like the Nike “swoosh” and the Mercedes star.

What do these logos mean?

(And why didn’t McDonald’s choose a picture of a hamburger to represent them?)

Logos of big brands are given meaning in our minds by the communication and marketing around them, by the experiences and memories we have of their the products and services they represent.

The teams of marketers who work on these brands craft their communication so that the logo is associated with a particular feeling or message, over and over again. Eventually, like Pavlov’s dogs, we see the logo and experience with the feeling.

The task for these marketers can actually be easier if the logo they’re using doesn’t have a prior meaning in your mind. It gives them a unique space to start their work.

So important factors in any logo they work with are being unique, simple and memorable.

But here’s the sting: you probably don’t have the budget of McDonald’s, and you need to see a more immediate return from your promotions.

The logo you use is far less important for you than you think.

Yes, your logo represents who you are. Yes, it needs to be professional. Yes, you need it to make a good first impression.

Your logo needs to support your goals and align visually with your values.

But don’t let logo design stop you from doing real work. Clients are going to be affected far more by their experience with you and your product, than by your logo.

For small business owners promotion is less about long-term branding and more about the connection you make, the offer you give, and the response you get.

Spend less time vacillating on your logo and focus on what you can do for your clients to give them a truly fulfilling experience.