Strategic Advantage 

Marketing, Social Media and Business Strategies

Blog - The Strategic Advantage Web Log

Thought leadership for business development.


What’s Your Story?

June 28th, 2017 by Dale Jones

“… A story that resonates helps us to deeply believe in ourselves, individually and collectively, and in the vision for the collective experience.” Harvard Business Review

When our kids were little, they would eagerly snuggle up on the couch to read over and again favorites such as Fuzzy Tail Bunny, Guess How Much I Love You or any book that would take us to Narnia or Wonderland.

Many recall with nostalgia gatherings around the kitchen table, hearing and telling stories about legendary relatives or perhaps amazing peers or simply the day’s events. These instances are the beginnings and ongoing catalysts for most people’s appreciation for story.

Storybooks to faith gatherings and beyond, we are continually drawn into the antics, emotion, trials, lessons and the humor of stories. Storytelling is in our nature; it is the way we most naturally communicate and engage with each other.

Storytelling touches our hearts as well as our heads.  Stories provide credibility and emotion. Credible ideas make people believe. Emotional ideas make people act.

So what is your story? Is it relevant?
Tell me a fact and I’ll learn.
Tell me a truth
and I’ll believe.
But tell me a story
and it will live in my heart forever.
- Native American Proverb

Strategic Storytelling is the use of this timeless and infinitely familiar craft to focus and inspire brands, businesses and people.

Imagine yourself at a meeting with a venture capitalist. You need a few million dollars to launch a new technology that will remove pollutants from water at almost no cost. You might present a few dozen data packed slides showing revenues, costs, discounted cash flows, and projected profitability.

Now imagine relating a story about what inspired you to create the technology in the first place… about a trip you made to Africa, where you found millions of people suffering from an inadequate water supply, and how one family in this little village lost their children as a result.

Then, you describe a scene where this new technology has been implemented in that village, and the entire village now has an inexhaustible supply of clean water. There are no more deaths as a result.

Stories are powerful influencers, perhaps more than any other influencer.

Storytelling is the new differentiator. Facts and figures, specifications and price are all still important. But it takes stories to connect with customers on an emotional level. The motivation to choose one brand over another – when the choices are endless – is triggered by emotion.



Leveraging the ‘Long Tail’ in Your Marketing

June 20th, 2017 by Dale Jones

“The Long Tail” … a phrase that has been imbedded into our consciousness by Chris Anderson, executive editor of WIRED magazine through his book, The Long Tail.

Since gaining popularity, the term has been used to describe everything from viral media, guerilla marketing and grassroots campaigns to niche marketing and blogging.

More than just brand exposure, using ‘The Long Tail’ begins by building trust with those most likely to both listen, as well as spread your message.

The “Long Tail” as Anderson describes it is much longer, much thicker and more lucrative than any of us may have initially realized. We need to explore new niches, or go deeper into a niche we may have already found.

People are tired of buying the same old thing – cookie cutter products and or services. We all tire of being lumped together with the rest of our supposed demographic. While demographic profiling may help determine broad trends, it will never reflect the individual tastes and nuances. And, though seemingly simplistic, the time has never been better to seek and find specialized niches and market to those hungering for such.

Five Steps To Consider When Leveraging the ‘Long Tail’ in Your Marketing

1. Messaging is Critical: Using the Long Tail focuses your marketing message on clients – treating them as individuals with unique interests and needs – new niches.

2. Focus: Take the time to carefully hone a message that’s highly relevant to each of your target niches. Speak to them on their terms, not your own. It is better to reach a few hundred people who are enthusiastically listening to your message than a few thousand who aren’t.

3. Choose the correct tools to support your message: Media neutrality is key. Should you use traditional media? Social media? Or a combination of both? Use your basic research and your communications objectives as a guide; consider the types of social and traditional media tools that meet your objectives. Look at ways to extend the message from a standard press release into multiple social media venues such as video and blogs. Exploring smaller niche sites, bloggers and other influential online contributors are also critical. These are the individuals and media outlets that make up the Long Tail, where a large number of highly targeted messages can have as much impact as a single, big media marketing campaign.

4. Provide valuable content: Understand what your clients want to know and deliver it to them in a relevant and compelling way. Delivery of valuable, relevant and compelling content to your clients and on a consistent basis says you want to relationship. You want to communicate, to understand their needs and be willing to provide relevant services and products to help them.

5. Take a position as a thought leader: Achieve a unique identity – demonstrating leading-edge knowledge. Make your potential and existing clients feel wiser, smarter and safer in your hands. Whenever possible, provide them with news, video, links and other valuable content. The more trustworthy your approach and the more genuine your shared interest, the more receptive your audience is likely to be.