Storytelling with Hallmark

Storytelling is a tool marketers use in order to frame a message which will lead to a brand’s point of difference. Luckily, marketers do not have to look far to understand a robust framework for setting up a brand story. Donald Miller is the author of Building a StoryBrand and he lays out the six steps needed to be a successful storyteller. Let’s dive in.

The Six Steps of Storytelling

The first step is building a character. Identify the character and make the character the hero in the story, not your brand. In the example of Hallmark’s 2019 campaign “Mom’s Love is for Always”, we see the character being the mother of the ad.

The second step of storytelling is the problem. The problem in the Hallmark ad was that the daughter was growing up on the mother too quickly. The scene shows the daughter yelling at her mother to get out of the bathroom, possibly making the mother feel less loved.

The third and fourth steps are where the character meets a guide who understands them and gives them a plan. In this case, the guide happens to be the daughter herself as her older version. The grown daughter hands her mother a Thank You card with a sweet message inside, showing the mother that she is understood and still loved after all.

The fifth step to a successful story is having a call to action. For Hallmark, the simple words came across the screen “When you care enough to cherish every moment” and it ends with the hashtag #CareEnough. This lets the character know to care enough to send a card. It is also a great way to ask audiences to get involved in a social media hashtag campaign.

The sixth and final step of the brand story framework is the result of character’s path; success or failure. Success means the story was a success with the brand’s product. Failure means the character failed in their story because they didn’t have the brand’s product to help them. For Hallmark, the character’s journey was a success. A touching card to show you are loved is all the mother was looking for. This reflects on all mothers in the audience of this ad.

The Takeaway

The audience of mothers can relate to this ad very well. It’s touching and heartfelt and puts the audience right at the center of the entire storyline. Following these six steps from best-selling author Donald Miller will surely lead you as a marketer to become a successful storyteller for your brand.

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