Storytelling Marketing – Lessons Learned From the 2016 Presidential Primaries


By Jeremy Raglin

One of the biggest news items dominating this year has been the 2016 Presidential Primaries since the White House is up for grabs and the race has been intense between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Through it, all storytelling marketing has been a key marketing tactic that every candidate has been able to use successfully or unsuccessfully this year.

Now that Trump and Clinton both have their respective nominations locked up and the battle for the White House all comes down to these two candidates (as many people knew that it always would) we can look back at the Presidential Primaries and see where storytelling marketing has succeeded and failed during the Presidential Primaries.

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Hillary Clinton

If you follow politics, you know that Hillary Clinton has been in public service for over 30 years and during her career, she’s been the wife of President Bill Clinton, who served 8 years as President of the United States, she’s also been a Senator, and Secretary of State under President Obama.

Love or hate HRC she’s been the top candidate for President that most Democrats have rallied around this year and she’s been able to successfully craft a story which portrays her as a loving wife, mother, grandmother and advocate for the working class.

Although many people may have an issue with Mrs. Clinton’s storytelling, the reality is that her stories are resonating with voters on both sides of the political spectrum and they are willing to look past the considerable “baggage” that she brings with her and potentially elect her as the first female President of the United States.

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Donald Trump

He’s also been in the spotlight for over 30 years as well and even though Donald Trump has never run for political office before Mr. Trump has been able to successfully use storytelling marketing to portray himself as a Republican, in spite of his past ties to Democrats like the Clintons. He’s also been able to successfully create “stories” that he’s used throughout his campaign which paint the United States as a country that’s on the brink of collapse and needs to be saved.

Like Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump also has considerable “baggage” that Democrats have been able to use against him, Trump has brushed off many of these stories and accusations but the reality is that their efforts at storytelling marketing have swayed many Republican voters to support Hillary Clinton than any other Democrat candidate in the past.

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Ted Cruz

When the Presidential Primaries began in 2015 Ted Cruz was a top contender that everyone talked about but when we began 2016 one thing was clear, Mr. Cruz lacked a real story that appealed to voters and worse yet his attempts at marketing his message got worse as the primaries moved forward while Trump succeeds with storytelling marketing especially when he branded Cruz with the nickname Lyin Ted.

Sadly, Cruz is the perfect example of what could have been and also an example of how important it is for any politician or company to develop the story for their brand BEFORE they decide to launch their enterprise or else they will find themselves scrambling, trying to figure out what they stand for or who they should be marketing to long after they’ve been in business.

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How Storytelling Marketing Can Work For You

When it comes to storytelling marketing the key to success is first focusing on what you or your brand has to offer your clients then create stories for them which show why they should choose you versus your competitors.

Storytelling marketing is a great marketing tactic to use in 2016 because people like reading stories and it will help you to connect with your potential customers in a matter that won’t seem like you’re always selling to them.

It doesn’t matter if you own a small store in the Midwest, or you’re thinking about running for public office, you should really focus on your story, or the “why” you do what you do, because, understanding the “why” will help you to create stories that your potential clients will be able to connect with and motivate them to choose your business because they feel like your brand best resonates with them compared to your competitors who may have fancier marketing or charge less than you.

Storytelling Marketing

What’s In It for Me?

Remember when practicing the art of storytelling marketing as in Politics people are always asking one question “what’s in it for me?” or WIFM as we call it in the sales world. This means that you have to tell a good story but also make sure that it connects with the reader so they know how your product, service or solution can benefit them or else they will lose interest in you FAST.

Some good examples of modern storytelling in today’s top brands include Allstate with their great mayhem commercials, Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World, Apple and their funny iPhone6 commercials, Microsoft, Walmart and more! There are so many excellent examples of storytelling to choose from in print and all other forms of media.

Use Presuppositions in Your Storytelling Marketing

Another great example of storytelling marketing is the use of presuppositions and during the 2016 Presidential Primaries Donald Trump has been excelling with this by using his “Make America Great Again” slogan which tells a story in one line since it gets people thinking about their childhoods, replaying a “story” in their heads, yearning to have an America like what they would have considered to be great in the past.

In business you can use presuppositions in your storytelling marketing in a variety of ways, here are a few examples:

  • Make your garden great again.
  • Start swimming again.
  • Slim down again.
  • Make your business profitable again.

Focus On Your Story

Regardless if you’re selling tee shirts or diapers your goal as a business should be to first focus on your story because, it doesn’t matter if you’re offering a product, service or solution, storytelling marketing is all about giving people a compelling story that motivates them to buy something from your or start following you online so they will buy from you in the future.

Learn More

To learn more about how you can use storytelling marketing in your business contact me at (541) 604-1777 for a free consultation and I will help you create an awesome story that you can use to connect with more customers and grow your business.