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They want in on your plot.

Compare and contrast enough benefits, and pretty soon it’s clear that many communities offer many of the same things. Shift the conversation from the whats to the who, though, and the differences emerge: Those people in that community are nice, but these people over here? They feel like my kind of people. Think of it this way. While your marketing says what you offer, it should also tell the story of who you are. Because when future residents hear your story, they’ll want their own chapters – they’ll want in on your plot.

“You can grow here,” a resident said, and others nodded in emphatic agreement.

“It’s what this place does to your heart,” a resident said, to churchlike “Yessss!” exclamations of those sitting nearby.

It’s titanic.

Iceberg tips, those remarks are (and good ad headlines). Because they point to a big thing beneath. “‘If you visualize an iceberg, the storytelling part is the part that’s above water and the story framework is the larger part that’s underneath the water.’” That’s Douwe Bergsma, CMO of Georgia-Pacific, in a recent AdAge piece. For him, storytelling is “a fundamental strategic approach to how to view your communication efforts across all touchpoints.” In that sense, it’s a tale that never ends.

How to? Greg Satell in Forbes  brusquely maps it out. “We need to shift from crafting messages to creating experiences. Brands can no longer rely on slogans and jingles, but must learn to tell stories.” His observations include:

  • Stories captivate us, holding us “spellbound as we wait to see what happens next.”
  • Stories are discovered and require time to develop.
  • Stories become a coherent whole when there’s consistency in the storytelling.
  • “Stories, when told well, are not mere containers for a brand message, but advocates of brand potential that has yet to be discovered.”

Got a name?

Who is your community, and what’s your story? In “He Who Dances on Wood,” Fred Nelson calls out the Native American tradition of “looking at what a person does and naming them that, because that is what their life is about.” Discover that name for your community, and you’ll also discover its story. Then tell the story in everything you show and do, and your future residents will join your plot.


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