What if you could have one of the most iconic and visionary directors step into the role of marketing director? What if that someone was the legendary Alfred Hitchcock?
Hitchcock is known for his signature style of strategic storytelling and stage direction to create an air of suspense for his viewers. So the question is, what would Hitchcock bring to the table if he was at the masthead of your company?
Ask anyone what made Hitchcock so captivating and they would tell you it was the story. In today’s era, which relies on sensationalism and dazzling visuals, Hitchcock would seem rather outdated. However, even today people are drawn to this classics like Rebecca, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Birds, Psycho and even the Alfred Hitchcock Hour of short vignettes with stories that still tap into something in us. That something comes from the art of storytelling – equally as powerful today as it was fifty or five hundred years ago.
Stepping up to the marketing helm the first thing Hitchcock would do is assess your storytelling method – in other words, how you build your messaging – and then he’d gut it. Hitchcock preferred to create a non-linear timeline, knowing that an A to Z timeline is predictable but a pattern of conversation is much more captivating. That’s what Hitchcock often carried out in his films: building through character dialogue. So rather than telling or pushing your message on your audience, Hitchcock would bring marketing minions to the roundtable and brainstorm ways to build narratives through dialogue.
When you are building that dialogue, Hitchcock would ensure that your brand doesn’t lay all their cards on the table. He’d want to layer the story and add new dimensions without ever getting to a clear punchline. In practical terms, even if your brand is the solution, you want to explore every cavity of the problem you’re facing. Your job is to treat the problem like a carefully constructed plot that you’ll guide the audience through rather than treating the problem with some clumsy whack-a-mole plan.
That’s where Hitchcock’s mastery really comes in. He never gives all the details. In fact, the brilliance of his storytelling – and what makes his brand so timeless – is in the fact that he allows the audience to contribute in the dialogue and build it up with near equal participation as key figures themselves.
For Hitchcock, the story would become the brand. That is why the name “Hitchcock” precedes him more powerfully than any story he told. This is a powerful potential for any company that is branching out into different brands or a diving into other markets.
Use the Hitchcock guide to storytelling to build the conversation alongside your audience while your competition is trying to master it. With information moving as quickly as it does – with the proverbial real world plot thickening – it’s going to be impossible to be ahead of the story controlling it at every turn, every time. You’re better off building the story with and through your audience rather than for them.
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