From propaganda-style messaging and the problem-solution framework, Marketing is due for a serious upgrade. Two-Fold tales is a simple framework to follow for more interesting marketing messaging.
What’s a Two-Fold Tale?
A two-fold tale is a story that has two parts or aspects.
This could mean a story that has two distinct plot lines or characters, or a story that can be interpreted in two different ways.
The Overused Trope of “Overcoming Pain” in Marketing
Like the overused cliche of a “bleeding neck problem” in marketing, the false vulnerability of pain is often portrayed in a generic and uninspired manner. Many marketers have jumped on the bandwagon of using pain to sell their products or services, but the stories they tell often lack authenticity and originality.
For example, we often hear stories of people who have overcome great challenges or hardships, such as working themselves to the point of illness, struggling in a corporate job, or suffering in some other way. These stories are often presented as a way to sell a product or service, with the implication being that if the storyteller was able to overcome their struggles, the audience can too by following their example or buying what they have to offer.
But this approach is both unoriginal and insincere.
Suffering is a universal human experience, and using it as a marketing tactic is both manipulative and uninspired.
Focusing on overcoming problems as a solution is not only predictable, but it also ignores the fact that moving away from pain is not the same as moving towards pleasure.
The Importance of Novelty and Inspiration in Storytelling
A more interesting story is one that asks the question: what happens next?
What happens when the suffering stops, and what did the storyteller do differently to achieve a different outcome?
By moving beyond the cliche of problem-solving and into a different paradigm, marketers can tell more engaging and authentic stories that resonate with their audience.
Moving Beyond Problem-Solving to More Engaging and Entertaining Narratives
Using unusual metaphors and creative language, marketers can craft narratives that are both captivating and thought-provoking. Instead of relying on generic vulnerability and cliched struggles, marketers can tell unique and inspiring stories that showcase the humanity and authenticity of their brand.
Then they can connect with their audience on a deeper level and create more meaningful and lasting relationships.
Two-Fold Campaign Examples
“Like a Girl” campaign by Always. The campaign featured a short film that tells the story of girls and young women who are trying to redefine what it means to do something “like a girl.” The film shows these girls and women doing various activities, such as running, playing sports, and fighting, and challenges the negative connotations associated with the phrase “like a girl.”
The two-fold aspect of the campaign comes from the fact that the film tells two different stories simultaneously. On one level, it tells the story of the girls and women in the film, who are striving to redefine what it means to do something “like a girl.” On another level, it tells the story of the societal attitudes and stereotypes that have shaped the phrase “like a girl” into a negative stereotype.
The campaign was successful because it was able to engage viewers on both of these levels. It challenged viewers to think about the way that society views girls and young women, and encouraged them to redefine what it means to do something “like a girl” in a positive and empowering way. The campaign also resonated with a wide audience, and sparked a widespread conversation about gender stereotypes and the ways in which they can be challenged and overcome.
Old Spice Campaign
“Real Strength” campaign by Old Spice. The campaign featured a series of advertisements that showed men doing various activities, such as cooking, dancing, and playing with their children, and challenged the narrow and outdated notions of what it means to be a “real man.”
The two-fold aspect of the campaign comes from the fact that it tells two different stories. On one level, it tells the story of the men who are featured in the advertisements, and showcases their unique talents and abilities. On another level, it tells the story of the societal pressure and expectations that are placed on men to conform to certain masculine stereotypes.
The campaign was successful because it resonated with a wide audience, and sparked a widespread conversation about gender stereotypes and the ways in which they can be limiting and harmful. The campaign also challenged viewers to think about the ways in which masculinity is defined and celebrated, and encouraged them to redefine what it means to be a “real man” in a more inclusive and diverse way.
National Geographic Campaign
“Born to Explore” campaign by National Geographic. The campaign featured a series of advertisements that showed people of all ages and backgrounds engaging in activities that promote exploration and adventure, such as traveling to new places, discovering new cultures, and experiencing the natural world.
The two-fold aspect of the campaign comes from the fact that it tells two different stories. On one level, it tells the story of the people who are featured in the advertisements, and showcases their passion and curiosity for exploration and discovery. On another level, it tells the story of the importance of exploration and adventure, and the ways in which they can enrich and enhance our lives.
The campaign was successful because it resonated with a wide audience, and encouraged viewers to think about the ways in which they can explore and discover the world around them. The campaign also challenged viewers to consider the value and significance of exploration and adventure, and encouraged them to embrace these experiences as a way of enriching and enhancing their lives. By using engaging and inspiring stories, the campaign was able to reach a wide audience and promote a positive message in a compelling and effective way.
5 benefits of two-fold tales over problem-solution stories.
#1 Original Creativity:
Two-fold tales offer a more original and creative approach to storytelling in marketing. They allow marketers to craft narratives that are more engaging and thought-provoking, and that challenge traditional notions and stereotypes.
#2 Authentic Relatability:
Two-fold tales are more authentic and relatable than problem-solution stories. They tell stories that are grounded in reality and that reflect the lived experiences of real people, which can help to connect with audiences on a deeper and more emotional level.
#3 Diversity and Inclusion:
Two-fold tales promote diversity and inclusion by showcasing a wider range of voices and perspectives. They tell stories that are representative of the diversity of the world, and that challenge narrow and limiting stereotypes and biases.
#4 Empowering Inspiration:
Two-fold tales are more empowering and inspiring than problem-solution stories. They encourage audiences to think beyond the constraints of traditional narratives and to explore new possibilities and perspectives.
#5 Resonant Impact:
Two-fold tales have a greater impact and resonance than problem-solution stories. They tell stories that are more meaningful and lasting, and that encourage audiences to think, feel, and act in new and different ways.
A place for problems in marketing
A problem-solution story may be effective at highlighting the benefits and value of that product or service. If a campaign is focused on promoting a specific product or service that provides a solution to a specific problem, a problem-solution story is effective at highlighting the benefits and value of that product or service.
If a campaign is aimed at a more practical and functional audience, a problem-solution story communicates the specific features and benefits of a product or service in a clear and concise way.
But they’re not the ONLY or even best way to communicate the benefits of your product or service.
Alternative Messaging Includes:
Before and After
This to That
Then vs Now
Show the shift instead of focusing on the problem.
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