Four conventional ways to tell an unconventional story

Yesterday, as I stood in front of the room at the BuzzRE conference in Portland, I paused briefly on a slide to make a point. Great marketing is about telling a story, I said.

It was an off-the-cuff comment that I mainly used to illustrate the power of one of the tools I was showing on screen.

But it was a thought I wanted to come back to.

Storytelling is a lost art when it comes to real estate marketing. Too often the stories we hear fall into either the failsafe (Now’s a great time to buy!) or the flat (We’re #1!).

How to tell a great story

Your brand deserves its own story.

But finding what you want to say is only the first step. Figuring out how you’re going to say it can be just as challenging. The good news here is we don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Established story-telling conventions already exist.

Here’s four great examples of how you can begin to tell your story:

1. Humor

Liquid Mountaineering is the latest in a long line of successful viral videos, racking up well over 4 million views on YouTube. Produced by footwear company HiTec, it puts on modern spin on one of the oldest stories in the world.

Perfectly executed by Dutch agency CCCP, it is deliciously tongue-in-cheek and HiTec reaps all kinds of positive brand association from the production.

Humor like this is tough to pull off well. But even in real estate it could be possible. The secret is finding the one nugget to play with, like water-proof shoes.

2. History

Pivoting on where you’ve been to position where you’re going, is a well-established narrative device. Sports drink maker Gatorade is undergoing a significant brand re-invention right now and created this video to provide the back-story to its new product line.

History cements legitimacy. And real estate brokerages and local brands are companies, like Gatorade, that are rich with tradition.

3. Irony

The Ancient Greeks figured this one out. Define to the audience an incongruity in your stance, embrace it and make it your own.

Domino’s Pizza’s Pizza Turnaround pulled no punches when facing the challenges to its brand. The company embraced them all and used the criticism to redefine themselves.

How great would it be to see a real estate brand do the same? Own up to the industry’s failures and provide the same level of honesty as a pizza company?

4. Inspiration

Produced for Deschutes Brewing Company this video takes it cues from a heart-tugging tune and uses clever metaphorical punchlines to build to a visual climax.

The takeaway? This is a brewing company that cares about its product, its employees and its community. In short, it’s a company with real human values and emotions.

Within every organization (yes, even yours) there exist stories like these. Scratch below the surface and you’ll find plenty to tell. And remember, sticking to these conventions doesn’t mean being conventional.

It just requires a little creativity. So go find your story. And start telling it.