If you weren’t already Hamilton-obsessed, there’s a good chance you are now. In case you missed it, Disney+ paid $75 million for the film rights to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, which recently premiered on the streaming service to rave reviews.
There’s a lot to love about Hamilton, from the acting, rapping, and singing to the costumes and choreography. But the musical offers so much more than an entertaining hip-hop history lesson.
During the finale song, the ensemble poses an important question: Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?
Ultimately, the musical makes us think about the meaning of legacy. When you’re gone, who tells the story of who you were and what you accomplished? It’s a fantastic ending — and a great takeaway for marketers.
As humans, we’re wired for storytelling. We use stories to communicate with others and connect on an emotional level. Stories organize information in a way that makes people want to stop and listen. That’s why storytelling is such a powerful marketing tool.
In the spirit of Hamilton, let’s take a look at a few ways to refine your brand’s story, share it with the world, and leave a lasting legacy.
In his book, Building a StoryBrand, author Donald Miller explains that many brands get storytelling wrong because they position themselves as the hero of their story. The truth is, no one really cares about your brand’s story. People want to be invited into a story in which they are the hero. It’s the brand’s role to successfully guide the hero through their challenges and offer them a vision of a better life.
When you flip the script and think about your customer as the hero, your story becomes simpler and clearer. Start by describing your ideal customer. Who (or what) is the villain they’re facing? What do they have to lose? How can your brand help them achieve “happily ever after?”
Let’s circle back to Hamilton. Most of us learned about American history in textbooks and lectures. Maybe you remember it being pretty dry and unrelatable. What makes Hamilton so engaging is that the story was designed to portray the relatable, human side of the Founding Fathers — the good, the bad, and the ugly. It turns out there was plenty of real-life drama in 1776, just like there is in 2020. Additionally, Lin-Manuel Miranda chose to reimagine the story with diverse casting, contemporary music, and modern language, making it all the more relatable to today’s audiences.
Just as audiences resonate with Hamilton’s characters, customers resonate with the brands that understand their unique challenges, speak their language, and reflect their real lives. When you weave a relatable brand story into every communication touchpoint, from blogs to social media posts to billboards, people pay attention. Visual content, especially video marketing, is a compelling way to appeal to your customers’ emotions and ensure your story is seen, heard, and understood.
Aside from the reviews and press coverage, the secret to Hamilton’s lasting success is word-of-mouth. Since its premiere in 2015, fans fueled the Hamilton hype machine by sharing how much they loved the show. They created fan accounts, memes, cover videos, and fan fiction. Even those who had only listened to the soundtrack and never got to see the show became part of the loyal online fan base.
In the same way, customer testimonials reinforce your brand story. Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to reach your audience personally. Use social listening tools to identify customers who are already talking about your brand’s product or service. What are they saying? What visuals are they sharing? Celebrate positive engagement and use it to your advantage.
Think of the brand you represent as a legacy. What impact will you leave behind? Who will tell your story?
Not sure where to start when it comes to brand storytelling? We’re here to help. Let’s talk about building a brand story that resonates with your customers and keeps them coming back for more.