With the challenging times that have been unfolding in 2020, it has really become evident just the extent to which social media and mass media, in general, can influence people’s opinions on a global level – creating much hysteria, panic, and fear as we have seen with the virus.
In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that mankind has become ‘addicted’ to the drama, to the ‘narrative’ – that we are searching for something to ‘grab’ us, to hold our interest and make us feel something. In a world of fast content, viral social media, endless scrolling and clickbait – the challenge, therefore, for most new businesses, products and entrepreneurs is ‘be relevant, be noticed, grab the person’s attention or quickly fade away’.
So how can we use this system and this societal interest in the ‘narrative’ to give social activism companies, wellness entrepreneurs and startups who promote a better way of living – of creating solutions, not problems – a boost?
What does the standard ‘hero’s journey’ actually have to do with branding, and how can you use this to stand out from the crowd and gain traction in your entrepreneurial journey?
We caught up with Mark Angelo to discuss understanding and using the hero’s journey to gain traction in your business, using experiences from his journey as a storyteller, philanthropreneur, and founder of Valhalla Farms.
Mark tells us that his understanding of the ‘narrative’ problem and the hero’s journey stemmed from his desire to self-teach in school and university. He would spend all of his time watching documentaries in order to self teach, about a range of topics from environmental issues to health issues. “I noticed that each and every documentary… they were spending 90-95% of the time talking about the problem and 5% of the time were actually pointing to the solution… I started to learn about the narrative problem.”
What Mark is referring to is the obsession we have grown to have with the drama, or the issue, or the hysteria. We become tied up in the narrative, and that “narrative controls so much about how we feel about the world”. To Mark, entrepreneurs, business owners, public figures and start-up founders have a responsibility to “being a part of the solution, not the narrative.” Every brand or every story really starts with what you would call a “hero’s story”, following the same pattern of a hero movie.
Here at Unconventional Life, we want to inform readers who are starting out and launching a product, entrepreneurial journey or startup how to use the arc of a hero’s journey to gain traction.
Know the problem you solve and start placing yourself in the position where there is already traction … what problem do you solve?
Every hero’s narrative begins with a ‘problem’, a negative reputation environment or a villain. This is to grab people’s attention. In order to gain traction and attention, you need to learn how to capitalize on current and relevant ‘issues’ that are already circulating instead of trying to create your own traction, which Mark believes is the mistake that most entrepreneurs make.
Things to consider:-
- What are the headlines that exist and how can you frame what you are teaching to the world through that connection?
- What are the trends, what are the existing waves in the ocean and how do I get to ride them with my unique lens/gift/talent?
Focus on the outcome or hero’s journey you are creating for your listeners or audience.
People consume media and are grabbed by the media that makes them feel something – that really captures their heart and their emotions. It is crucial to grab people’s attention within the first 3-10 seconds of them swiping from the top to the bottom of the page and you do this through creating a ‘loop’ or a ‘hook’.
Things to consider:-
- How can you use something in the first 3-10 seconds of a video or in a headline that really stands out and communicates something?
- How can you be more emotive with how you communicate your concept/problem/solution?
Provide value instead of overselling
The mistake so many entrepreneurs make, according to Mark, is that they are so focused on creating revenue and making sales that they forget to provide value. “A lot of entrepreneurs try to sell the solution right away without realizing that it needs to be ordered in a particular way, packaged in a particular form… create as much value as possible and people will find the links, they’ll find the offers and they’ll find a way to grow alongside you.”
Things to consider:
- How can I create value and nurture my audience in a way that they grow, like and trust me and want to learn more about what I offer?
In order to help shape your branding and gain traction, Mark is giving away a 1-1 call for one lucky reader to help you craft your 8 step hero’s story for your brand, product or service. You can apply to win here, a winner will be announced next week.