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Storytelling in Content Marketing: Bringing Character to Topics with Mentor Roles
Communications – PR, Social Media, Content Tools 27 June 2017

Storytelling in Content Marketing: Bringing Character to Topics with Mentor Roles

Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid, Yoda from Star Wars, Professor X from X-Men, Doc Brown from Back to the Future, Morpheus from The Matrix but also Mary Poppins, the dragon Mushu from Mulan or John Keating from Dead Poets’ Society – some of them couldn’t be more different and yet they have one thing in common: they are mentors. The same applies to companies. Of course, they are also the heroes of their own story. For a convincing storytelling campaign and successful content marketing, however, they take on the role of mentors and support their customers, the real heroes, in their values and growth needs. The stronger and more focused your own mentor type is defined, the more credible and reliable your choice of topic will be. Because: Apple is not Steuerbüro Schmidt and Greenpeace is not Jochen Schweizer. The following three examples show how companies can use mentor roles to give their content mix character:

A healing, rebellious and magical protector of the earth: unicorn.

einhorn's company mottoIf you look at condom manufacturers – and more recently also energy providers – and the overall super startup einhorn. the company combines several types of mentors: As healers, the team supports its customers in improving the world and satisfying their need for growth and wholeness. At the same time, as a defender, it is consciously aimed at consumers who want to stand up for workers and the environment in their need for justice. As a magician and rebel, the company surprises its buyers with creative ways to turn the long-established condom industry upside down, offering them playfulness and uniqueness.

To summarize, the combination of the company’s mentor types could indeed be described as a unicorn. And this role runs through the entire communication of the label. This starts with the two neologisms “Fairstainability”, in relation to healers and defenders, and “Unicornique”, in relation to mages and rebels. These two neologisms are part of the company’s self-defined core values. The communication topics (for example in the blog, but also on all social channels) always play on the defined role. It is often about serious matters, such as environmental protection and improving working conditions (healers, defenders), but also about fun topics. A unique and playful visual language (magician, rebel) is also a must.

The classic muse: Thalia

Bookshops are the gateway to another world – or should we say countless other worlds? They are the storytellers’ multipliers and therefore also have a clear role to play in terms of mentoring: a classic case of the muse. And especially in social media, passionate readers take this task very seriously. Numerous bookshops – whether small and local or mega-chain – are now model inspirers and meet the growth needs of their target group with wonderful recommendations, of course always embedded in personal stories and anecdotes about the respective books. For example, a whole community has now formed on social giant TikTok under the hashtag #BookTok. Because as the saying goes: readers are not gatekeepers, they don’t want to keep their love for stories and authors all to themselves, they want to share it. The bookstore chain Thalia, for example, shows what this can look like on its Instagram account. The must-reads by her employees and favorite authors from all over Germany invite you to read them, but also inspire you to copy creative ideas, e.g. for game evenings with the family. What’s particularly nice is that the corporate values we live by, such as diversity, are always conveyed through the selection of content (pst, if you read along for a while, you might even recognize our super-alumni Ciani in the video above, who is now a successful author and presents her very personal must-reads from the field of anti-racism here). Other companies can copy a page from this 😉

Professor with a penchant for observation: F-Secure

Screenshot FSecure Storytelling im Content Marketing - Storytelling in Content Marketing: Bringing Character to Topics with Mentor Roles
Screenshot F-Secure

At first glance, the Finnish provider of IT security solutions and antivirus programs seems a little drier. Instead of colorful fashion or condoms, the company focuses on data and, above all, how to protect it. On the one hand, it takes on the role of a witness who uncovers data protection gaps and dangers and informs customers who long for truth and transparency. On the other hand, it acts as a professor that offers its users secure solutions with data-based products and fulfills their desire for simplicity and richness. Last but not least, there is also a little healer in F-Secure, because all the observing and tinkering with data-driven programs helps customers to satisfy their need for security in the online world.

The company’s numerous communication platforms show that you don’t have to communicate in a boring way to be a solid data protection officer. Data protection education offers numerous exciting topics. Rather than dry, technical jargon, the company presents itself as an expert, giving tips and tricks and making the complex topic of data protection accessible to everyone. So why not follow in the footsteps of the first virus to India? The possibilities are many and varied, but colorful fashion themes would clearly be out of place here…

Whether colorful and fluffy or data-based and rational, what counts most in communication is credibility and continuity. Defining one or more mentoring roles helps companies to find their identity and should therefore be firmly integrated into any strategy.

Featured image under CC BY-NC 2.0 license by Wee Sen Goh

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