How can you change the narrative of your company, product, service, story, and allow the world to connect with you? Ken Courtright answers this question by illustrating how football games are being directed to captivate audience. Connecting with the narrative of backstories make these sports event more interesting. Ken believes that establishing the right amount of connection to your audience gets your product or brand the attention it deserves.
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They Need To Connect
This episode is called Customers Need to Connect. In the early 1960s, the newest TV station on the block was ABC, The American Broadcast Company. ABC landed what was to be known as their most major contract to date, the NCAA Football Games. The problem was nobody watched college football. They went to the game. They did not care what colleges were playing two states away. If you lived in Ohio, you probably went to the Ohio State game. If you lived in Michigan, you physically went to Michigan State’s game. The key was they were excited to get this big contract because the potential was awesome.
However, they were very clear that the world didn’t care what was happening on the other side of the country. However, there was a 29-year-old that worked at ABC that thought he could change that. His name was Roone Arledge. He was an ABC employee and he wrote a two-page letter to the management of ABC. He stated in the letter why people are not interested in football games a few states away, let alone sometimes even in their state. He thought he had an idea based on how they could film the games that could get absolute complete engagement from not a football fan but from any sports fan.Your audience wants to hear more from you when they feel connected or feel part of the narrative. Click To Tweet
This letter to ABC was quite riveting. They did something that changed television as we know it now. They said, “Roone, you have no experience directing and producing. However, we do think you’re onto something here. We would like you to produce and direct each of these football games.” Roone was excited. What Roone was faced with is he did a little bit of homework on how football, baseball and all these games that were filmed for live television. What he realized is it was a bunch of different images or settings and standard cameras in one spot. They would zoom in on a coin toss and the play. As the play develops, they would back the camera out. You could see every player at all times in case somebody fell, scored a touchdown, kicked a field goal, and they shot the game. It was very stale and very boring.
The first thing that Arledge realized is there was absolutely no connection with the audience. The title of this podcast is Customers Need to Connect. The audience, the visitors, the viewers watching television are the customer. The advertisers pay the bills. They need to get to those customers. Arledge had an idea. Two or three days before the morning of the game, what if we film the players, coaches, people in the community, even interview the local restaurant owner of, “What do you think of your local football team?” Before every college game, they would run a 2 to a 4-minute film of a deep, cool, exciting connection type of storyline. Maybe one of the kids on the football team has got over a tragic accident and he’s now the right tackle of the offensive line. Maybe the quarterback lost his father three days before but he’s going to play the game.
They ran these 2 to 4-minute clips. They were called connection pieces. Within four minutes of that football game, they haven’t even kicked off yet, the amount of visitors would multiply drastically according to Nielsen ratings. What would happen is somebody would stumble on that channel. They would get into that 2 to a 4-minute riveting clip of the backstory of some football team that nobody ever heard of and the husband would go grab his teenagers and even his wife and say, “Get some potato chips and sit down and watch this football game. This right tackle, last year was blind or this guy lost his father and he’s still going to play football.”
ABC network’s number one show became the NCAA Football. They said, “This connection piece in front of the game, can we do this for basketball or baseball? Can we even do this for our regular TV shows?” Now, ESPN, Nat Geo, History Channel, PBS, ABC, NBC, CBS, The Food Network, literally every channel, when you watch an episode, watch the first 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes and see if they don’t replay parts of the previous episode or two. Sometimes in the case of Gold Rush, History Channel or Nat Geo, see if they don’t give you a quick backstory that you can connect and mentally and emotionally get caught up into that narrative of the show before they even start the show. This is powerful. Everybody does it in almost every segment and season. The question is when you look at your product or service in the marketplace, ABC’s product was NCAA Football. Your product or service is what it is. It’s a product or a service.
Do your customers and clients, when they open your marketing material, when they stumble on your website, when they meet you in person and you open your mouth after they say, “What do you do?” Do they hear a narrative that forces connection? Do they hear a narrative that allows people to play? Do they hear a message or a storyline that is nothing but a magnet for them to want to hear more? They want to hear more because they feel connected. They feel part of a narrative. I know you’ve heard me talk about Tom Shoes a million times. Tom Shoes’ narrative is 100% about connection. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Halleck Wine.
It’s a prestigious wine brand. Kerri and I are in the wine club. We travel all over the world with Ross Halleck. The only person I believed ever received the award, The Perfect Pinot Noir. Halleck Wine, if you go to its website, you are instantly connected and you’re instantly brought into the message of what’s going on with the Halleck brand and the impact they’re making and what they’re doing. It’s not about the wine. The whole story of the Halleck logo, of the letter H. What’s looks like a letter H is not a letter H. It’s two sticks which represent people with a little bitty dot in the middle, which is the grape.
It is a seed of power going back 5,000 years. It’s a seed and a fruit of community and conversation. Ross Halleck is a master at bringing you into the narrative. He is amazing. Ross speaks and he keynotes at every major event we do. The guy’s amazing. ABC Sports kick-started this whole thing. Here’s the question, how can you take your product or service and elevate the connection? The title of this episode is Customers Need to Connect. How can you change the narrative of your company, product, service, story, and allow the world to connect with you? If this hits you or helped you in any way, you could do me a favor, jump on a desktop computer. It doesn’t work when you’re on an iPhone or a tablet. If you don’t mind, jump onto iTunes and shoot me a review on a desktop computer. I’m racing to double the number of reviews because if I double them, iTunes will throw me back into the new and newsworthy section, which is where I want to be. You guys are awesome. See you on the trail. Take care.
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