Pathos.

Sure, it may be a word that you haven’t thought about since half hearing it uttered by a droning professor during a random communications class back in college. But, as communications professionals, “pathos” or the art of emotional appeal, is something we all embrace as a core function of our job. Whether drafting a press release, brainstorming around a campaign brand or developing a video script, we are constantly working to build a strong emotional connection with our target audience.

Emotional Appeal = Audience Action.

I could repeat that line five times but I’ll spare you the eye strain. When it comes down to it, building a connection with your target audience takes work. A lot of work. Your messaging and storyline needs to be authentic, aligned with the core values of your brand and most of all – you need to strike the magical chord that resonates across your audience base.

You see this strategy implemented by nonprofits across the board. On the corporate front, I frequently reference Google’s “search stories” campaign. The original “Parisian Love” ad generated a lot of buzz when it was shown during this year’s Super Bowl. In my mind, the ad is stellar. In a sense, Google represents a creative whiteboard, serving as a portal to churn up a wealth of information around whatever topic a user can imagine. In this case, the creators of the spot did an incredible job of building out a storyline around the notion of love – a theme they knew would connect with everyone.

Beyond this initial spot, Google’s real genius is expounded upon through the way they further developed their Search Stories channel. They’ve even incorporated a search stories video creator tool that allows any user to build out their own Google search story within a matter of minutes.

G-e-n-i-u-s.

Lock people in, provide them with the tools that will allow them to easily participate in your storytelling and make it easy to share the content. Search is our entry to content discovery and Google does a great job of bringing to life all of the moving parts behind their simple interface. Kudos Google.

I had a bit of fun with their video creator tool last night and love the creative door this opens to groups and brands hosting contests or other fun storytelling projects.

How to Land a Job in Social Media

and a bit of cheese to top it off…

Seattle Date Plan

Let’s not forget that Facebook also utilizes a similar tool to acquire user-generated content that helps them demonstrate the value of their platform. In addition, Mashable announced today that Twitter has jumped on the bandwagon with their own version of user story sharing with Twitter Tales.

In essence, it boils down to igniting your brand supporters and advocates to make the shift from being joiners, spectators and critics to actual content creators. Especially from a communications perspective, we want to know how our users are being creative about engaging with our product or brand and how those ideas will influence others to engage with us.

Take a tip from Google, Facebook and Twitter. Now, what can you do to simplify your next storytelling initiative?

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About Scott Meis

SVP, Digital Content Strategy @ Weber Shandwick Seattle. Outdoors. Adventure. Travel. I dig the Foto.

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Facebook, Online Marketing, Social Media, Twitter

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