That’s where Jonah Sachs enters, arguing that we are in the midst of the Story Wars. The Story Wars are raging around us. With so many messages bombarding us daily, fewer resonate and make it through the cacophony. What cuts through the noise? Stories. And the subtitle of his new book signals the importance of the story teller: Why those who tell—and live—the best stories will rule the future.
Jonah Sachs is the co-founder and CEO of Free Range Studios, helping major brands create unforgettable marketing campaigns. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fast Company Magazine, CNN, and FOX News. He has created numerous viral marketing campaigns.
Jonah, let’s start there. You’ve created viral campaigns. Why is it that some campaigns take off and go viral and others fail to break through?
I’ve been exploring that exact question for 14 years. I couldn’t figure out the pattern at first. No rules seemed to universally apply. At times I thought it had to do with humor, shock value, beauty, good taglines. And then I discovered that one thing viral successes seem to share: They tell compelling stories that appear to give audiences the chance to see themselves as heroes in it. Instead of just talking about how great they are, brand campaigns that break through tend to talk about how great their audiences can be.
Yes. It was this search to understand what works in viral campaigning that led me to study mythology, neuroscience and psychology in the hopes of understanding what makes stories work. All that thinking eventually became my book.
You talk about the five sins of marketing: vanity, authority, insincerity, puffery and gimmickry. Would you touch on just one of them and give an example of how the sin destroys?