Markee Marketing to the Funky Bunch: Casey Markee on the Art of Storytelling

Comic books, croissants, and classic narrative devices

Casey Markee
This is the face of a man who knows marketing. And comics.

State of Search is a marketing conference, but some things are just too important not to mention. Casey Markee has met Stan Lee, y’all. Twice. In the hierarchy of nerddom, that makes him a knight. To honor this fact he shall be referred to as Sir Casey for the duration of this blog.

Buttery goodness

Sir Casey (thought I was kidding, didn’t you?) took the stage at The Loft in Gilley’s to talk storytelling, and his presentation began, as so many beautiful things do, with croissants. Lune croissants, to be precise, in the Fitzroy area of Melbourne, Australia. The New York Times wondered if they might be the best in the world. But that’s a happy accident. Coverage like that is outside the realm of a small business’ control.

But a small business can control their storytelling, which is where Lune excels. Founded and helmed by the Reid siblings, Kate and Cameron, their branding prominently features a rocket designed by Aussie firm A Friend of Mine — because y’all, Kate is an actual rocket scientist.

Sir Casey pointed out that hey, y’know what? Don’t ignore a badass story like that.

Or even a less badass story. Like, say, cheap razors.

Dollar a shave

The Dollar Shave Club was not founded by a rocket scientist. In fact, the idea is so simple that it hardly seems to have any marketing possibilities at all. Cheap razors delivered. Big whoop.

That video? That’s how you make a simple idea into an awesome story. They used a simple, classic narrative framework — and a little humor — to make a $4000 video. Hero, conflict, resolution. Mike is the hero. Expensive razors are the conflict. Dollar Shave Club is the resolution. Boom. Narrative. Nailed it.

Don’t think so? Unilever sure did. They just bought Dollar Shave Club for a billion dollars. Yep. A billion. Nine zeros. Pretty good ROI, mm?

Storytelling works. So, how do you make it work for your brand?

Find your story

First, you’ll need to figure what your brand is. Or more properly, what archetype your brand most closely resembles. Nike is the Hero, for example, showcasing amazing athletic feats by pros and amateurs alike. Campbell’s is the Caregiver, feeding us hot soup when we’re sick like a caring mother. Being the chivalrous knight of the nerd realm he is, Sir Casey shared a great resource from Kaye Putnam to help you find your brand’s true nature.

If that approach doesn’t float your boat, there’s always persona marketing. Sir Casey also shared some assists for this task as well, such as a Hubspot template that might even be worth giving up your email address for.

Once you know your business’ archetype or persona, you know what kind of story to tell. Nurturing? Edgy? Wise? All guided by the type of ‘person’ your business is.

But then what?

Jumpstart it

You know who you are. You know what story to tell. You’ve created branded collateral all about that narrative. So now you have to get the word out. Here are a few of the ways Sir Casey laid out.

  • PR push: No shame in the traditional press release, but you can go bigger with places like Help A Reporter Out or Media Diplomat.
  • Connect with influencers: Little Bird can connect you with the smaller fish that lead to the bigger ones, and don’t neglect LinkedIn. (Want a protip? You can message anyone you’re in a group with.)
  • Guest blog: Reach out, but do so with a personalized email, and track your results with Boomerang.
  • Customers: Encourage your customers or clients to tell stories as well. Think beyond testimonials to social media contests.

Sir Casey’s closing advice was both simple and profound: Make it epic. And if you can’t? Follow best practices — “then promo the shit out of it.”

Well said, Sir C. Well said. Even if you aren’t sharing your deck with the world.

Stephanie_StuderStephanie Studer is a writer, editor, cook, and massive nerd who calls Dallas home. A social and content marketer, she’s deeply in love with all that language can do. She tweets at @Editrix_Steph and posts entirely too many pictures of dishes she’s made on Instagram. Don’t ask her about ukuleles or comic books unless you have nothing to do for the next several hours.