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Why Transformational Marketing Starts With Storytelling

It’s the end of Coke Zero as we know it.

To some, it might as well be the end of the world.



In July, Coca-Cola announced plans to stop selling Coke Zero in the US in August, replacing it with a beverage with a different recipe, design, and name: Coke Zero Sugar. According to Coca-Cola, many people don’t understand that Diet Coke and Coke Zero do not contain any sugar. With Coke Zero Sugar, that’s front and center. The beverage maker insists that Coke Zero Sugar is closer to the taste of the standard Coca-Cola.

“We’re confident that loyal Coke Zero fans will love the new-and-improved recipe, and that fans of original Coca-Cola looking to reduce their sugar intake will want to try it, too.” R.I.P., Coke Zero: The five stages of ice-cold grief

But people are already freaking out online about the loss of the Coke Zero they know and love.



So, will this be a repeat of the disastrous release of New Coke in 1985? Or, is this a simple shift in Coke’s six-second brand story?



Marketing is all about storytelling – the story of your brand, built into your brand.

The advertising images may be part of it, the copy may be part of it, but the heart of the story is your brand, your service, and your people.

No longer is the brand story simply about you and what you offer. Your brand, your products, and your services are no longer the hero.

The power and impact of your brand, your product, your services, and your story come from making the customer the hero, from being the guide on their buying journey. Throughout the entire customer lifecycle, the intention, actually the requirement, is to deliver on the brand promise. Only then will prospects become customers, and customers become brand advocates.


Because a transformational brand story is not simply about what you do.

It is:

  • Why you do what you do
  • What it is you do, based on that why
  • How you deliver it to your customers
  • …and how it impacts their lives

It is this impact — the Story — that gives customers a reason to care, a reason to buy, a reason to engage and a reason to stay.

Transformational Marketing literally transforms how your customer experiences you, understands you, and interacts with you. It is a change in mindset as well as methodology.

This new era of marketing accountability demands measurable go-to-market processes, active performance monitoring, and aggressive optimization of marketing investments for real value creation, as seen through the eyes and responses of the customers.

In order to truly drive transformation, you must bring simplicity, clarity, and alignment to your brand’s Story, Strategy, and Systems, in that order.


Simplicity in Story

The heart of Transformational Marketing is the story—a distillation of who you really are, a peeling back of the layers to discover “why” you do what you do—why that matters to your customer—and how you deliver that value to them. This is the key to simplicity in your story.

The most remarkable brand stories don’t focus on what a company does or the products or services it sells. The most effective brand story clearly answers the question “Why?” — why you do what you do — and why it should matter to the customer.

Story without Strategy is Art; Story with Strategy is Marketing

Clarity in Strategy

One would think that having gone through the process of simplifying the complexities of your story, clarity automatically follows. But no, at least not without intentional and deliberate effort and process. Clarity speaks to the “what” of your story.

What is it that you are actually doing, what is the value of your products and services, and what impact will you achieve for your customers? You must be clear.

Simplicity and Clarity get you part of the way there, but as most marketers know, everything is a communications vehicle – inside and out.

Alignment in Systems

All of your marketing, all employee communications, all sales collateral, all enabling technologies, all of your people at every customer touchpoint must be fully aligned to bring your brand to life. Alignment equates to the “how.”

How do your people communicate your story, how do you want your customers to experience your brand, and how do you specifically deliver value?

Remember, “Systems” it means much more than just technology. Systems include the business processes, measurement systems, and organizational capabilities required to deliver, track, and manage the customer experience across every customer touchpoint: from the earliest stages of the Customer BuyWay through to the empowerment of advocates and brand evangelists.



Transformational Marketing all starts with why you do what you do – how that empowers your customer, which shapes and defines everything about you – and your position in the market. If you want to learn how to transform your marketing, transform customer engagement with your brand, and transform your results, then our new eBook: Transformational Marketing – Moving to the TopRight is perfect for you.

Download it for free by clicking on the button below.

Click to Access the Guide for Transformational Leaders


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