Finding the right stories to use in your email marketing campaign can feel daunting. If that’s true for you, you’re not alone.

  • You might be so busy with your other responsibilities that by the time you remember about your newsletter (no matter what kind of schedule you are on—weekly, monthly, or quarterly), you end up scrambling for ideas.
  • Or you might be experiencing internal personality conflicts or organizational changes that prevent you from asking questions or soliciting useful feedback.
  • You might feel that you’ve used up all your ideas.

Whatever is causing the problem in your case, what’s true is that you are likely not seeing the story ideas that are staring at you in the face.

No matter type of organization you are in, I believe that there we are surrounded by ideas that if viewed by the right lens, can yield marketing gold. A great example of this is the David & Goliath campaign launched by the ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s in their early days.

Back when they were a small company distributed only in Vermont the founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, discovered that Pillsbury was pressuring their distributor to chose between representing either Pillsbury’s brand, Haagen-Dazs, or Ben & Jerry’s.

This problem—which could have destroyed Ben & Jerry’s—could easily have been considered a problem for the sales person assigned to the distributor or for the legal team. In either scenario, no one on the marketing staff would ever have learned about what was going on. Fortunately, the founders not only identified the inherent marketing opportunity this challenge offered their small company, they decided to play it up–big time.

Using the well-known story as their framework, they launched a campaign called “What is the Doughboy Afraid Of?” The campaign quickly drew national attention which Ben & Jerry’s then leveraged across a variety of media. Within months, the Vermont-based ice cream maker was taking orders from retailers located across the country. A problem that could have destroyed the organization became the catalyst for its transformation into a household name.

Why did their campaign work?

  • It capitalized on a well-known story, David & Goliath. No one would have cared about two large companies going head to head. That type of competition is ordinary. Expected. But a large, global conglomerate strong-arming a local distributor to prevent sales from a small manufacturer? That’s an entirely different matter. People love stories about the underdog taking on a recognized champ. It’s why movies like Rocky still resonate with audiences, even decades after its initial release.
  • The stakes where high. If Ben & Jerry’s had lost their gamble to fit Pillsbury, they might have gone out of business, and many people would have lost their jobs. In other words, this conflict was not about paper profits. It had real-world drama that would have serious consequences for many people.
  • The story was framed in human terms. You’ll notice the campaign did not refer directly to Pillsbury. It instead targeted a singular entity: the familiar Pillsbury Doughboy. By putting a face to the corporation, Ben & Jerry’s personalized the conflict.

So here’s today’s question.

What is keeping you from creating effective stories for your organization? Share your experiences in the comments below or send me an email.

Be sure to share this post with anyone you feel might be looking for tips to feel more confident about their ability to create effective, engaging content!

Pin It on Pinterest