In our continued series about different ways your company’s marketing efforts put you in a mentorship role, we now come to the concept of a mentor as a role model, keeping heroes steadfast on their journey to right wrongs.
From a marketing perspective, the idea of serving as a role model to your audiences might seem presumptive or even egotistical. But the truth is that when businesses or customers are out there looking for the services and products your brand offers, a role model might be just what they need. Role model marketing means offering audiences a reminder of why they want to solve their problems to begin with. Effective content from this angle shares what a better life could look like with a little effort…or a new partner like you.
The Role Model’s Origin
In fictional narrative, the role model shows up as a character like Spider-Man’s Aunt May. These are the characters that help the hero understand why action is needed and keep them committed to a certain set of values.
Certainly there are times Peter Parker considers putting his suit on a shelf and trying to live a normal life. But the motivation of protecting civilians like Aunt May from the evils of the world always calls Peter back to his journey as Spider-Man. Likewise, it’s Peter’s love for Aunt May that leads him to don the Spider-Man mantle and hide his true identity in the first place, in order to keep her safe from the evil-doers he fights. This is what makes her his role model as a hero. We can learn something from this relationship about how to inspire audiences.
The Role Model’s Approach to Content Marketing
As a marketer selling products or services, your work may or may not be life or death issues like if people should dangle from buildings off the spiderwebs that come out their wrists or whatever. Still, what you are helping audiences determine is whether or not they want your brand as a partner at all.
Primarily, marketers will find themselves adopting a mentoring perspective like the role model when creating middle-of-the-funnel content. This is content that shows a prospective client what your company is all about and why buying from you is different than everyone else.
It just so happens, three key elements of pulling off this level of marketing are the same as some qualities that define a role model.
Personality: fictional or not, we relate to the role models that inspire us because of who they are. Something about the role model is different from other people and from ourselves, too. Showing this personality of your brand in content marketing is what will help you keep the attention of the right heroes in the audience.
Authenticity: this means honesty and transparency in your marketing. If the “personality” you decide to show isn’t real, your hero will need to rely on your strength in a key moment only to find it doesn’t exist the way they thought. Suddenly you’re no longer Aunt May, but Mysterio. Instead, be authentic even if that means a large segment of the general population might not love your work. Not all heroes are created alike.
Values: more than any other content, middle-of-the-funnel content needs to heavily convey your values and attitudes as a brand. This is the stage where your heroes in the audience are deciding if they are inspired enough to follow your lead as a vendor, service provider, or retailer. Let them see what your leadership means in your content.
We all know role models are needed in life, but how can you apply these principles to marketing content without being preachy, boring, too emotional, or making your audience too narrow? Those are great questions, and we’ll work to answer them in our next issue as we share practical advice about creating the kind of role model content that will inspire your audience to achieve their goals and keep striving.