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The 5th P: Getting Personal Through Stories


Written by Guest Blogger Katie Woods

The traditional 4 Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) are all about controlling your brand and guiding the stories, ads, and details released to the world. In today’s digital age, that traditional mindset just doesn’t work anymore. There are too many avenues for customers, satisfied or dissatisfied, to share their experiences and ask questions. So a new 5th P – Personal – is needed to close the gap. One of the best ways to use that 5th P is through great brand stories, because they allow you to get Personal and start connecting with people where they are.

1. Find Your Story

People always have and always will want a great story. You can create your own brand stories to make meaningful connections and conversations with your customers. Focus on your brand, your story, and your people, and engage in a way that makes people want to talk with you (the 5th P!). When they DO join the conversation – it is your responsibility to keep that conversation going! Don’t let long pauses happen, keep the conversation interesting, and don’t forget to listen to what they are saying, too.

2. How To Tell Your Story

When you have a great story, you don’t tell the story the exact same way to everyone in your life. The story is consistent, but the level of detail given can vary based on the amount of interest a person has shown. For example, I just returned from a vacation. How I shared my trip on social media was relatively minimal – I posted some select photos on my accounts with brief details of each. However, I gave more details to my fellow Sagers, including favorite experiences and highlights of the trip. With my family and closest friends, I shared all the photos and went into great detail about each stop of the trip. I told the same story to each audience, but shared it differently – I segmented my audience and gave the appropriate amount of details for each.

Your business needs to interact in this same way. Each level of customers and social channel should get their own version of the story – the one that fits them the best.

3. Where To Tell Your Story

You wouldn’t tell an important story with a lot of details to a friend in a noisy restaurant full of distractions. Where you tell your business’ stories is just as important. Social channels are freely available and you can participate for little to no cost, making it very tempting to use all of them. They all have value – just remember that you need to tell your brand’s story to your brand’s audience on a channel that will reach your audience and allow you to share the appropriate level of details.

For example, the traditional billboard definitely still has its place in the advertising arena, but it is not right fit for every story. Can a billboard communicate the level of detail you need to tell your story, and is it putting your story in front of the right audience? A well-designed billboard can be very effective for telling a very quick story to a local audience:


When it comes to stories that need to reach more people and have more details, avenues like YouTube are going to be the better fit. Video can tell a detailed brand story like no other channel. Take this video from WestJet as an example:

WestJet’s Awesome Video

I’ll freely admit that this video brings tears to my eyes. Without a hard sell or even specific WestJest call to action, it communicates a very powerful message for the airline – we love our customers. That kind of story would have never had the same impact on a billboard or even in a Facebook post, and can create an emotional tie and loyalty to a brand that other channels cannot achieve.

4. Make It Personal

How do you use social media? I use it to stay close to and connect with friends and family who I may not see in person often. Through social media, I am able to keep up with their lives, trips, purchases, meals, birthdays, good days, and bad days. By applying this same logic to your brand, you can move beyond static, one-way (i.e. boring) stories into more personal stories that people will actually care about. Our best performing Facebook posts are not the educational ones we share, but the photos, videos, and quotes from the Sagers, sharing one of our favorite corporate stories – we’re a unique, creative company.

5. Keep the Story Going

Never lose sight of your brand’s story, it is what made people interested in your brand in the first place. With consistent color, imagery, and tone, you can tell you brand’s story in a variety of ways and in a variety of places. As people share your story, it should still be instantly recognizable as your story no matter how or where it is shared.

6. Share Your Story with Us

We know that you have a great story too, and we’d love to hear it. If you are struggling to create or share your story, we can help with that too. Check out Marketing that Matters or Why Say Why to help you get started with finding your story, or Amanda’s great blog on Embracing Your Personality on Social Media. Still have questions? We offer many Content Marketing and Social Media services.

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