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User-centric storytelling for a brand message that sticks


One of the most common mistakes startups make when developing pitches or promotional material is making it all about the product and features. When their efforts fall flat, they wonder why nobody understands the benefits of their offering. They fail to realize that when it comes to producing marketing videos, good content stems from a user-centric story.

Here’s my take on a business tool that’s vital for your startup’s success: user-centric storytelling.


What’s a user-centric story?

We’re used to hearing the words user-centric in Scrum or UX design. But understanding a user-centric flow is not just for developers. The process of creating a user-centric story for marketing purposes is pretty similar. Plotting a series of events is a surprisingly easy task –but this critical step is often bypassed when it comes to storytelling. 

A user-centric story follows your early adopter or user’s transformational journey, from the beginning of their struggle with the problem to finally resolving the issue. Therefore, a relatable story starts by making your audience empathize with your user’s.

The fundamental aspects of a user-centric story are:

The user and their problem: Who is this person? What’s their challenge? What’s at stake?

The world around the user: How has the user been able to work around the problem thus far?

How your product serves the user: What are the innovation opportunities and the benefits the product offers the user?

Ultimately, a remarkable story arc outlines how a user discovers, interacts with, and benefits from your product in a streamlined narrative. Once you have defined this important arc, you can begin putting together a sales pitch that elevates your product.

A good narrative:


Focuses on a single storyline

Sometimes, the same product can have multiple applications or features, such as a smartphone that also works well as a camera. A product may also serve various customer segments, such as double-sided platforms or marketplaces that cater to buyers and sellers. 

It’s great if your product has multiple value propositions or target audiences, but make sure you work on a single user-centric story at a time, or you risk diluting your message. Strategyzer’s “Value Proposition Design” said it perfectly: a great value proposition focuses on only a few pains that it alleviates extremely well. 


Is not feature-centric 

I get it; every business’ ultimate objective is to sell. However, when it comes to plotting your user-centric story, please resist the urge to insert your offering where it doesn’t belong. 

Remember: a good narrative is about a user’s transformation. Your product should only appear as an instrument for their success.

So, to demonstrate your product’s effectiveness, give a clear, step-by-step explanation of how your user interacts with your product from their point of view. Finally, show how the user overcomes their challenge with the help of your product.


Benefits of plotting a user-centric story

-It ensures your sales pitch presents your product as a solution and not as the protagonist. Remember the saying; people don’t buy ¼ inch drill bits; they buy ¼ inch holes.

-It helps achieve consensus across teams and members in your organization. Defining a user-centric story and committing to it allows everyone to work toward the same goals.

Your brand’s user-centric narrative will form the foundation of your marketing and digital content strategy. So, when it’s time to invest in a launch campaign or digital content strategy, your creative team will know what to build around. 

About Alejandra Copeland
Hello! I’m Alejandra Copeland, and I cut my teeth as a visual communication expert by producing and editing video content for MTV Networks, NBC Universal, and Viacom. Since 2004, I have pushed Andromeda Productions as a premier marketing video production agency. Throughout the years, I’ve created enduring client relationships with multiple Fortune 500 companies, such as MasterCard and Sony Music US Latin.
About Ok Yes Pitch Storytelling
Leveraging 20 years of experience with visual storytelling, I’ve created Ok Yes, a marketing toolkit for early-stage startups and small businesses.
It’s loaded with guides to creatively empower entrepreneurs to tackle things like:

Writing a pitch for your startup
Producing a product demo
Making a persuasive case study
Creating Help and How-To content
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