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Story-telling is the foundation of how we identify ourselves relative to one another. Stories of gods and warriors inspire our worldviews. Stories of our ancestors and our land dictate our culture. Stories of dumb things our friends do on the weekends connect us to our coworkers at the water-cooler. Everything we are is owed to how we craft a story, and the best stories make history.

The importance of the story is not lost on Billie Cardenas, SVP and COO of Sun Community Federal Credit Union and featured guest on Episode 24 of the Show Runner Marketing Podcast. Cardenas believes that when it comes to the credit union game, communicating vision and values has a higher return than talking exclusively about rates. Rates can be beaten, but the connection made with clients through shared values and vision can’t. AMS makes these connections by combining strategy, creativity, innovation, and cultural intelligence, to tell authentic stories audiences care about. 

So how do we create a narrative?

Oscar-winning films make use of something called the Three Act Structure. When you sit down to watch a movie, that movie has 25 minutes to immerse you in its world and make you care for its characters. Those 25 minutes are Act 1. They are the marketing campaign for the rest of the movie. 

In Act 1, the characters are established in their natural habitat and are then presented with a call to action. In Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Act 1 consists of Belle wandering around town, the townspeople singing about how she doesn’t fit in, Belle discovering her father has been kidnapped, and sacrificing her own freedom to save him. In Spielberg’s Jaws, Act 1 consists of the first shark attacks, the mayor refusing to shut down the beach, and Quint agreeing to catch the shark for $100,000. 

In your Act 1, you establish who you are, your core values, your vision, and why you believe you’re the best option on the market. You hook the consumer and give them a call to action – joining your community of consumers by using your product or service.

Let’s look at an example.

In 2015, the feminine hygiene brand Always released their #LikeAGirl campaign. The television/internet commercial showed a variety of people demonstrating what it means to run and fight like a girl. Adult men and women demonstrated a goofy, awkward run and a weak attempt at a fight. Pre-pubescent girls, however, demonstrated hard and fast running and strong, deliberate punches. The message of the commercial: being told you do something “like a girl” isn’t an insult until we are taught that it is. The ad concludes with a call to action: join Always in changing the narrative around doing something like a girl.  

The ad establishes Always’ values as equality, empowerment, and respect. It places Always as a standout in the feminine hygiene market who thinks “like a girl” isn’t an insult. It then hooks the potential consumer with its call to action and ready-made hashtag to promote user-generated content.

Where does AMS come in?

If you give the consumer Act 1 of your product or service, the consumer will write the rest of the movie with you. At AMS we understand the transformational shift of the current marketing landscape and the importance of nurturing the customer’s role in marketing, which has evolved to the point where their input, conversations, and experience with the brand shapes the strategy from the outside in. We are storytelling craftsmen. As a full-service creative agency, we will illuminate and amplify YOUR story. Because this is your brand, and it’s worthy of an Academy Award.


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