Great storytelling is its own reward

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I’ve made no secret of the fact that a lot of the daily quest routines in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria are boring. Whenever I hop onto any one of my characters, I look at the lists of reputations I need to grind out and it literally feels like a second job, albeit a very low paid one. The developers have acknowledged that they might have gone a bit overboard on making you grind out so many quests each day just for gear.

Admiral Taylor

That said, there has been one reputation that I’ve been eager to do, even without fabulous rewards. It’s the latest reputation, Operation: Shieldwall. Without getting into the gameplay, let me explain why: Shieldwall has phenomenal storytelling and a compelling plot line that makes it worth playing all by itself. It’d certainly be less rewarding not to get any loot while doing it, but the fact that it combines dynamic, engaging storytelling makes all the difference between it and, say, the Golden Lotus reputation grind.

When you’re doing the Shieldwall dailies (or presumably the Dominance Offensive ones, I’ve no Horde characters), you’re the hero and centerpiece of a well-told story. Every action you take feels significant, feels important, feels as though you’re making a difference in your faction’s campaign to win in Pandaria.

Why this is important: great storytelling can make the difference between someone paying attention to you and someone just tuning you out. That’s one of the reasons why “how-to” blog posts tend to do so well: you’re giving someone else the tools they need to let them be the heroes of their own stories. Does your brand enable great storytelling? Does your brand have a legitimately good story to tell? Most do, but legions of marketers and sales folks have obscured the story behind fancy corporate jargon that ultimately means nothing.

Here’s a suggestion: if you can, follow the Shieldwall dailies model. At every action that a customer or prospect takes, find a way to advance the story for them. Give them additional insights or tools to help them tell their own stories a bit better, and clarify yours for them. Add something to your story that entertains, educates, or inspires.

Imagine this ideal: prospective customers and current customers participating in all of your sales and marketing activities because of the story you’re building with them.

What if your story was that good?

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