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What brands can learn from our hero’s journey with Sonos

I wrote a post following the Super Bowl that deconstructed the Audi “Prom” spot to show you how effectively its creators used the universal path of the hero’s journey to weave the story of their car into our lives.

But it’s just a car commercial. Right?

No. It’s topnotch storytelling and marketing because the spot parallels the everyday journey we all pursue, which organically links us to their story.

Check out my analysis. I’ll show you how it mirrors a purchase my wife and I just made for a Sonos audio system. See if this doesn’t parallel your experiences.

Open on Our Hero in His Ordinary World

Our world is about to get rocked!

For this story, my ordinary world was our kitchen. My wife, Michele, would often say, “I wish we had music while I’m cooking.” This prompted me to plug in my iPhone or iPad to our stereo, find the correct input channel, and dial in the right speaker setting. It was kind of a hassle, and a process she wouldn’t do.

What’s at Stake for our Hero?

Michele loves music and I just wanted to make it as effortless as possible for her to listen to whatever she wants.

The Inciting Incident

My itch for music was scratched by social media, and our story was set into motion.

Then a couple of weeks ago I was on Facebook and saw that Jay Baer was raving about his new Sonos system. I had vaguely heard of Sonos and was intrigued by his excitement. I also noticed some other folks who’s opinion I trust gushing about the wifi sound system that you play directly from your mobile device.

Antagonists & Obstacles

In addition to the rave reviews, there were many dissenting voices online bashing the Sonos app and the difficulty of setting up the system. Plus, it’s not an inexpensive product. Paul said I could check it out at Costco, but apparently the Phoenix store doesn’t carry it. Undeterred, we wandered over to Target, and there it was.

Love Story

Sonos makes it easy to embrace their brand.

Sonos greeted us with a handsome set-up that allowed us to audition its two different kinds of speakers: One with four tweeters and a midrange in a single cabinet for large rooms (Our family room & kitchen), and the other with three speakers for smaller rooms (Sunroom). They made it easy to fall in love with the product.

The Journey

But as in the Audi spot, our journey always gets more difficult before it gets better. The set up of our new Sonos system started out easy. I got the bridge to work with the router, and effortlessly paired our big speaker with our wifi. So far so good. The smaller speaker in our sunroom proved to be more challenging. Due to operator error (Your hero), I had inadvertently locked the speaker so that it would NOT connect to wifi. After several attempts, and as is alien to my being (I was following the instructions), I migrated to the Sonos website for support. I found my answer quickly, reset my speaker, and had music flowing in minutes.

I’m still on my journey with the Sonos app, but for the most part I’m figuring it out, and with every new discovery comes a greater bond with the brand.

Victory!

Our kitchen is now cooking with music = character arch.

Our Sonos system was now in full bloom playing mostly our iTunes library. That is what we were striving for. But by this time in our journey with the brand, we had become wiser about the use of the product. So we plugged in Pandora and Spotify. Now we can literally stream any recorded song from anywhere in the world effortlessly to our kitchen and sunroom. The product made us better orchestrators of our music.

The Moral

Like every epic story, all great brands have a moral. I’d say the Sonos moral is: “Who say’s you can’t have it all, especially when listening to music?”

To be Continued…

Sonos naturally builds a ritual around the use of its brand.

We are poised for our next hero’s journey in music with Sonos by adding to our system and singing its praises to our friends and family. The brand makes it easy to build a ritual around its use.

The hero’s journey is everywhere we look. American mythologist, Joseph Campbell, discovered this pattern hidden in every story ever told. Examine any of your accomplishments, trace your steps to success backwards, and you’ll see that this hero’s journey repeats itself in this order almost every time.

So why aren’t more marketers tapping into to the DNA of our universal experiences?

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1 Comment On This Topic
  1. Greg Mandanis posted
    March 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks, Park, for the great analysis of the Audi ad using the elements of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. You re-affirmed my research that the proven Hollywood model is still relevant for ~ 80% of the tv shows, movies, ads and games made in the entertainment industry today.

    In search for the truth my writing friends and I who work in Silicon Valley for our day job, and we write and produce videos at night,

    Over the past 5 years we developed this newly launched a DIY online studio toolkit at http://www.YouScreenWriter.com where anyone can write, direct produce and distribute original video content, where The Hero’s Journey step-by-step approach is at the core.

    Would you and your fans be so kind as to try out the site, and send me your feedback, so we can amplify and support your good work…


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