‘The story is everything’ – why we should all embrace the Kevin Spacey guide to marketing


Kevin Spacey, artistic director of The Old Vic Theatre, star of ‘House of Cards’ and too many Hollywood movies to list here, had his most recent role as the keynote speaker at the annual Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

Spacey was talking about the importance for marketers of building stories.

“Give them what they want,” he told the audience, “they will talk about it, carry it around with them, share it ”

What he went on to say should resonate with any marketer or business owner looking to build or reinforce the value of their brand. Good stories, Spacey said, require authenticity. In a world increasingly made up of spin, it is essential for brands to remember what is it that makes something feel absolutely genuine to its target audiences. It’s when something doesn’t feel authentic, that our customers and our prospects start to turn off.

Spacey cited Volkswagen’s 1960 launch of the Beetle in the United States as a case in point. He said Americans were then driving big, American-made cars — not cars from German factories built by the Nazis. But by focusing on its size, economy and convenience, they created a highly successful market for it. The lesson to learn was that if you stay true to your brand voice, the audience will respond.

In this increasingly connected world, the quality of your content and your messages is essential. The platform is less important as your audience will want to consume your content on their terms, where and when they want to. But be creative and engaging in your content. After all, what could be more simple – and yet more engaging – than inviting people to pour a bucket of iced water over themselves and film it.

Today’s audiences want stories – they don’t want bland, simplistic marketing messages. They want authentic stories. As Spacey’s character in “House of Cards” says: “There’s no better way to overpower a trickle of doubt than with a flood of naked truth.” And if you give them that, they will talk about it and share it with others. And that’s the Holy Grail for which every business is searching.