ESPN: The Worldwide Leader in Storytelling

Robby Krapfl | December 12th, 2014

155449426As a former athlete and an avid sports fan, I spend more time watching ESPN than I probably should. I love watching highlights from the big game, listening to Mike & Mike in the morning and my personal favorite – watching Monday Night Football. I have my DVR set to record all the episodes in the 30 for 30 and E:60 series. These two award-winning shows specialize in storytelling. The stories are absolutely fascinating.

Andy Tennant, executive producer of E:60, interviewed with Forbes and explained his goal for the show:

“What we’re looking for is to capture the spectrum of emotions during the course of the hour. If we’ve informed and entertained you, made you laugh, made you cry and maybe even made you a little outraged, then we’ve done our job.”

Yes, ESPN may have a storytelling advantage because it’s in the sports and entertainment industry. However, most of the stories that 30 for 30 and E:60 tell actually have very little to do with sports. Rather, these stories are about life experiences. ESPN’s My Wish narrates stories of sports-related wishes granted to children with medical conditions that are often life-threatening. These children have a wish to meet an athlete, attend an athletic event or spend a day with their favorite sports team. In the My Wish series, ESPN touches the intimate and emotional elements of our health and humanity. The stories are quite powerful and memorable.

Healthcare marketers can take a page out of ESPN’s playbook and incorporate the power of storytelling into their marketing plan. Our health and the health of our family members is one of the most personal aspects of our lives. Making an emotional connection to a component of one’s life is perhaps the best way to build or strengthen a relationship between your brand and the customers you serve.

Every time your customer interacts with your brand, they’re having a brand experience. These experiences add up to create your brand identity in the eye of a consumer. Storytelling is an effective way to harness an emotional connection with your audience, then utilize these emotions to motivate them to take action.

Watch a little film on ESPN’s storytelling. It may have an enormous impact on your marketing game plan going forward. And tell me, what’s your story?

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