There are really only two plot devices when writing: a stranger comes to town, or a person goes on a journey. All good work is just variations of these ideas.

This quote is from Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson (I posted about it yesterday).

My first thought when I read it: “Yay, more plot device advice!”

My second thought: “Hey, this applies to branding and marketing.” (Yes, this is a common thought of mine.)

Which narrative arc are your customers in?

Are you a brand that plays a role in them going on a journey? (Education/learning, health & wellness and real estate in some cases, tourism (in a literal sense).)

Or are you a stranger coming to their “town”? (Pretty much all forms of outbound sales, commodity brands, a new entrant trying to carve out market share, fundraising potentially.)

Identifying this from your customers' perspective can help your messaging. Because if you think you’re helping them on a journey and they think you’re a stranger, that mismatch isn’t likely to be overcome by a discount or free shipping. (I mean, unless it’s a pretty sweet discount or shipping would be pricey, everyone has a price.)