It’s no surprise that people enjoy stories. We tell them to ourselves and to others every day. We tell ourselves stories to motivate ourselves to go to work. We tell each other stories to justify spending money, and to give value to the products we consume.
Some of these stories are incredibly well known. Riedel Wine Glasses, for example, has the reputation of bringing out the true flavor of wines. The Porsche Cayenne is built in the same factory as the VW Touareg and shares virtually the same parts and make, though the stories about it speak of a high-performance SUV. There are many stories like these, from Puma sneakers to the Number 17 design firm. They aren’t necessarily bad. nor are they always created by the companies themselves. These stories stem from experiences, from image, and often simply from the truth.
However, the anime industry doesn’t really have many stories. The industry has the mythology of humble roots and clubs, tales of piracy and entitled brats, and stories of a product in which everyone’s “either a young girl or a monster.” Members of the industry need to begin telling their stories.
It’s not as if the anime industry doesn’t have stories to tell. Indeed, we can easily argue that anime is a medium of tall tales and fast action. We can push the idea of a giant community that acts like a giant, extended family. We could even tell the story of a medium that is staffed by those who genuinely care about the final product. From FUNimation, to Sentai Filmworks and Media Blasters, the industry is staffed by those who have a genuine interest in anime as a whole. To hear this exudes confidence and trust, as those who care about their product are expected to deliver a higher-quality product.
Stories are an important part of creating a message that the greater market will accept. They deliver clear messages in a form that humans are hard-wired to crave, and offer an understanding that can’t be handled by simple regurgitation of facts. They needn’t be lies – indeed, the best stories are always the ones that are true. However, they do need to be simple and effective. They need to sell their message so well that their customers will continue to do the same. It’s something that can be done, but it will require a change in thinking..
Examples taken from Seth Godin’s “All Marketers Tell Stories”