March 28, 2019

Mind your MacGuffin

by Alex D'Amore

What do the Maltese Falcon, the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, and the One Ring in Lord of the Rings have in common?

They are all examples of a storytelling plot device known as a MacGuffin.

A MacGuffin can literally be anything—a book, a mysterious briefcase (as mentioned above) but its only purpose is to set the story in motion. Once that’s accomplished, the MacGuffin usually becomes relatively unimportant to the rest of the story.

So how does this relate to your brand?

Well, while you may think that your product and all its wondrous features are central to your brand’s story, your potential customers may actually see it as a black box, a MacGuffin. They just want more revenue, more time, less headaches, etc., not your product or service (remember the old saw – “People don’t want to buy a drill, they just want a hole in the wall”).

So, if your entire story (and content marketing) revolves around explaining the inside of your MacGuffin, most of your target audience just won’t care. Instead, weave them a tale about how they’ll feel and the outcomes they will get once they acquire your “MacGuffin” and you’ll have them traveling to Middle Earth and back again to buy what you’re selling.