The power of storytelling and the narrative that has built TicketCo

Storyteller

TicketCo Chief Communication Officer Tom Rasmussen explains how the disruptive tech company has used storytelling powerfully to gain a growing market share in its sector.

By Tom Rasmussen 

When TicketCo started as a tiny challenger in the Norwegian market back in 2013, the ticketing industry in Norway was quite simple to map out. At the top there was Ticketmaster. Then there was none. And then, miles below this massive monopolist, there were half a dozen or so of roughly equal sized challengers.

How do you approach a market from there? How do you build brand awareness? How do you gain confidence in the market?

We knew we had to use the press for third party confirmation, but we also knew that the press needed a narrative. So, we created this narrative. The bad guy in the story was already there. The market was dominated by this multinational monopolist with a faceless presence and a slightly legacy product. What we had to do was to be the complete opposite. We had to be fresh and modern where they were settled. We had to be present where they were distanced. We had to tell the world (or at least the event industry in Norway) that there were a new kid in town, and that this was the guy they wanted to hang out with.

To achieve this we also had to simplify the landscape. We had to be THE guy, not one amongst many. So, we simply chose to neglect the full picture. We draw a picture with two characters only, and strictly defined roles. Ticketmaster was the monopolist, or yesterday’s news. TicketCo was fresh and new challenger. The new wine.

Grabbing attention


With this as our starting point, we then started to produce relevant content for the press. We took on an expert role, and we eagerly sought attention. And of course: we had something relevant to tell. The ticketing part of the event industry had been neglected by the press for years, simply due to nobody seeking attention. Suddenly there was this fresh new company with a lot on its mind. We surely got the press coverage we needed to build two vital values to succeed in any market: brand awareness and trust.

This was the way we built TicketCo from scratch in the Norwegian market, and our narrative quickly became an undisputed truth. By claiming that we were the first challenger, we rapidly became the first challenger both regarding size and awareness. Then we decided to expand to the UK, and we had to start on scratch again.

How do you approach a giant market like UK as a small Norwegian scale-up, remotely managed from across the ocean?

One thing is certain. The distance from UK to Norway is several times as long as the distance from Norway to UK when it comes to attention. Our Norwegian success had no value in UK. Not only was TicketCo unknown as a brand; all our success stories with event organisers well known within the Norwegian event industry had no relevance whatsoever in UK. We had a great product, but that was also all we had. We had to build from the ground up again, and we had to do it within an industry were the narrative we succeeded with back in Norway was too simple.

What do you need to succeed in a new market besides a great product and of course a need for that product? It is already mentioned above: You need brand awareness and trust.

Humanising stories


So how do you build these values?

The concept of storytelling is older than the concept of written text. The human brain needs more than facts and figures, features or numbers to react to a message. We need stories. We need characters we can relate to, situations we understand and future scenarios we can take into consideration. In a business scenario, any given company is a possible predator and a possible prey. There are options everywhere, but you need the right partners to succeed. You need to make the right choices.

This is why storytelling is such a powerful tool. Because behind every decision that is made, there is a human being. This human being is doing its best to make the decision that is best for its company, and every once in a while, these decisions are about ticketing (to mention where TicketCo started) or pay-per-view streaming or video on demand (where TicketCo’s main focus is today, during the pandemic).

When a person starts investigating possible suppliers within a field such as ticketing or pay-per-view events, their mind doesn’t start on scratch. It starts within itself. That is where you need to be present if you want to succeed. You need to get into peoples’ minds, and the best way in (and the safest way to remain present once inside) is through storytelling.

Tom Rasmussen is the Chief Communication Officer at TicketCo, an integrated event payment and online broadcasting platform. Founded in Norway it now has offices in London, Amsterdam and Stockholm and is due to expand across Europe and America this year. You can learn about TicketCo here.

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