“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin
Storytelling is one of the underutilized tactics in marketing. Not many brands focus on narrating a story for their products or services; a story is a great tactic to convey your message to the target audience. Compelling stories around your product or service can create wonders and drive your target market crazy if done properly. In storytelling, it is not just about creating click-bait content; It is about how well you create a story around your product or service that can resonate well with your audience.
What is storytelling
Storytelling is an age-old art, and lately, many brands started using it as one of their marketing strategies. National Storytelling Network defines storytelling as an ancient art and a valuable form of human expression. As brands believe, storytelling is about providing consistent, compelling and relatable content in any form to the target market that helps build a picture of the company/brand.
We always listened and focused on that teacher in our school and college who thought us everything through stories. Stories are fascinating for a reason, and we all admit it, But having a story that impacts and creates an emotional connection is imperative. Good stories compel people to change for the good and take actions.
Storytelling is not creating a story. In fact, the very reason why your company exists, the reason for developing such products and services and how they are going to help someone, all these are filled with stories. The first thing is to know your target market and once you realize what your customer needs or wants are, use storytelling techniques to strengthen your approach to market your business and drive growth. In fact, you can now see many digital marketers using this method to do ads and convey their messages to the world.
Some of the brands understood the value of storytelling very early and had been using since then to impress their audience. In 2013, Marketing Week shared this article ‘Brand Storytelling: Narrative theory‘ in which they have mentioned the top 10 storytelling brands.
Let’s take Apple as an example,
Why people buy Apple products? Is it solely because of the product? No. They buy Apple products because of the astounding stories revolve around the brand Apple. Apple is Apple because of this great personality Steve Jobs and the stories that revolve around Apple’s creation. The one thing that comes to our mind when we think about the company Apple is the brand. Apple still carries storytelling as their great marketing weapon.
Consumer associations with Apple are somehow inspirational, creative and authentic. They know the key to their products success, and that key is, no matter what story you tell, make your buyer feel good and special. Marketer Marc Gobe, the author of Emotional Branding, said “Apple’s brand is the key to its survival. Without the brand, Apple would be dead. The brand is all they’ve got. The power of their branding is all that keeps them alive. It’s got nothing to do with products.” (Source: Apple: It’s All About the Brand)
We still get goosebumps watching Steve Jobs talks and videos because of the stories he used to tell in association with the Apple products. Steve Jobs knew his audience and the stories to tell his audience.
Whenever Steve came on to the stage to introduce any new Apple product, he always stressed why people should care, buy Apple and why Apple is the best innovator in the world.
Image Source: Every Steve Jobs Video
Elements of a great story
A great story should bind people together. It should involve an emotional element. Build an emotional storyline for your product or service and make your audience realize the importance of having your product, trigger sensitive nerves that your audience mostly care and connect. Many great brands use this approach to persuade people to try their products.
It means putting people at the core, to create open and genuine ways of engaging with individuals instead of segments or categories. Your brand should make sure to listen and understand the real needs of your audience. No matter what industry you are in, making the customer the hero of your story is the best trick, and this amplifies your brand reach.
A story with a personal touch can relate to your target market and is paramount. When you put all those things that make a story more relatable to your target audience, if people can see themselves in it, it makes them like it and share it with the world. Word of mouth stirs the fire and spreads out in no time. Always go an extra mile to understand your customer in-depth so that you can produce a great story.
Always embed authenticity and make your story look real, this is how your brand will gain customers trust. The way Air BnB creates stories around their ads is just incredible. They show real people and real stories, and that is the winning strategy. People give attention to the stories they believe real and are going to help them in some ways. Start with a clear purpose to solve a real challenge and prove it through your story.
Make your story creative and easily connectable with your audience. Use the creative team you have and make it look cool. Use great quotes by great people, visuals, trending topics, celebs, etc. Making appealing stories is not so easy, you need grand ideas and stories that make people say WOW.
Always use stories to inspire your audience. Test and try different elements in your stories, scale the one that is giving results. Be original and different than the rest so that you have the edge over others. A good story has a long life. The above ads should give you an idea of creating impactful stories. Make sure to be consistent and use the same tone across the platforms.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.