Storytelling, at its core, is one of the most natural ways we communicate. It allows us to share our own experiences with the rest of the world and build relationships between those who share commonalities.
Storytelling has a natural emotional appeal. This is advantageous for marketers who want to maintain and grow consumer retention. It provides customers with substance to build a relationship with your brand. This is also often referred to as inbound marketing. By incorporating storytelling into your marketing plan, consumers and clients can see themselves as an integral part of your story.
How to Incorporate Storytelling into Your Brand
Storytelling goes beyond the written word. It is about conveying a meaningful message to your audience and can be over various mediums from writing to a more visual platform.
Consider these elements when using storytelling in your campaign.
Define your Narrative and Message
The combination of storytelling and marketing produces a visual narrative. An example of a visual form of brand storytelling is Folgers Coffee commercials. They often have a “bringing family together” sentiment to their marketing. A popular Folgers advertisement depicts a son coming home from deployment to a brewing pot of Folgers coffee surrounded by his family. This appeals to not only families in these scenarios, but a general sense of the warmth that comes with being around loved ones. Folgers is able to take a mundane object, like a cup of coffee, and tailor it to a story.
Think about the emotions you want your audience to take away after they read or view your campaign. Of course the goal of any marketing project is to attract new clients and consumers and keep loyal consumers interested, but think of the steps on how to get there. What does the brand want to convey to the consumer?
To help construct a narrative, try thinking of a few key adjectives or emotions you want consumers to feel when they visualize your brand.
Consider your Corporate Mission or History
Storytelling does not just have to be curated scenarios for a brand. Utilizing your organization`s mission statements and history can also be a valuable asset.
Think about why an organization was created and their motivations. Small or family owned businesses often use this history in their marketing because consumers typically enjoy supporting small Mom-and-Pop shops knowing that their business is staying in their community over a larger corporation.
Brands can also use their values and missions as a way to tell their story and connect with their consumers. Take Dove soap for example. Their advertisements rarely focus on the fact that they are just a soap company. In the past, Dove has had campaigns like Real Beauty that addresses something we all have–self esteem. This campaign shows real people who are realistic sizes and shapes and invites the consumer into self-acceptance of their own bodies. This corresponds with Dove`s mission statement that they are committed to helping people “realize their personal beauty potential by creating products that deliver real care.”
Campaigns like this are successful because consumers see themselves and their similar stories reflected in the brand’s mission.
Pick the Most Effective Medium for Your Audience
When it comes to storytelling, any marketing media is a viable option. Keep in mind that the medium that you choose for your message should directly reflect the intended audience.
If a brand is trying to tap into a younger audience, an Instagram post detailing company values or a narrative might be the best bet. If you are a firm trying to market services, telling your story on LinkedIn could yield great results. The best way to reach different intended audiences is utilizing multiple platforms with optimized content. This way your content is reaching multiple different demographics of people all while still being tailored.
Benefits of Storytelling in Marketing Plans
Shows Brand Personality
Storytelling has a direct connection to showing brand personality. When we develop a brand, we often want to associate specific feelings with it. For example, Tiffany & Co.`s brand personality involves glamor, sophistication, and a preference for the finer things in life. This feeling is created by the use of marketing and subsequent storytelling. Consumers associate the brand`s personality with the experience they are going to receive.
Because storytelling uses emotional appeals, consumers remember how a brand’s marketing and experience made them feel. Using the previous Dove example, consumers may feel more loyalty to Dove because its story is about making the consumer feel beautiful regardless of size or shape.
Humans are socially and emotionally driven and find meaning through shared experiences. Most likely, everyone has felt insecure about something based on their appearance. By telling real people’s stories to audiences who have also experienced the same emotions or social challenges, brand loyalty and consumer retention increases.
Storytelling is Exciting
Storytelling has the unique ability to transform information into engaging content for audiences. Take an industry like finance or even the automotive industry. It may seem straight to the point; you either need an accountant or you don`t, you either need a new car or you don`t. By incorporating storytelling into marketing these services and products, it can create new and exciting narratives that attract consumers.
Additionally, storytelling allows for storylines and content to be recycled. For example, the car brand Subaru markets itself as being a “family car”. With this story line, marketing can go anywhere–think a parent dropping their child off at their first day of kindergarten and then another campaign showing a parent dropping their child off at college. It uses the same storyline and appeals but provokes different shared experiences.
Seventh Gear Communications can help introduce a storytelling marketing strategy for your website and social media. To learn more, reach out to us anytime!
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