Do you still remember how you felt when you were just a kid and someone told you a story? That was storytelling in all its essence: it was a magical moment, and most of the times it transported us to somewhere new, exciting and fantastic, taught us something and allowed us to unleash our imagination.
Well, we want to let you in on a little secret: adults feel the same way when someone tells them a good story!
And, believe it or not, when it comes to promoting something, storytelling is one of the most effective (and simple) ways to get most of us to engage with a brand, a product or a service, making us want to buy it, or use it.
Marketing-wise, storytelling can be defined as the ‘art’ of taking a good story, with relevant content, and turning it into an engaging narrative that speaks to the heart of one’s audience i.e. our clients – existing and potential ones. It’s considered one of the main components of content marketing, if not the most important one.
The question is: do you, as a business, need it? Yes. Everyone does! Why? Because, at the end of the day, a brand is just a matter of perception.
When you tell a story, giving your brand, your products or services, an ‘identity’, and you share it, you’re able to take your audience (remember, existing and potential clientele) on a journey, and you create an experience that resonates with them. The result: customer loyalty and more sales!
Simple, right? Well, yes… and no…! Though the principle itself is a rather straightforward one, it requires vision, creativity, skill, and practice, lots and lots of practice, as it is often a trial-and-error process, until you master it. You need to understand what speaks to your audience, what makes them tick and how to ‘fit’ your brand, your products or services into it.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the results you wanted on your first attempt. Many of those who succeed (and are even famous) today, didn’t either. But they kept on doing it until they found their ‘own voice’.
So, let’s see if we can give you some pointers that will steer your boat in the right direction:
– Take your audience on a journey – don’t go all Wikipedia on them, as they don’t need just facts and data. Even if your content is not narrative-like per se, you can still do it by using well-structured topics and stringing ideas together, letting them flow naturally from one to the next, like a river. Don’t forget that if content is King, structure is his Queen!
– Create ways for people to identify with your brand – it’s essential that they relate to what you’re telling them. A good story, like a good song, in the right moment, will stay with us forever, even if we can’t remember exactly, for instance, who wrote it. We all want to be the hero, the princess, the secret agent, the winner, etc, so make your user feel everything you’re telling him: all the love, all the fear, all the obstacles, all the hope, all the achievements, all the thrills and, of course, the happy ending! So don’t forget that persuading CTA (call-to-action) at the very end.
– Make emotions arise and stories seduce us – communication throughout human history has been made through stories: painted in the caves of Neanderthals, passed from grandfathers to fathers and to their sons at the dinner table, printed by Guttenberg, filmed by Hollywood, available with just one click on the World Wide Web. If you turn your user into your story’s ‘main character’, it will be easier to pass on your message, as it’s anchored to the story he is now ‘living and feeling’.
Keep in mind that storytelling can be done using written or verbal content, images, sounds or videos. And don’t forget the golden principle – in order for users to establish a personal connection with your brand, your stories must be real, creative and, if possible, inspirational.
There are many good examples of corporate storytelling available online to inspire you, but being all women at Clarity, this one, though a decade(ish) old, is still one of our favourites:
So, storytelling… shall we give it a try?!