I’ll bet the best lessons you’ve learnt in life have probably come from a great story? This ancient art dating all the way back to the caveman era has been impacting and influencing human beings for centuries. Lucky for us, we are not restricted to clay paint and a cave-wall, our grubby fingers are capable of so much more!
Thanks to advances in technology and the accessibility of social sphere we are not only able to create beautiful content, we can share it with the whole damn world. Unfortunately (for marketers anyway) just about anyone with access to the good ol’ internet can share content – that’s why it’s important to be creative and share something that affects human beings emotionally. Even Facebook agrees. Flatlined “likes” just weren’t enough for us to express ourselves.
Every way we look we look, someone is trying to get our attention and as a consumer, we’re just about reaching sensory overload. So how do you get attention without jumping up and down, waving a red flag? You use a technique that is intrinsically natural to humans – storytelling.
But where does my brand come into this you ask?
When we create a story the brand becomes a character and that character embodies the values and ethos of the business. When a person experiences this story they intrinsically see the brand or the brand’s message as the protagonist and this leaves a long-lasting mark on their perception of the business.
You can sell an item, or you can sell a story. If you follow MasterCard ad’s, you’ll know it’s priceless. Storytelling is strongly focused on people, it’s all about creating content with personality that users will be encouraged to connect with and share. But what makes a story? Well, you don’t need a pumpkin carriage or a cackling villain for it to be a story. There are two simple elements, cause and effect. As long as these two elements are portrayed a story can be in many forms such as video, photography, song and of course the classic written form.
The benefits and capabilities of storytelling are endless. Let me list just a few for you.
Blending advertising into stories
We are constantly exposed to advertising while browsing the web and sometimes it can just feel like you are being bombarded. When a person feels overwhelmed they will subconsciously block out the content. It’s not only our minds doing this, Facebook has recently updated their algorithms to have users see more of their friends content and less content from brands and businesses. This is both good and bad, bad because some methods of marketing may receive less impressions, again… But good because it leaves room in the feed for storytelling.
The success of storytelling is highly reliant on sharing, either physically sharing/reposting or by word of mouth. The great thing about this is if people are encouraged to share content then your reach is extended to a far a greater audience and your job is done for you. Too easy, right?
Emotional exchange instead of value exchange
For Millennials, our exchange of value is very different. We care about creating a better World. We want to buy from brands who meet our personal value and support what we identify with. Making a difference. We have been reported to switch brands and don’t care if we spend more just to know our money is going towards something that play’s to our heart strings.
When developing a marketing campaign it’s important to consider the customer’s loyalty over a one time sale. As a business you have more to offer than just your product, with storytelling you offer your followers an experience for free, if this experience is positive then this positivity will likely rub off on your brand leading to sales down the track.
More memorable campaigns
Like all good methods of marketing storytelling looks at how consumers think and consume information and this information is used to reach a target audience. Humans are deeply emotional beings, we love to laugh, care and be empowered, therefore, storytelling appeals to our intrinsic need find something relatable in content. It is science that when we listen, read or watch a story our brain releases dopamine which enhances our brain’s ability to remember. You can’t argue with science!
Sharing what your brand stands for
Storytelling not only allows you to engage your audience but it gives you the podium to share what your brand believes in. Whether it be environmental issues, alleviation of poverty, keeping things real, making people smile, changing peoples perspective, supporting the little guys, innovation, talent, social justice issues or basically anything your brand should stand for something as it shows you are committed and passionate about real-life! For example, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are infamous for donating 99% of their Facebook shares to the cause of ‘human advancement’. This is not only a good deed, but a clever marketing ploy as this positivity is now tied to the Facebook name.
Now not everyone has 45 billion dollars they can donate to the cause of their choice, but this is not always necessary. Using your platform to engage people with a cause and get people talking can be just as, if not more, valuable.
I could go on forever about the benefits of storytelling but then none of us would get any work done. You don’t have to take my word for it there’s plenty of businesses such as Air BnB, Optus and Apple who are taking reaping the benefits of storytelling in their campaigns.