Have you ever read a story written by an elementary school student? You never know what you’ll get, but it’s always entertaining! The creativity in a first-grader’s brain is enough to take you on a full emotional journey in seconds. Talk about storytelling! And storytelling only gets better and more impactful with age. Storytelling marketing can take your audience on the same emotional journey.
In Donald Miller’s book, “Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message so Customers Will Listen,” wrote:
He means that your brand can become the solution to a problem with thoughtful storytelling. If you have a story to tell, buckle up! We’ll tell you how to share it.
What is Storytelling in Marketing?
Storytelling is using words to engage your readers’ imagination and help them connect with your writing. You experience storytelling in your favorite novels, photos, movies, children’s books, videos, and the embarrassing stories your family tells about your childhood.
All storytelling takes you somewhere. Somewhere you’ve been before, a new place, or somewhere you can’t even imagine. Storytelling in marketing is a similar concept.
Marketing includes stories that communicate a clear message. They’re a combination of fact and narrative. These fact-based stories keep people engaged and entertained while giving them insight into your brand. Storytelling marketing can bring people together and help them feel less alone. This kind of impact provides a unique opportunity for your brand.
Why Do Brands Tell Stories?
One of the major reasons brands tell stories is to attract their desired audience. Well-thought-out stories can persuade, inform, or entertain. No matter the purpose, stories are an opportunity for your brand to be vulnerable and authentic with your audience.
- Be Remembered Easily. Potential customers will remember the stories you share because they emotionally invest in your brand before they buy anything.
- Simplify Complex Concepts. Sometimes what you’re selling is difficult to explain concisely. Stories allow you to tell your audience, in your voice, why they need what you’re offering rather than bombard them with technical terms.
- Bind Together Content. You may have content that seems disconnected. Tell a story! Weave your content together by telling a story incorporating key elements from your seemingly discombobulated content.
- Connect with Customers. Stories ignite unity which often creates a connection between you and your clients. Emotional connections result in relationships that are beneficial to both parties.
The Power of Storytelling Marketing
Donald Miller also said, ”When we empathize with our customers’ dilemma, we create a bond of trust. People trust those who understand them, and they trust brands that understand them too.” Storytelling marketing is an intimate way of saying, “Hey. We see you, we hear you, and we’ve got you” to your audience.
- Makes Your Content More Human. People may originally gravitate toward your brand because your logo is eye-catching or your website is easy to navigate. But they stay for the personality behind your company and the ideas and people you represent.
- Builds an Emotional Connection. Yes, most business deals are transactional exchanges, but people want more than that. They want to do business with brands they relate to and share values with. Stories can help display those concepts.
- Creates a Strong Brand Personality. Your business is not a robot. It has roots, a mission, and a dedicated team. Your team shares values and a passion for what you do in your industry. These aspects of your brand personality should shine through in your content. Tell your audience about the charities you support, the stances you take, and the personal story of how your business began. Your brand is a story, so don’t be afraid to tell it.
- Gives Rhyme and Reason. Miller said, “Story helps because it is a sense-making mechanism. Essentially, story formulas put everything in order, so the brain doesn’t have to work to understand what’s going on.” Well-written stories provide clarity and a sense of ease to your audience.
Elements of Impactful Storytelling
There’s more than one way to cook an egg, and there’s definitely more than one way to tell an impactful story. Take time to create full-bodied stories rather than slapping some information on a page. Your customers trust you to deliver an answer to their problems.
Impactful storytelling marketing:
- Identifies a Problem. What problem is the main character of your story having? This problem should be one that your audience members have that would lead them to seek help from your business.
- Relates to the Customer. How does the story immediately relate to your audience? Readers should be able to identify with the themes in your stories.
- Offers a Solution. Who will be the hero that helps your main character with their problem? Your brand!
- Elevates Your Expertise. How can you show off your knowledge in a friendly, helpful way? Don’t be afraid to share the studying, research, and time you’ve put into your company. Also, share your mistakes. They help people learn and humanize you.
- Conveys Empathy. How can you let your audience know that you identify with their problem and want to help? Remember to show your humanity.
- Defines the What’s at Stake. Can you adequately explain how your product or service will help your readers win against their issue? They should know the benefit of supporting your business and the continuous problem they’ll have if they choose not to.
- Extends an Invitation. Have you offered them a way to learn more about your company and what it can do for them? Provide all the extra information you can in a streamlined manner.
Examples of Storytelling Marketing
So, where do you start? Let’s look at the brand DIFF Charitable Eyewear. We’ll call them DIFF for short. DIFF sells sunglasses, blue-light glasses, and prescription glasses. They donate part of the proceeds from each sale to those around the world with visual impairments. All over their website, you can find stories about the people they’ve been able to help. Not only that, the eyewear they sell is high quality and fashionable.
One of the stories is about an 8-year-old and reads:
“Souleyman lives in Senegal and used to have cataracts in both eyes. He was unable to live life to the fullest. But after receiving his sight-saving operation, Souleyman is now thriving! Souleyman’s life was changed thanks to our continued work with Sightsavers and the help of DIFF supporters like you. Each pair of DIFFs purchased means better sight for someone in need.”
This quick yet impactful story is vulnerable and emotional while still highlighting the purpose of their product and the impact your purchase can have.
Use storytelling marketing to share:
- Why your brand exists
- Why a product is meaningful
- How customers find your company
- How customers use your product or service
- The story of the impact your product or service makes on individuals or a broader cause.
Share Your Stories
Storytelling marketing is not something you can learn overnight. In fact, it takes time and practice to do it properly. If you need a little help executing this style of writing, contact Content Journey. We will study your audience and listen to your goals to cultivate the most impactful stories for your brand. Don’t be shy! Every company has a story, and yours deserves to be told.