Storytelling in Marketing: What’s Your Story?

Being a successful marketer means always looking for new ways to get people’s attention and then turn that attention into action. You try to find out what your target audience is afraid of, what makes them happy and what they value most. You lure them with discounts and sales, and you show them your product’s features. 

And these strategies are great. The only problem is that they mostly work with first-time customers. But how do you get them to keep coming back? That requires trust and building relationships. 

This is where the art of storytelling comes into play. Story-based marketing grabs people’s attention, motivates them, and persuades them to buy something. However, it also promotes intimacy and trust, both of which are necessary for effective relationships.

Narrative and storytelling have been shown to help people engage emotionally with brands. So it’s no surprise that many businesses are shifting their marketing tactics to focus on storytelling as a means of conveying the brand’s messages to customers. Companies are increasingly using brand marketing and branded content to share stories and interact with consumers.

The concept of brand marketing is to raise company awareness. After raising awareness, marketers use creative campaigns to generate interest in the company’s products and brand. Creative campaigns can take many forms. For example, marketers can use branded content to promote a brand and its values without openly pushing people to buy anything. 

Netflix used this strategy to promote the show Orange Is the New Black. Instead of using traditional commercials, the streaming giant partnered with New York Times on a piece about female prison inmates. In this piece, inmates were photographed wearing bright orange jumpsuits, alluding to the show’s title and visual aspect.

Dove used the same strategy in its campaign on real beauty, which highlighted the discrepancy between what women see in the mirror and what they believe they should see.

These clever marketing strategies help brands connect with new audiences and increase their revenue.

Storytelling in Marketing: What's Your Story?

Storytelling Helps Brands Connect With Consumers 

Storytelling allows marketing companies like DPDK Digital Agency to engage with audiences on a more personal level because telling stories is a universal human experience that brings people together and helps them form stronger, more lasting bonds.

We use stories to pass on knowledge and meaning. We learn from what we see and experience, and we use stories to teach others what we’ve learned. That’s why so many parents read bedtime stories to their kids. 

But this form of communication works both ways. Someone’s reaction to a story can give you insight into their thoughts, feelings and values. Marketers also use stories to get a deeper understanding of the market and how it affects their target audience, brands, companies and society as a whole. 

It Adds the Human Element

When brands communicate with potential customers, interactions can feel quite transactional and that’s because they are. The brand is offering a product or a service that the customer pays for. It is, in essence, a transaction. But things are never that simple. We are complex beings, so naturally, business always means more than just business. 

The product or service stems from a need in society that’s influenced by various economic, social and cultural factors. The brand representing a company is providing a means to satisfy that need. But the company also has a need to sell and grow. 

Then there’s the issue of competition. There are usually several companies that provide similar products or services to fulfil the same need. And when offers are similar, it all comes down to trust. Would you rather take advice from a friend or a complete stranger? That’s why it’s so important for companies to build recognisable brands and good relationships with their customers. 

Storytelling adds that human element and makes a brand feel more like a friend: approachable, relatable and trustworthy. 

Storytelling Evokes Empathy

A story has a hero, and if you can get people to care about that hero, they’ll care about what you have to say. The hero needs to be relatable, so people want to see them succeed. The hero needs to convey a relatable emotion that evokes empathy. 

For example, your hero is someone who feels stuck in their mundane life. They crave a bit of adventure, that sense of freedom. Many people feel like that. And your product, a pair of sports shoes, gives them the means to experience that feeling they crave. 

Storytelling Gives Brands Personality

A brand’s personality is a collection of human traits and values. This makes customers feel like they are interacting with someone and not a faceless corporation. A powerful brand story can help a company stand out from its competitors. Their customers see them as a friend and not just another company offering a similar product or service. 

This, in turn, helps the company attract potential customers to their brand and keeps them coming back. But what makes a brand story compelling?

Well, it should show what that particular company stands for and what sets it apart from all the others. Most importantly, it needs to feel authentic. 

We already mentioned that every story needs a hero. It actually needs at least two characters, the hero and a helper. 

The hero needs to be as relatable as possible to elicit empathy, and that’s why the hero usually represents the ideal buyer. The hero also needs to feel real and have a sense of purpose. 

The helper is the character that brings this hero that the audience identifies with from where they are to where they want to be. The helper is the brand. Through this helper, brands can show the audience what sets them apart from the competition and why they created the product in the first place. 

For example, let’s say the brand represents a bank. This bank is trying to reach an audience of young professionals with good incomes that don’t know how to manage their money, so they helplessly watch their salaries vanish every month despite their best effort to be more responsible with their spending. 

This is the ideal customer and the hero of our story. What does this hero need? Help, of course. This is where the helper, a.k.a. the bank, can come in and teach the hero how to better manage their money so they can gain financial security and peace of mind.

FG Editorial Team
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