Many brands have the very best digital talent at their disposal, with the technical knowledge to make excellent use of tools, apps and technology. They have strategy experts and the means of monitoring and analysing the success of their campaigns. However, not all of them have mastered what can be the most effective weapon when it comes to engaging and motivating consumers – a good story.
Why is storytelling so important?
The art of storytelling can be a tool that when mastered, allows you to connect with your audiences on a deeper level. There are millions of brands competing for the attention of the same audiences, but the ability to establish an emotional connection with the consumer is what will make your brand make an impression. Explaining the impact of an authentic story, well-told, Pixar’s Andrew Stanton told a 2020 TED Talk audience:
“The problems of information overload in making your voice heard are many, but their solution is simple – your story, told by you.”
An insight into the topic published on the Fast Company website describes the weaving of stories into the narrative of a digital marketing campaign as “story selling”. We’re a species that has been fascinated by fiction for thousands of years, from using them to improve our social interpersonal skills to using them as a form of escapism.
Crucially, a story can help an individual to imagine a situation happening to themselves, a fact that online marketers should be taking full advantage of. If you can create a situation which your target audience and customer personas can identify with, you can wield a lot of power when it comes to influencing their purchasing decisions as well as putting your brand forward as one they can identify with.
Key examples of the impressive power of stories in marketing include brands which put their founder’s stories at the forefront of the brand’s identity, from Virgin’s Richard Branson to Chanel’s Coco Chanel. Google is also an expert at creating emotional stories to demonstrate how their products enrich lives and the human experience, as well as simply solving problems. Companies such as silicone putty brand Sugru also make excellent use of customer stories in their digital marketing campaigns, asking users to share their experiences of fixing things (from wheelchairs to cameras) and solving problems using their product.
Your takeaway from this should be that stories have the power to provoke an emotional response, which also has the benefit of making your digital content more shareable. And, of course, shareable content could soon go viral in the same way as a John Lewis Christmas advert. A story also gives the customer something to identify with, as well as making your brand more relevant to them. It can drive everything from customer loyalty to sales and social media engagement.
Do you agree that stories have more power than virtually any other digital marketing tool? Do you have an example of digital marketing storytelling that you’re particularly proud of?