Story telling is not a new concept for the brands regardless of the industry. Brands of all sizes understand the need to entertain their clients and prospects through the ancient technique of storytelling.
The audiences enjoy the idea of storytelling and the other benefit is that this method helps to build up a connection between brands and customers which results in brand loyalty. An important portion of content marketing, storytelling is a valuable practice which makes it easy for the businesses to connect with their customers in the best possible engaging way to capture their attention and increase returns.
How it works differently
The role story telling played in the marketing communications of a brand and the benefits it brings to the brand are numerous and far reaching. The key here is the engagement a story can develop with the audience and the long-term impact it leaves on the minds of your customer. Traditional corporate messages are nothing more than information dissemination about new offerings, sales, and other company news and there is great tendency for such messages to fade out with time and might be ignored completely due to the clutter in the market.
Having said all of that another additional aspect which needs understanding is that our brains are insanely greedy for stories. We spend about a third of our lives daydreaming–our minds are constantly looking for distractions–and the only time we stop flitting from daydream to daydream is when we have a good story in front of us.
Effective methods of Story Telling
The idea of story telling is important but the discussion does not end here as the ways to tell a story to the right people at the right time through a right medium is also very crucial. In the whole process of story telling the most important thing is the audience and how brands engage them and what brands tell about them. The hero to any story of the brand is the customer.
So, when the creative team sits and brain storms for the ideas the first question is what we need to tell and why we need to tell anything at all. How the audience will relate to it, what the story has for audience. Finding out a good idea is not enough, that idea has to be related to the brand and audience and should add value to your customers life. It is no more the age of marketing where you tell your audience the story about the product only
Most marketing tries to tell the story of the product. We invite prospective customers to pay attention to our widget by describing what it does or why it’s better and think we’re telling a story.
Analyze any piece of marketing collateral that resonates with you and you’ll realize that the company doesn’t tell the story of the product at all. What they do instead is tell the story of the customer in the presence of the product. The customer, not the product is the hero of the story. Let’s make it clearer from the real-world examples. When you look at the below mentioned campaigns you will get to know the motive of marketers behind these is to highlight the customer. The story makes the customer a star of the movie or the story and the supporting act is done by the product.
From Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ billboards and Cook Republic’s Panna Cotta and Johanna Basford’s colouring books.
Now the brand teams have released that their job is to show their customer how the product makes him the hero of his story.
The marketing and creative content that brands produce must deliver entertainment, information or utility. The creative teams need to understand that the focus of content has shifted from what the marketer wants to tell to what the audience wants to talk about.
Content Creation of Story telling
While planning your content for the decided marketing strategy storytelling is an important part of it. The marketers need to employ the all of the essentials of storytelling, as recognized in the book, The Power of Visual Storytelling, by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. The seven essential elements of storytelling are:
1. Projection of the Content:
The visuals of the content need to be fascinating and interesting. This can include photos, drawings, videos, etc.
2. Adaptive to the platform:
Marketer knows that IMC is the key for a successful campaign but now with increasing digital platform the new challenge is every next platform has a different objective and kind of audience. Even though it is of vital importance to keep a constant story, it is beneficial to customize the story to each digital and print platform or channel.
3. What has it for the Customer:
Enlighten to your viewers why your product or service is valuable to them. The story needs to explain that what solution the brand offers to the customer’s existing problem or may be the story needs to highlight that they don’t know yet they are experiencing an issue.
4. Brand Personification:
While developing the content for your story you cannot present anything which is generic and boring content; in its place, the creative team needs to understand what personality the brand would have if it were an individual and how that persona can be reflected through the communications. Decide before you start creating the content that what exactly your brand is as a person. Would it be a young, fun millennial or a caring, wise parent? Make-believe like you’re talking directly to single individual instead of marketing to thousands of people and focus on engraving your image to your target audience.
So, it is important before releasing any content for the marketer to consider how it fits into the conversation a brand is trying to develop with the audience. Whether it narrates the same story as earlier marketing campaigns?
Another essential to get the benefit of storytelling marketing is to make your audience work for your brand by sharing and endorsing your content. To achieve this the marketer, have to ensure that the content is worthy of sharing. This act can be stimulated by a call-to-action influencing readers to share your content.
7. Real-time amplification:
Use the content that your spectators are already involved in for your brand’s advantage. In order to achieve this, “take possessed content that people are already engaging with and add it to the targeted paid record to further take full advantage of the reach of content that people already find motivating and interesting.
When generating your brand’s story, remember to be truthful, imaginative and engaging
The Benefits of Storytelling based Content Marketing
Here are four benefits for brands who includes storytelling as part of their overall marketing strategies.
- Convey Your brand’s Personality
Storytelling is the perfect medium for a team to flaunt and showcase its brand’s personality. When you are communicating your brand persona through any content it has to be a story not a sale effort.
It is important to keep in mind when developing content and using the tool of storytelling to communicate the audience the brand’s persona that you narrate the exact brand’s characteristics.
- Make your brand the Central aspect
Storytelling has been key in marketing campaigns for a while in various industries, especially since the dawn of interactive/social media. This can be something symbolic, yet simple, like an expedition, to something more in-depth, with use of characters and a plot for the more audacious. Showing your brand as the central character in either case is vital.
Working in the said manner, will ensure the brand is essentially linked to the story’s message. This can range from confirming your brand is known as one that will bring quality results, to perhaps placing the brand above its competitors, be it as a champ, a maverick, or both. In either case, the brand needs to be prominent, which sounds modest, but can easily be overlooked, especially in an overcomplicated story.
- Use the Emotional Modifier
Storytelling itself is one of the best tools of content marketing to hit that emotional harmony with your customers. Tell stories that are actual or at the very least based on real stories and tell them in a way that induce feelings and emotions and so on. Do not in any situation try and touch that emotional level just for the sake of hitting it for customers will see right through you.
Considering the fact that remaining fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is tough for most individuals, so few gym marketing teams inspired their readers and clients with stories. Those were the stories of normal people who got rid of the bad habits in unusual ways, stories of how a normal person can also sometimes feel too lazy or too occupied and engaged to go to the gym. Their campaigns portrayed that it was not an issue with being vulnerable and it clicked their readers emotionally and thrills them into action.”
Be genuine, honest and real when developing such story telling campaigns. It is a fact that humans have always loved good stories. Knowing the fact all the professional marketers uses this to their advantage. Writing fake stories is a no-go area in marketing and never claim a story is true that every person knows as fake or unreal.
- Retain the Customers
Every brand in the existence wants its customers and prospects for that matter, to come back for more. Perhaps the ‘more’ can manifest itself in multiple manners including sales certainly but that gets old real fast. The more appropriate way to keep them coming back is by means of storytelling.
It is a fact of the human nature that when he reads a story, not only do the verbal parts of their brains light up, but the other part of the brain that we use in case we were actually experiencing what we were reading about becomes activated as well.
A huge percentage of individuals I exposed to the words every day and they express their interest in stories rather than hearing words and facts. So, the lesson is to TELL THEM REAL STORIES.
Story Telling tradition and its mechanics
The tradition of storytelling is ages old and its mechanics has been evolving with the passage of time. One of the most fascinating observation related to storytelling which goes way back to the traditional oral storytelling ritual is that great stories were never set in stone, but continually varying as they were told, influenced by spectator’s response and then re-told; being passed on from one generation of narrators to another. While the digital situation offers new channels and faster interactivity, it still repeats the ancient custom of storytelling by reflecting the importance of the audience in the course. In both cases and across the eras, the addressees and consumers are there to listen, to develop and to share.
The most impactful stories are progressively told in cinematic forms. This aspect has a downside, which is, the amplified pressure on journalism.
This is to admit that now the audience is vital part when it comes to successful storytelling. Here is a perspective for marketing strategies to encourage consumers to tell brand stories.
Mentioned here are few top content distribution strategies
- Influencer advertising
- Electronic message marketing
- Social media
- Guest blogging
- Paid distribution
- Brand’s Internal employees
- Distribution platforms
After understanding the role of storytelling and the appropriate ways to develop a good content relatable to the audience, next step is to build a strategy that inspires an audience to participate with the brand in its campaigns and connect to the stories that are being told.
Here is the lesson that every brand need to embrace the power of storytelling. The creativity and the art of a brand’s story draws its audience into brand’s world, and the discipline of in what manner the brain is stimulated by the story is what makes a brand unforgettable.