Today is #tellastoryday, but we’re not going to tell you a story – we’re going to tell you why you should be using storytelling in marketing.
However, we aren’t going to use this blog to tell you how to tell stories through digital marketing, there’s plenty of advice out there and your approach needs to be tailored to your business goals. Rather, our aim is to remind you to structure your stories.
Using storytelling in marketing allows marketers to tap into that inbuilt, emotional connection that we all have to the idea of a ‘story’. As children we were read stories by the people in our lives that we trust, we were later taught how to write them ourselves at school and appreciate the journey a writer can take us on. It’s human nature to follow a story from beginning to end, to be satisfied by the ending, but equally crave more.
As marketers looking to connect with their audience in order to incite some sort of response, what better way than through storytelling?
Unfortunately, the word ‘storytelling’ is thrown about a bit too much in our world, with some people not quite getting the concept. A lot of the stories out there forget to follow the basic structure of a beginning, middle and an end.
A traditional story arc, for example, sees movement between an incident, rising action, and a climax through to the action falling off before a resolution. However, a lot of so-called ‘stories’ out there will just chuck an incident out there and give it a resolution without filling in the middle, losing out on that relatable aspect with users. Once upon a time, Gary was struggling to rank on Google… but now he ranks number one for his brand name, go Gary! Ok… how? What? Why? When? Tell the story!
There are some traditional elements of storytelling that will never change, that of; humour, heart and thought. All emotions that we, as marketers, can use to our advantage to sell our product or services in a multitude of different ways.
We are all up against the worst enemy of them all in this digital world, short attention spans. Our audience don’t always have the time, and trying to inspire them within the first 3 seconds of seeing a piece of content will forever be a challenge. But, get them hooked in those three seconds and they’re like putty in your hands and you’ve got full control on how the story pans out.
You don’t have to tell a story through a single piece of content either. If you’re clever and plan things out, then you can span it across various mediums and platforms. Get people hooked, assess that specific audience, and tailor the content to them.
92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story. If you can present these in a linear way and create a clear narrative, through the power of words, visuals or audio, then you’ll be giving the consumer what they want – that’s the goal, right?
An example of great storytelling through ads can be thrown back to 1984 with Ridley Scott’s 1984 advert for Apple (see below). This was played at the Super Bowl and was credited with changing the way consumers watch out for the ads. This doesn’t follow a traditional story structure as it feels like we’re thrown into the middle, but doesn’t it leave you wanting to know the beginning and the end? An interesting approach to storytelling, understanding that the strongest part of any narrative is the middle.
If you’ve ever attended one of Luke’s talks, he explains how we can harness the hero’s journey through digital storytelling. We won’t give any spoilers away from his talk, you should definitely hear it sometime. But what better way to structure your storytelling, than through this journey that we all, as individuals, embark on in life. Though usually the backbone of popular fiction, this template can be accommodating to everyday life.
For example, you can even align your storytelling to your marketing funnel. Awareness, consideration, purchase and loyalty.
Like we said, we aren’t going to tell you how to do this. We know it’s just useful sometimes to have a reminder. We’re all caught up in everything else that needs doing that the small things can slip through the cracks. So, consider yourself reminded! Structure those stories, create amazingly captivating content and amaze the consumers.
A quick throwback to last year’s GIANTtalks at Foyles Bookshop London where we had three great speakers discussing Storytelling through Digital Marketing. If you’d like to sign up for this year’s free events, the first of which is in May, then click here: