In today’s world, it is not enough to tell your consumer about your product—your consumer also needs to know who you are. Storytelling is the way to reach out to customers and lend a human image to your brand. In the past few years, storytelling has thus become a very influential marketing tool. However, while some brands have used this art brilliantly to grow their brand image, some have failed miserably. If you are wondering how you can master the art of storytelling, then read on.
Why Stories Matter In Marketing?
There are many reasons why storytelling is becoming an important part of the marketing strategy. Brands are adopting unique stories to build on their brand proposition because:
- Potential customers are able to identify more with a brand
- It brings in an entertainment quotient
- It has the ability to inform and educate the masses
- A complex message can be explained to the consumers easily and more interestingly. For example, VR gear or high-end smartphones can be a complicated concept. Using stories to explain technical features thus help brands reach out to potential customers
- If the idea is an abstract one, a story can help in a better understanding—much like the explanation of a mathematical concept by using a day-to-day example
- Every human has an emotional quotient. Hence, stories that strike the right chord, inspire, and motivate bring people across the world together and create a sense of community
How You Can Create Compelling Stories
Choose Your Hero
When you are thinking of a story you must decide who your hero is. Over time, if your ultimate goal changes, you hero will too. For example, when you are launching a brand, your hero will be your brand and later, when you are growing your brand image, the customer will become your hero. The story that you devise will also, thus change. When you do make your brand the hero it does not mean you have a self-centric attitude. It just means that you are at the starting point of a new journey and you want to hence start by connecting with people and making them aware of your product. These are the ways you can make your brand the hero:
- Talk about the people and their efforts that led to the creation of the brand
- Have a mission or a cause associated with your brand. For example, Chipotle spoke about how they pledged to work with small farms.
- Highlight your product in such a way that it leads to the creation of interest and curiosity in the minds of people
Your Story Must Have a Conflict and a Resolution
Simply choosing a character to tell your story is not enough. He is the bridge between you aren the audience. Hence, the audience should be able to identify with the character. For this, not only must the character have visual appeal and personality traits, but must also possess:
- A conflict which will bring out how the character faces an issue and the methods used to overcome the challenge.
- A resolution wherein the character has a closing. It need not always be a good ending, but an impactful one that will leave the potential customers with a CTA.
To choose the right conflict and resolution:
- You must know your audience well. You need to build on your story based on who will be reading, listening, or viewing your story
- Have a well-defined message. When you are writing your core message, try and express it in 6-10 words. You can build on this idea thereafter
- Decide how you want your audience to feel after they have read or seen your story. For this you need to decide on your end objective. For example, are you focussing on a social cause or a new product feature
Make Your Story Emotionally Appealing
When you write a story to make potential customers aware of your brand or build on its existing image, you must pay heed to its emotional appeal. What does not appeal to the heart, will be forgotten about very soon. Some tips in this context are:
- Describe how an action was successfully completed by the hero. This will encourage the audience to do the same
- Tell the story about the hard work, struggles, and failures of those who created the brand. This lends genuineness to the tale
- Convey values that the human mind is familiar with as complex values might be tough to understand
- Speak of ways it will foster the feeling of unity and community
- Keep the characters neutral – some ideologies are held very strongly by people. If the hero takes one particular side, it will not go down well with the group that is against that ideology
- Use the protagonist to educate the people and impart knowledge
A trailer has the power of building up anticipation and curiosity in the mind of the audience. So, if you have created a video, start teasing the audience with clips much before it’s release. You can share the snippets on social media or via emails.
Have a Clear CTA
You might have an objective that you have thought of. However, if you don’t give your potential customers a clear CTA, then the entire purpose of creating an impactful story will be lost. The audience must know what they have to do post the story. For example:
- Do you want them to purchase your product?
- Do you want them to donate for charitable purposes?
- Do you want them to download an ebook or subscribe to a newsletter?
- Do you want them to share the story on social media?
Choose the Medium for Your Story
A story can be read, listened to, or viewed.
- A story meant only for reading can be published as blog posts, feature stories on your website, or as books. Such stories are usually mostly text with a few images. These kinds of stories are the most affordable and take the least time to write.
- A story that is to be heard can be told by you at events, during presentations, during a panel discussion, or at TED talks. These have a’live’ quotient to it and hence it needs to be well practiced so that it brings out the right emotions. Another type of story that can be heard are audio stories. These are recorded and in today’s digital age they are quite easy to do.
- The last type is the one that is to be viewed. These are told through various media like video, interactive stories, animations, and even video games. This is the most effective of the three modes and resonates with the audience the most. However, they are expensive and should be taken up only if you have the budget for it.
When you are planning a story as a part of your marketing strategy, you should decide which medium would work best for you. This would be based on:
- Who your audience is
- Resources available to you like time and the budget
The Power of Storytelling
Storytelling has the ability to turn a brand into a vibrant one and set it apart from the rest. No wonder marketers have begun to add this strategy into their marketing kit. However, like all art forms, it needs creativity, skills, and practice—it cannot be mastered in a day, one learns it by trial-and-error. So, pick up your pen, follow these tips and get writing your masterpiece today.