Think back to your child’s bedtime, a cocktail party at work or the last neighborhood potluck. How often did those around you request a list of features and benefits? Recite your ROI metrics? Ask for independent reviews? Hopefully, never!
What usually fills those situations are stories. Once-upon-a-time fairy tales, funny anecdotes about coworkers on business trips, shared reminiscences and urban legends gone viral. “Remember the time Bob got lost in Denver?” or “Tell the one about golfing in Thailand again!”
- The unique power of storytelling fuels them all.
- Two-thirds of consumers remember stories
When marketers tap into the art of storytelling, their brands can soar.
With storytelling — unlike other forms of communication — you listen differently. You remember more. You connect at a deeper level. You move beyond processes, logic and facts to people, emotions and shared values.
According to a recent article, nearly two-thirds of people remember stories, compared to just 5% who remember statistics. The results are even more compelling when it comes to television. An advertising study analyzed more than 100 commercials broadcast during the Super Bowl. The stronger an ad’s storytelling and plot, the greater its success.
Stories shouldn’t replace other tactics in your marketing arsenal, but they should be a strong component of your approach. Follow these tips to inject narrative elements into your next campaign:
- Find your common ground. Just as there are good stories, there are also the bad and the boring. Make your stories as enticing as a best-selling novel by focusing first on your audience. What do your target consumers want to hear — and what will they want to tell others? (Hint: It’s not about your product or service.) Stories need to be engaging, entertaining and educational in order to captivate.
- Weave your plot. All stories incorporate a beginning, a middle and an end. Action, challenges and suspense carry the audience along. Your advertisement should be no different. Use the beginning to introduce your characters and the problem — the quest —that they must resolve. In the middle, unpack their challenges in more detail, showing how they face obstacles on their journey. And in the end, of course, create a resolution. This is not a simple “happily ever after” because of a product purchase; effective stories unveil the new world of possibilities and always keep the characters at the center.
- Show, don’t tell. Stories activate multiple areas of the brain. The more vivid the details, the more emotions you engage with your audience. Let your characters, settings and actions shine; save the facts for later.
- Be authentic. Lastly, keep it real. Storytelling that’s just a veneer over traditional corporate promotion will backfire. Consumers — especially those on social media —will quickly pan those brands that fail the sniff test. Brands that excel at storytelling often enlist their customers, in their own words, to create exceptional — and genuine —content.
Inspire your audience and find the stories that will win your customers’ hearts.
by Rob DeMars
Courtesy of mediapost