Storytelling is common to any culture around the world, and people are known to enjoy a good story in any shape or form. In the business world, storytelling has become central with digital marketing increasing in importance and varying options to share content on different mediums and platforms.
Storytelling takes digital marketing to the next level by making a campaign more relatable to the reader or viewer. The resurgence of storytelling is good for business because it allows a business to delve deeper into its unique selling proposition.
The engagement has also become more important, and this is why storytelling has become an integral part of the digital marketing campaign.
The importance of a story
Storytelling has been a part of creating a brand campaign since the inception of advertising. If you have ever seen an episode of Mad Men, you will understand that telling a compelling story has always been an integral part of the business world.
Much like any campaign, resonating with a potential buyer from simply telling the story of the power of a brand to inspire action is central to an optimal response from potential clients. A good story goes beyond the surface to address the true value of a product or a service.
However, it is important for brands to remain true to human needs and desires by responding to their need for authenticity. Authenticity does not require a sterilized approach, rather on that reveal certain truths, flaws, and vulnerabilities.
A compelling story reflects a sense of honesty that has been rare to come by in the advertising industry. Stories allow the viewer or reader (who is a potential client) the opportunity to get to know your brand and an emotional connection gives your story legs.
As a brand, this can be done by telling a nostalgic story, taking a folk tale approach, or telling a fast-paced and humorous story.
Use innovation to tell a story
Storytelling in business brings about the idea that your product can do more than simply solve a single aspect of a problem. Rather, it encompasses an aspect of how a product can completely transform one’s life.
Depending on the angle and the target audience, a good storytelling approach is one of inspiring social change and taking a form of action. The form of action does not always have to result in a sale or conversion but it allows the viewer or reader to remember your brand in association with your storytelling tropes.
Brands like Apple have since been associated with rebellion since their 1997 campaign, Here’s to the Crazy Ones. The premise of the story was rebellion and the campaign continues to resonate with people and is often quoted. This was also a testament to the fact that Apple took on a route that was not commercial or superficial but something very real to people.
Part of your business story also lies in the mission and vision, so when developing these stories, it is pivotal to see how they align to your overall business strategy and integrating SEO expert tips to increase your readership and website hits.
Resonating with societal values
People take their values very seriously, and as a business, you need to ensure that you find a sense of alignment in basic human values. Telling a good story in this regard can also lead to Instagram profile growth as Instagram has become an excellent platform to share visual stories.
Simply presenting your company as some corporation without a face has ironically become outdated in the digital age. Instead, people seek sincere and real engagement with human beings beyond being sold a product. Some marketers would dare to call this selling a lifestyle more than a product.
Capturing the imagination of readers and viewers requires a sense of emotion by removing the company as the protagonist. Okay, then who becomes the protagonist? Someone or something that can easily represent your client base. If you are marketing a car, understand your client is not simply looking for a car but a solution, a way to take their family from point A to point B and a way to save time.
What happens in that saved time? Well, they spend more time doing valuable things like taking their children on picnics or arriving on time for meetings and events. People care very little for a corporation. However, if they see themselves being reflected back in a campaign – this sparks inspiration.
If you are finding it difficult to craft a story, you can use the expertise of a practicing storyteller to take over and help you create a story.
Collaboration is key
As mentioned, collaborating with a storyteller can give you a leg up, as can real-life testimonies and inviting customers to participate in crafting a good story. Engagement is key in storytelling and allows a brand to find unique stories out there from clients. Companies have even started using user-generated content to sell their ideas and scale engagement.
Consumer-generated content is amazing because it gives a real-life perspective on a product and offers an authentic and honest way to engage the audience. Collaborative efforts also make it easier to generate content that is authentic and sincere. Most users do not have a reason to lie about their experience with a service or product unless they are paid to do so.
Bringing us to the important fact that you need to avoid such contrived content. Rather choose what works from a variety of perspectives and work with positive insights.
Address and solve needs
Any good story has a beginning, middle and ending. The beginning usually starts off with a problem, the middle is the complexities involved in solving the problem and finally, in the end, a resolution is reached. This is why negative feedback from clients should not overwhelm you. Rather, use those problems to tell the story of how you arrived at the solutions.
A good brand narrative taps into the emotions of these complexities and arriving at a solution. An emotional narrative is key in hooking the viewer to your story, it displays a sense of personal value that the brand could add in a person’s life. Upon encountering the story, the user becomes aware of how the brand can improve an aspect of their life.
The story is a journey into how this product or service can result in life becoming much easier and solving an issue a client might be battling with.
Storytelling is a good way to show someone how your product works and why it is good for them and can integrate into their lives. The story is a demonstration of not only solving a need but integrating or even creating a lifestyle.
Everyone loves a good ending
It may not be a fairytale but a good ending always works in your favor. Perhaps, you might leave it on a cliffhanger if it is an ongoing campaign. The important part is to end on a good note that emphasizes value, the use of a product in the viewer’s or reader’s life and how they can save time and money.
Avoid the superficiality of overselling your product to a point where you stop focusing on the customer journey. The idea is to travel with them through scenarios, emotions, benefits and finally reaching a viable solution.
The last thing you need is the viewer asking ‘so what?’ at the end of an emotional video about how your products will save a rare species of a rabbit by donating $1 to a charity with every subscription. The reaction you are looking for is ‘where do go to buy this?’ so your ending is your call to action and you need to make it a good one! Literally and figuratively.
A shallow and unsatisfying ending may leave your user feeling unsure of why they watched the video in the first place.
Resources and platforms for storytelling
The digital age has ushered in a range of tools and platforms you can easily tell stories on and collaborate to create beautiful and engaging content. Tools for video editing and capturing have become increasingly accessible and you can take advantage of different platforms for different kinds of storytelling.
It is important to first develop a coherent plan of how you will distribute your story and get it to people. In other words, you can use these resources as part of your content planning and also try innovative ways to be brands as publishers. Here are some suggestions:
A Blog: A blog is ideal for all your written content and sharing stories that are short and engaging. Remember, these days, readers have short attention spans and need to be engaged in a brief but concise manner. Consider a blog, and asking different writers and storytellers to assist in crafting well-packaged stories.
Instagram: With features like stories, and its ability to host 30-second videos, Instagram is a good platform to share a series of stories. You can either use the platform to tell the story there or use it to lead viewers to a larger resource like a website or YouTube Channel. Instagram offers a range of features that allow you to tell a good story.
YouTube: YouTube is an excellent platform for visual stories and is usually free with a Gmail account. The site is popular for videos and offers features like paid advertising to boost your views. A good budget in this regard goes a long way in distributing your story. YouTube videos are easily shareable and you can embed them on your website or your blog.
Twitter and Facebook: Each of these platforms have their own advantages but they have become a way in which people stay up to date on what is happening in the world. The platforms are a great way to engage feedback on your stories in real-time and find innovative ways to share your stories. Social media is highly conversational and allows your company to add societal value to its name and face.
Storytelling in the business world has proven that it does not need to be perfect or represent an inflated idea of a product. Rather humans place incredible value in a deep and personal connection to the product or service. Resonating with human beings does not have to be an exhausting marketing exercise, it can simply mean having an emotional connection.