Since the beginning of time, people have been connected through stories, which provide a means of entertainment and a method of teaching. Although stories are thousands of years old, they have their place in modern society – not least in business. When business leaders harness the power of stories in their marketing strategies, results and loyal customers will follow.
Use the science of storytelling to connect with your audience
There’s a reason why you can forget a person’s name, but recount your conversation with that person line by line. It’s not because you’re rude or just bad with names. That’s because your brain is programmed to learn through stories, recognize patterns, and retain information thanks to a neatly packaged story.
If a story is good, it doesn’t matter if the brand is known – the story carries the message. This is great news for emerging brands and brands with smaller marketing budgets. In addition, with more proprietary communication channels and proprietary marketing channels, brands can share their stories without relying on traditional gatekeepers.
Nativo, a content marketing platform I’ve worked with, unlocked the potential of storytelling by focusing on more than just native ads. Instead, using machine learning and artificial intelligence, the company emphasizes the importance of creating authentic content and messages to meet consumers in the familiar environments where they already operate. By meeting consumers where they are, with authentic and high-quality branded content, brands can tell stories that build genuine connections and lead to business results.
Implementing the practice of creating powerful, relevant stories creates an opportunity for lesser-known brands to rise to the top and compete with legacy brands.
Leverage established storytelling principles to tell stories that stick
Aristotle’s Poetics highlights the six elements of drama: plot, character, thought, diction, spectacle and song. These elements form the backbone of stories that your audience will connect with. But you don’t have to go back to school to become an expert storyteller.
Marketing leaders regularly refer to what’s known as the “Pixar Pitch” when developing compelling, compelling content to get a buy-in or gain insight into the change. By leveraging Pixar’s simplified approach to storytelling, marketers can create stories that engage audiences and leave messages that stick.
Take your audience on a journey, starting with identifying the status quo, the incendiary incident, and the actions that follow. Use your company’s origin story as a template for engaging conversation. What may seem old-fashioned to you may be a relevant, relatable story to your audience.
Think of the time-consuming, weekly task of grocery shopping. Instacart’s founders responded to a shared pain in an otherwise tech-friendly world and developed an affordable solution. Simply marketing the cost-based service as a convenient convenience is not enough to get the message across. However, telling the story of a family that gains valuable time together thanks to eliminated trips to the grocery store hits home. Focus on the outcome your business can deliver and create stories that connect your customers’ pain points to your solution.
Trade in corporate armor for an authentic story that resonates
Outdoor outfitter Patagonia does what many retailers don’t want. In their marketing messages, they regularly discourage customers from buying their clothes. Instead, they urge their customers to reuse and repair their Patagonia items, which is a vivid demonstration of their commitment to sustainability. Over the years, the company has added second-hand resale and exchange programs to further underline their sustainability message. By living their values and integrating them into their customer experience, Patagonia has become one of the most loved outdoor retailers today.
Learn from Patagonia’s approach to authentic marketing, even if your product is less tangible. Focus on your company’s values, innovation and people to craft an authentic message that resonates with your customers’ needs. If your researchers have been working day and night testing the effectiveness of your products, share the story of their diligence. If your product helps customers live better and happier lives, use stories to tell how it happens. When you connect and share the “why” behind what you do in an authentic story format, customers listen.
Cut through the noise with a great story
Stories put your customer’s experience front and center, helping them relate to and connect with your offerings. Whether you develop code to encrypt sensitive financial information or sell household essentials, you have a great story to tell. Explore what makes your company, mission and values unique to create engaging stories that stand out from the competition. Doing so will gain loyal customers and establish your reputation as an industry leader.