How to Successfully Weave Storytelling with Marketing

October 1, 2012 Aaliyah Madadi

Since the beginning of human history, mankind has been attracted to stories and storytelling. We’ve seen evidence of cave drawings from 40,000 years ago; we’re still learning from ancient texts such as Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” or Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”; and we’re continuously compelled towards movies and novels that re-imagine our world and stimulate our mind. The essence of storytelling is part of human nature and it’s ever more important that marketers capitalize on these age-old traditions to create memorable brands that speak to people’s emotions. Let’s take a look at three components of successful storytelling that will help revitalize your brand.

Be Authentic and Reflect your Personality

Good stories have a genuine purpose or meaning. These stories are charged with emotion as they describe an author’s personal beliefs, imagination, or ideas. Regardless of whether you agree with the message being conveyed, good stories come from a place of authenticity that reflects the author’s real and honest voice. Often times, consumers are skeptical about brands when they don’t believe the brand is being authentic. Actions speak louder than words and consumers are highly aware when a brand’s marketing contradicts with their actions – and this inconsistency leads to an increase in skeptical consumers and declining brand value. As such, marketing initiatives must align with a brand’s core values and personality – because the moment your marketing plan contradicts with your brand’s values, you’re on a tough road to building trust.

Be Emotional

Strong storytellers appeal to people’s emotional side and you’ll notice the same trend with successful brands, such as Nike or TOMS shoes. A good story recognizes that humans are emotional beings and good authors have a sense of empathy for their readers – they’re able to put themselves in other people’s shoes and tell a story that readers can emotionally identify with. This sounds like marketing 101 but more often than not we’re introduced to brands that are trying to sell without trying to connect. For successful marketing, build a genuine story that shows how your brand can enhance the consumer’s life compared to the existing alternatives.

Let them find the message

Next time you’re reading a good novel or watching a powerful movie, take notice of the story’s ending and how the author allows you to create your meaning of the story. These stories don’t blatantly spell out the meaning and they don’t impose their views on you; instead, they encourage you to ponder and build an emotional connection that will dictate how you find meaning in the story. So instead of telling users what values your company embodies and how they should think of your brand, create a story built on actions and let consumers reach their own conclusions.

About the Author

After graduating from the HBA program at the Richard Ivey School of Business, Aaliyah launched her career as Marketing Coordinator at Uberflip! Prior to her HBA, Aaliyah also completed a Bachelor in English at Western University.

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