Guest Post By Stephanie Coccoluto
An old Native American proverb says: Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. Stories have always been part of humanity. Creating stories has been a practice of societies throughout history. That’s why marketing specialists have seen in stories an opportunity to promote products and services in a way that generates more engagement.
Every business has a history, every organization has dreams that turn into goals, and every product has its own magic. However, this is not always visible to customers. It’s for that reason than a story can make the difference between a simple product and an inspiring product; between any company and a company with meaning.
Storytelling — the art of telling a story — is a marketing technique that helps connect your brand with your users. Users will connect emotionally through a story, letting it reach them and touch their heart and mind, body and spirit — the rational and the instinctive. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” to quote the American poet Maya Angelou.
Storytelling has always been a technique widely used in traditional marketing. Now that most communication with the public is online, storytelling adapts perfectly to the medium; even through the internet it still appeals to the emotional side of people.
Storytelling is an integral aspect of any successful brand marketing strategy, but is so much more than telling stories itself. Rather, it is a technique that companies who want to make a difference in social media use.
What is the purpose of storytelling?
Storytelling needs to generate emotions and engagement, and to be shared. The most inspiring stories are those that are widely shared and those which find a place in the consumer’s mind. This process starts with the study of what your audience likes. Next follows the creation of a great story. Finally, the storyteller must use a narrative that encourages people to share the content. Connecting with people is easier if a marketer uses a language they understand: a story than can be visualized.
Storytelling has become popular in marketing as a tool to connect with audiences and to achieve greater empathy with potential customers. Some of the advantages of telling stories around your business are:
- they generate trust
- they are easy to remember
- they are easy to count
- they provide context to the data
- they create more connection
- they appeal to the emotional side
Everybody loves a story!
How to Build that Great Story
Your story should summarize your mission, vision, values, beliefs, key product or service offerings, objectives, and goals for the future. This brand narrative is a strategic statement, a key message that is the purpose of a company’s existence. Take the time to consider what makes your brand unique. An aspirational brand narrative with potential can make a big difference and transform your company into a leader in its segment. It will set you apart from your competitors.
After you have defined the story, you should adapt it to your target audience and their needs. It’s important to segment your customers. Clearly defined customer personas will help you to tell the right story to the right people at the right time, and achieve your goals in the process. The information about your ideal client or customer should include details such as age, location, interests, passions, and any potential challenges.
The use of storytelling in content marketing has to include visual and transmedia tools. More creativeness leads to more success. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 85% of brands who employ a comprehensive video marketing strategy experience success. Video is a format that can promote brand awareness, tell your story in an easy and entertaining way, and can generate strong emotions that inspire in your customers engagement and loyalty. By using video as part of your storytelling strategy, you can viralize your brand. In order to maximize its impact, all you have to do is ensure your video content is sufficiently interesting to your target audience’s needs and interests.
Testimonials are the last bit of magic in a brand’s story. Testimonials are considered the most effective content marketing tactics, because they humanize your brand and create an emotional connection with customers.
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