We tend not to think of storytelling as much more than an escape into fantasy and drama. However, telling stories is so much more than that. By integrating storytelling in your marketing approach, you can build strategies that impact your audience and empower your conversion rates.
In fact, the power of storytelling is so essential to brand performance that telling your story now is all but essential. No matter how compelling your products and services are, if you don’t have a story that grabs your audience you could lose out on valuable sales opportunities.
Storytelling can have an exceptionally powerful impact on marketing. Here are the different ways storytelling can enhance your marketing strategy.
How Storytelling Impacts Marketing
Think of your favorite show, movie, or novel. Undoubtedly the narrative you’re thinking of is your favorite because, on some level, it feels true to you. It doesn’t even have to be a true story to make an impact on your consciousness, striking you deep down as something real, believable, and essential. In marketing, stories can achieve a similar effect.
Information is as much as 22 times more memorable when it’s conveyed as a story. This is because stories give us context and emotion in which to frame the facts. In turn, we can illustrate important points, values, and benefits that help convert an audience into customers.
There are plenty of great reasons massively successful brands have all implemented storytelling in structuring their own marketing strategies and brand identities. Take Coca-Cola, for example, which frequently dives into the medium of storytelling for effective and engaging marketing campaigns. The soft drink giant used augmented reality to tell stories that customers could access with their smartphones, using an application to play out one of 12 stories that centered on the message of Coca-Cola as a symbol of community building and conflict resolution.
Were these stories true? Definitely not. But they are true to Coca-Cola’s brand identity, which has been crafted around the idea of sharing and togetherness.
With nearly 80% of consumers wanting brands to tell stories, these narratives are a powerful tool in your marketing toolkit. Explore the ways you can develop compelling stories to make the most of them in your marketing strategies.
The Different Ways Storytelling Can Inform Your Strategies
Stories are essential to the way we view and understand the world. For a long time, psychologists have understood the impacts of stories on emotion and memory and now marketers should too. Compelling stories stick with us longer, and the positive feelings they leave behind can support customer loyalty and brand awareness.
From solving problems that may occur throughout your users’ journey to helping your marketing team understand your data, stories can inform marketing strategies in a variety of ways.
Consider these methods and how you can apply them towards smarter messaging.
Storytelling in the User Journey
For any product or service, mapping out the ways your customers find, interact, and use your content will help you generate a useful narrative. Story mapping supplies an effective demonstration of a user journey so that marketers and product developers can better place themselves in the minds of their audience. It starts with a breakdown of the customer experience — from encountering your message to interacting with your service — and entails the involvement of your entire team.
Build your story map, then ask important questions like, what are the problems I’m trying to solve? And, who are my users? From there, you can generate useful insights that help you construct a marketing narrative.
The Five-Act Structure of Brand Marketing
The impact of any narrative can be enhanced by appealing to an audience’s expectations for an emotional journey. As TV drama writer John Yorke puts it, the backbone of virtually all stories is a five-act structure that puts the audience on a compelling adventure that will build up to a memorable climax and resolution. These five acts are:
- The inciting incident
- The journey
- The crisis
- The climax
- The resolution
By applying these acts to the customer journey. You can better target your marketing towards real customer needs. The inciting incident, for example, might be the need that brings your target audience to your content. When crafting video content, integrate the five-act structure into powerful storyboards that bring your message to life. Then, you can better communicate the narrative you want to tell with your larger team.
Building Narratives out of Data
Finally, you can inform your marketing strategy by applying storytelling to the data you gather.
Any marketing team worth their salt these days is steeped in the world of data mining and analytics. These tools help us understand audiences and market trends, and are easy to use with the help of platforms like Google Analytics and social media insights applications. But numbers are often not enough to compel a marketing team, much less an audience.
That’s why you need to apply the data you generate into real-world narratives. Here, story mapping and storyboarding can help, but ultimately your messaging will come down to how well you can craft accurate customer profiles based on your data.
Explore demographic trends, UX engagement, customer feedback, and more to paint a useful narrative with the data you gather. Then, you can easily communicate that narrative with your colleagues and stakeholders for a more cohesive marketing vision.
Building More Powerful Messages
Powerful marketing strategies are wholly dependent on the ability of marketing teams to effectively tell stories. This requires combinations of data application and empathy, with marketers constructing narratives out of all kinds of customer information.
But even in the world of big data, we still tend to stink at personalization. Ninety percent of companies seek to personalize the experience of their customers and yet only 40% of customers say they see relevant advertisements. Stories can make the difference, however, helping us to craft real-world, applicable narratives that can reach audiences where they are.
Understand the power of storytelling in marketing, then use these strategies for informing your campaigns with compelling narratives.