Every year or so, it seems there is a new “marketing darling” that turns the business world on end. For instance, blogging was considered the thing to do a few years ago which was quickly followed by guest posting when every marketer and his brother rushed to find businesses willing to allow them to write and post articles on their sites. Now it seems as though storytelling is the latest craze to sweep the marketing world as many of the world’s biggest brands are busy telling stories as a way to tap into the authentic human experience.
What Is Storytelling?
In the marketing world, storytelling is used to create an emotional investment so to speak. This type of marketing is commonly used on TV with the goal being to make the viewer sit up and take notice of the story being told rather than the product being sold. Thus, the product itself is passively sold to the audience as they listen to the story.
As entrepreneur Neil Patel says, “Stories make up 65% of all conversations in our daily lives and storytelling is so popular that it’s been around for over 40,000 years”. Perhaps this is why more and more companies are tapping into the power of storytelling as it offers a great way to engage with and persuade people.
A recent example of storytelling used to market a product was done by Ford Motor Company. Ford marketed its Focus vehicle by giving cameras to test drivers who filmed themselves driving around. This campaign successfully integrated several individual stories that looked closely at the lives of the people using the product. While the product itself (the car) was present, it was never directly marketed which is exactly what Ford intended to do.
Why Storytelling is a Good Marketing Strategy
Storytelling is a powerful strategy to use when marketing because:
It demands attention by being different – When people are presented with a story, they tend to pay attention more than they would if presented with standard advertising that focuses solely on the product being sold.
A story makes the connection with real human experiences – Stories are able to connect with people on a level basic marketing cannot. People can relate to a good story more than they can relate to a product and especially if the story is presented in a unique and interesting way.
Stories show and don’t tell – Even though a business can say they understand the problems their customers have, just claiming so does not accomplish anything. But when a story is told, the business can apply this claim to the real world. Great storytelling can show the audience that the business understands the problem they have while at the same time demonstrating how the product helps solve it.
Stories build anticipation – When people enjoy the story you’re telling them, they look forward to finding out what happens next because they’re excited and full of anticipation.
Stories can be told in many ways – There are no limits regarding how you can tell a story as storytelling can be done in person, via mail, through videos, slide shows, blog posts, social media, etc. In order to get the most out of storytelling, you should use many forms of media to tell your story. If for example, you only tell your story through a book, you will be leaving out a big part of your audience because not everyone reads books. But if you put your story in front of people who view videos, read books, use social media and take part in online discussions, you’ll be able to reach the vast majority of your targeted market.