Even if you’re not a marketing guru, you’ve probably noticed that major brands all have characters — Flo, Mayhem, and the various mascots of Geico — that feature prominently in both print and digital advertising. Commercials are an especially powerful vehicle now that many of them have become very short films featuring these characters. You’ve probably also noticed the story-driven Super Bowl shorts, the confessional/testimonial approach to social media advertising, and the rise of influencer marketing.
All of these approaches revolve around storytelling, which is nothing new in advertising, but recently has taken on a decidedly narrative-driven vibe. However, storytelling doesn’t have to rely upon either cinematic or reality-TV devices to work. The story itself is key — and you can tell your story in a way that empowers your marketing efforts.
The Power of Story
People respond well to stories because it allows them to reflect upon their experiences and import meaning to their memories. If you’ve ever exclaimed, “That happened to me!”, you’ve experienced this effect. Indeed, we get an oxytocin boost when hearing stories, which helps form a positive association with the source. If that source is a brand, it will resonate strongly with you when you hear about the brand again.
What’s Your Story?
You likely don’t have the budget to develop a series of short films about cavemen or motorcycle-man hybrids. And besides, that might not work for your business. Mega corporations need to create fictional characters in order to stand out. If you’re a smaller company, you have an advantage: you can more directly connect with customers by using your own people.
Your customers will respond well if you tell your story. They want to feel a special connection to your brand and feel like part of its community. Sharing your story also demonstrates authenticity and builds trust, both of which are important to younger customers.
However, sharing your story is more than just an About Us page on your website or a single social media post. It can define and motivate your entire marketing strategy. Here’s how:
3 Tips and Tricks for a Story-Driven Marketing Strategy
Go behind the scenes.
Establish a throughline.
Express your values.
Go beyond including a story in your advertising campaigns: use your story to motivate and shape your marketing, and the use the key elements of a good story to provide structure to your campaigns. By tapping into this ancient human need, you can help your audience best connect with your brand.