Every business, regardless the size or the industry, has a vision, history and goals to achieve. There is no one who knows all this better than the owners of the company but how to tell the customers?
Telling your story is what will help your clients identify themselves with your brand and mark the difference between just selling an inspiring product or service.
Digital marketing has left behind the days when it focused on relentlessly pelting users with the same message, again and again, until their jingles were drilled into their brains. Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.
Why tell stories
Effective stories spark the release of oxytocin in our brains, which can increase trust in a situation, and the storyteller at the same time. Stories also elicit emotion, and emotional responses can have a greater influence on purchase intent than an ad’s actual content.
Tell people who you are, what you represent, and why you exist. Even though your story will most likely be linked to your product, the most important thing is to get clients to pay attention to you. Your goal should be for them to seek you out willingly, instead of “forcing” them to read, listen to, or see your message.
How to tell stories
- Simplify complex messages: How can you capture a user’s attention in a few seconds? With the fast-paced environment they move in, you have a very, very limited window of opportunity to express your idea! Stories provide a way to sidestep this barrier, bringing the concept down to earth.
- Compel: Keep the reader hooked! What will happen next?
- Structure well: convey the clearly-defined core message, helping readers drink it in.
- Foster a sense of community: spin a tale which inspires readers to share your story with others by employing relatable situations and characters.
- Incite action: your characters should successfully complete any task, so that our readers might want do the same.
The Hero’s Journey
Adopt the classic storytelling technique which had stood the stop of time: the Hero’s journey. Developed back in 1949 by Joseph Campbell, it was immediately adopted all around the world, defining how the main character undergoes a specific series of events which make them address their inner heroic potential and change their world forever.
Given that consumers would rather discover the products themselves rather than be flooded by advertisements, due to a surge of skepticism regarding commercial messages, marketers let customers fill the hero’s shoes, thus building an emotional bond between the brand and its users – making them want to come back, again and again.
- Know your audience. When Old Spice’s sales slumped, they responded by creating a series of side-splitting commercials, aimed not at men… but at women. How could this be, since they sell masculine products? After multiple surveys, the brand had discovered that it was the latter who usually shopped for their partner’s shampoo. Or take Gillette, for example: by targeting fathers who are welcoming newborns into their homes, the brand has created a movement which boosted their sales, by consolidating a community which sees that the brand cares.
- Establish your CTA: Give thought to which action you’d like your audience to take when they receive your message. Should they subscribe to a newsletter, purchase an item, donate to a charitable cause?
- Optimize your digital experiences with A/B testing – offer your users nothing but the best, and watch it pay off in the long run.
- Make your product the sidekick, not the hero. The customer does not want your brand to dominate their life. The customer wants you to help them achieve their goals. By presenting your product as something which will aid people in their daily lives, they will have more of an incentive to buy it