Advertising has undergone a radical change since the early 20th century, particularly with the emergence of innovative digital marketing techniques.
Old-fashioned marketing campaigns aren’t as effective on the modern-day audience as they were decades ago, simply because the way people engage with brands and consume information has changed.
Today, customers want more than just facts and figures, and it’s getting harder for companies to boost their sales merely by communicating relevant statistics.
On the other hand, many businesses resort to storytelling to get their message across to a curious audience. Thus, compelling storytelling has become important to modern startups’ marketing endeavors.
Research suggests that over 90% of consumers distrust traditional marketing tactics because they believe ads never speak the truth.
They believe that ads are intrusive and don’t connect with them. But storytelling has always been a vital part of the human experience, and it has helped many businesses recreate that diminishing emotional connection that fuels a consumer’s buying power.
Research also suggests that most buying decisions happen subconsciously; one-half of brand experiences are based only on emotions. Effective storytelling – i.e., real-life examples, customer testimonials, and emotional messages – can help your business bolster its reputation.
That said, here’s how you can improve brand engagement and sales statistics for your business by communicating a compelling story:
- Hire good storytellers
Effective storytelling isn’t possible without the involvement of excellent writers. For this reason, you should get some experienced storytellers on board immediately.
Distance learning has made it easier for keen professionals to become well-versed in corporate storytelling. Marketers can improve these skills by pursuing a business communication online course from a reputable institution. Such a course can help your marketers understand how to create inspiring and engaging content for marketing reasons.
- Make emotional connections
Companies often remain unsuccessful in their marketing attempts because they create superficial and low-impact content. To be successful, your content should strike a chord with the audience.
Consider how a detergent brand Surf Excel made the slogan “Stains are good” in South Asia to emphasize that stains aren’t bad as long as something good comes out of them. These emotional messages are easy to remember for your customers and eventually solidify a brand’s image.
- Know your audience
Let’s introduce the five Ps of effective storytelling here, i.e., place, people, personal, pictures, and – of course – platforms. “People” implies marketers should know their audiences before creating stories. Recognize the things that inspire your target audience, and only then will your stories resonate with them.
- Share your values
Effective storytelling involves sharing your mission and values with your consumers. Show them you don’t just care about the financial progress of your organization but are also interested in sharing your company’s core values. For instance, Starbucks focuses on the feeling of affection; the company’s business story and advertising content portray it as a place of belonging where everybody’s welcome. Your brand should integrate the company’s values in the content you wish to publish online and offline.
- Always show honesty
Customers can realize when brands are showing off or being dishonest with them. There’s a fair reason why merely one-third of customers trust the brands they use. Sometimes, even simple-sounding ads may give the wrong message to your audience. Here are two examples of such grave mistakes.
- McDonald’s was criticized for an ad featuring their food as a solution for grieving children (the ad featured a child losing his father and finding solace only in eating McDonald’s).
- Pepsi had to discontinue a much-hated ad starring Kendall Jenner that seemed to trivialize and capitalize on BLM (black lives matter) protests.
- Involve your customers
Brands today can easily involve their customers by asking them to do something as simple as posting pictures with brand-approved hashtags. By involving customers by running hashtag campaigns, you indirectly influence their buying decisions.
Check out how Lay’s started a campaign in which they launched unique seasonal flavors, and then asked customers to vote for one to add permanently to their product line. This is another example of letting customers make a business decision on your behalf, thereby showing them how much you value their contributions.
- Get more personal
Remember that customers don’t wish to see your company doing something heroic. Storytelling can be effective only when the storyteller narrates someone else’s laudable attempts. Make people the protagonists, like how a famous Google ad dubbed “the saddest Super Bowl ad in history.”
It’s about a couple getting older and asking Google to remember their fondest memories for them. That’s how a marketer should approach people, i.e., by telling your message from the perspective of other folks.
- Find your platform
Not every story works on every platform! Find the correct platform for advancing your content. Know that different age groups hang out on different social media channels. Your target audience is an indicator of the best platform for your stories. Tweak the message for all social media accounts.
- Always think bigger
We live in the age of corporate social responsibility; customers prefer to interact with eco-friendly brands. They want companies to think bigger than themselves and realize how their choices impact the climate, so your brand’s story must focus on the bigger picture or the triple bottom line – people, profits, and the planet.
Take the example of Patagonia’s “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign, which reflected the importance of sustainability and preserving the environment. And statistics indicate that over one-third of global customers will pay more for sustainable products. This can help create a socially responsible brand image for a sustainable business model.
- Define your CTAs
Your storytelling should always contain a powerful CTA (call to action). You want customers to take action after watching an ad or reading a post, so make this CTA subtle but discernible. Notice how Spotify catches people’s attention with successful phrases such as “Listening is everything” and “Get Spotify free.”
Effective storytelling helps businesses connect with their audience properly. Know that your average customer can be influenced by telling a compelling story that connects with them and inspires them to take action. So, hire some good writers and storytellers, identify your audience, and create an authentic and emotionally engaging story that convinces customers you can solve their problems. Everyone loves and remembers good content for years and years.