This blog is a follow up piece from our blog ‘Why is Storytelling such a hot topic with marketers?’ Our last post defined storytelling, its effect on audience engagement and how it can help develop customer loyalty. However, storytelling can only be successful if performed effectively. We now share with you a few tips on how to tell a good story.
Know Your End Why
Why are you wanting to share a story? Every story needs the ‘end why’ – the overall message that you want your audience to take away with them. You may wish to convey brand values, specific product benefits, a sentence or an emotion. You want to share the burning beliefs of your business. Whichever you choose, ensure your ‘end why’ has relevance and importance to your audience.
Successful stories not only convey clear messages to the audience but also encourage emotions. Emotions are the key to making a story powerful. The emotive aspect will not only develop a connection with the audience but it will also increase the likelihood of them remembering your message and later associating it with your brand.
Emotions can be created from various techniques including vivid imagery, a relationship between two characters, humour and even customer testimonials. A tip, once finished drafting your story – ask yourself, “Does my story have passion and energy? How does it make me feel?”
There are many ways to go about structuring your story. Many successful stories in the marketing industry have utilized the foundation of fairy tales for their structures. This is essentially the three elements – set up, narrative arc and resolution.
How your story is introduced, can determine the overall success. Consider the target audience you are marketing to and the channel of communication that you’re using. How will you grab the reader’s attention?
The narrative arc of a story is critical for captivating the audience and making the story enjoyable to digest. Strong characters in the story allow readers to become immersed in the story and draw one on one connections.
It’s believed that consumers can better understand a company’s product and brand via a story, if they are able to place themselves in the main character’s shoes, resonating with the character throughout the story. With this in mind, many marketers base their main story character on a target customer.
Illustrating the characters as ‘heroes’ continues the audience engagement. You want your characters to be someone the audience can root for. There are many different types of narrative arcs to run off. Like a fairytale, the narrative arc could be ‘slaying the dragon’ using the good vs. evil story concept or the main character taking on a quest. Take your customer on the character’s journey, encountering and resolving the problems and receiving the end reward.
Your resolution and conclusion of the story needs to reiterate the message and portray a deep connection with your audience. Many great stories communicate the values or qualities that they share with the audience or convey the qualities the audience aspires to see in themselves.
When it comes to constructing your stories, these tips can be applied in any context – e.g. a pitch, a video advertisement, a podcast, a Facebook post. Always keep your audience in mind and be consistent with your brand and what you stand for.
Here are some great examples of successful campaigns that incorporated storytelling into their marketing.
Heinz Baked Beans Ad
A great example of creating emotional connections when advertising a new range of functional products.
Heinz Baked Beans Ad
Hinge Dating App
Targeting consumers that are tired of dating apps and dating games, Hinge communicates to consumers that their app helps them find something real.
Hinge the Dating Apocalypse Video
Maltesers – looking at the light side of disability
Illustrating true stories, Maltesers developed a series of advertisements that featured people with disabilities, as this population group had been significantly underrepresented in the media.
Nike Equality Campaign
Communicating that Nike is standing up for equality and encouraging people to treat others with the same fairness and respect that is performed in sports.
Nike Equality Campaign Video
Nike Equality Overview
By Kate Mann