A few nights each week, my dad would sit down on the edge of my bed, armed with the next installment of his legendary bedtime stories.
After a long day of childhood, there was nothing better than a plot twist and some moonlight sorcery to close out the night. If I fell asleep before the story was over, I had only to dream of who stole the princess or why the wicked step-mother pillaged Tom’s schooner. It was bliss. It was imagination on overdrive.
Those childhood stories, heard somewhere between sleep and consciousness, were powerful. Luckily, the power of storytelling doesn’t stop when we outgrow the family fabler. In fact, you’ve likely been influenced by a good story in the last day or two: a coworker’s retelling of a weekend adventure; a spouse’s colorful recollection of the day’s drama. Whatever form it takes, storytelling is a familiar part of our daily communication. Where facts and figures build a logical argument, a good story makes us feel.
Perhaps that’s why marketers use storytelling to connect with their audiences. As a company develops an authentic, human persona through storytelling, consumers engage. The emotional triggers of a story will resonate with your audience and establish a basis for connection. Those connections pay dividends in all aspects of marketing — from influencing potential consumers to building brand loyalty.
In order for your storytelling to be successful, it needs to be authentic. So tell stories that you actually care about. If you pander to your audience with anything else, your message may sound forced or self-serving. Start, instead, by identifying a brand personality. What values does your brand embody? What high-level messages do you want to promote? Once you’ve built this foundation, make sure your content follows suit.
It’s also essential that your stories are relevant to the consumer. With so much available content, your communications need to add value to their lives. So profile your audience: What do they care about? What motivates them? Why have they engaged with your organization in the past? As you answer those questions, you will establish a framework within which you can develop meaningful content.
Using storytelling effectively may sound like a tall order. After all, you have to communicate your brand’s identity while still providing value to the consumer. I’m a firm believer, however, that stories are all around us. Usually, it just takes some digging to uncover the relevant details. So ask questions, do your research and focus on the details of your organization: the people, the processes, the places. As you familiarize yourself with those details, you will have no shortage of valuable material.
Take a look at how these companies use storytelling to promote their brand identity and influence consumers in the process.