The bitter truth is – the client is usually not interested in your company’s history. Numbers, bragging or empty promises – Internet users are tired of it. Every day we are bombarded with about 20,000 advertising messages, which means that we experience stimulation more and more often. We are constantly looking for ways that would allow you to stand out effectively and be remembered. What if the customer looked at your brand as a good series on Netflix? Then you need to find out the power of storytelling in marketing communication.
What is storytelling?
In the context of our article, storytelling can be defined as narrative marketing, i.e., creating stories that will work well. Engaging stories that contain elements that place the product or brand are designed to stimulate the imagination and evoke emotions. After all, emotions are the driving force behind customer purchasing decisions. Stories are an important part of everyone’s life, which is why we all are so drawn into series, books and movies. They play an educational and entertaining role, and sometimes also inspire and convey facts. Sharing stories is our natural way to exchange experiences with others.
The messages that trigger emotions are the most engaging. It is not true that a narrative is only effective if it evokes positive feelings. In fact, both positive and negative emotions can have a specific effect. Of course, happiness makes us want to share something, and sadness can cause empathy. It is the emotions in the story that stimulates attention – as recipients, we let ourselves be drawn into the narrative to see what will happen next and whether the course of history will change our emotional state. The key is what happens in our brain when we listen and also when we tell stories. According to the researchers, the phenomenon of neural compression occurs when both sides (the listener and the storyteller) start transmitting on the same wavelength.
Is it worth using storytelling in marketing activities?
Through engaging stories, we make recipients aware of why they need our product or service. Storytelling triggers our shopping needs. Our brains are lazy and we subconsciously select the information that reaches us. Stories use a logical formula to describe the goal, identify obstacles and present a plan that helps to overcome them. An interesting plot is engaging because our brain does not have to create it on its own, it is an ideal double-edged weapon in a war with overwhelming information. If you want to reach the customer’s mind, you should stop bombarding him with unnecessary noise. When too much information reaches the recipient’s brain, it takes effort to organize it, and it is likely to lose the plot, and importantly, it will lose interest.
Storytelling can be used in every element of the company’s communication with clients, both in text and video form. In the case of video, we have more elements at our disposal that can affect the recipient. For example, music can be used as part of a narrative. Properly selected, it will cause agitation, anxiety, and even accelerate or reduce the frequency of the heartbeat. The most important thing is to match the content and the factor that stimulates action.
Narrative marketing can also affect the price of a product. Experiments have shown that a well-thought-out narrative in the description of products means that its value may increase in the eyes of the customer, and thus, he will be willing to pay more for it.
How to use storytelling in marketing?
The company’s story cannot be an additional element that does not match the character of the brand. Perhaps an interesting story will attract attention and you will like it, but it will not build an overall brand image in the long run. Therefore, you should think about storytelling at the stage of building the company’s marketing strategy. It is also worth considering brand archetypes that will help you define the direction of communication and maintain consistency during the process of building your story. We will define your goals, motivation and the general outline of the narrative that will affect the emotions of the recipients. The values that will flow from history will allow us to develop a language that we will use in communication. Using a language that is consistent with the character of your brand will create a consistent experience in the recipient’s mind.
At the very beginning, we need to define what your brand is for the customer? A friend or maybe a teacher – it all depends on your product and your customers’ personalities. A story usually needs a hero, but neither your product, service or brand will be a good hero. It’s worth focusing on your customers or your audience. When doing narrative marketing, you should be a helper like Alfred to Batman. When you put your client in the role of a hero, your product acts as a guide that will build a trustworthy image and will help to overcome difficulties.
Brand stories usually have one goal – to take the audience on a journey from one emotional state to another. The key to building a successful story is the narrative arc. Five elements must be used to build an effective narrative:
- Introduction, or exhibition – this is the beginning of the story, presenting the characters and their surroundings. The introduction is intended to show the starting situation and maybe even an introduction to further action.
- The rising action – this is an event that aims to build an increase in tension in the story: any surprises, complications that the hero will have to face.
- The climax – this is the moment of the greatest tension and also a turning point in history. At this stage, a breakthrough choice is made that will determine the next elements of the narrative.
- Falling Action – When the climax occurs, the plot continues to unfold, the tension releases and leads to a solution. The transformation of the hero or his attitude is often shown here.
- Solution – This is the last element that ends the story, problems are resolved, and the end doesn’t have to be a happy ending. Sadness, surprise, or anger – any of these emotions will be good as long as they make sense to the overtone of the story.
Looks complicated? Most of the stories follow this pattern. Regardless of whether it is a cinema movie, a fairy tale for children or a book. Building a narrative this way is universal, and that’s why it’s so engaging. It is based on the beaten path in the mind. The design can be successfully used to talk about your brand or product. It is important that you do not talk about yourself and focus on the hero.
In what areas can storytelling be used?
You can use storytelling not only in marketing. It can also be used to manage communication within the company, for example during the flow of information between departments such as IT and Customer Service. Elements of storytelling work very well in employer branding activities and improving relations with employees or motivating them through an appropriate narrative about the company’s values. User experience is also storytelling because creating good experiences is like telling a good story – emotions and storytelling always go hand in hand.
Why is it important to use storytelling?
Creating stories is not a magical process, most of them follow the same pattern that was known even before the scenarios were invented. Regardless of whether you look at the movie Matrix or Star Wars, you will find a similar pattern in each of them. This does not mean that creating a captivating story is trivial because if it were, any brand could be an example in storytelling books. The key is knowing your audience, creativity and certainty of the values that you want to convey. Thanks to a good narrative, you can stimulate the imagination and emotions of customers, which will allow you to build relationships more effectively and strengthen the credibility of the brand in the eyes of customers. The world of culture and openness to the reality that surrounds us can be an impulse for us to create an interesting story.