The word ‘story’ conjures up images of curling up on the sofa with your cat, your favourite book and being transported into another world. Stories are powerful and brands are now realising their potential efficacy in marketing campaigns.
‘Brand storytelling’ is a marketing trend that tries to give brands a strong identity with a narrative built around it that flows through their online and offline campaigns. On a much more macro level, stories work in marketing campaigns by giving context to an advert or helping customers to connect with a concept – sometimes on a personal level.
Stories allow Products to make more sense
Having an overarching brand story can certainly help customers improve their loyalty with your brand. A study by Nielsen concluded that around half of all online customers were drawn towards brands that were socially responsible.
Building a story around an ethical approach and showing a behind-the-scenes insight into how a product is made or sourced can create authenticity.
Giving customers the chance to peel back the layers of a product and see where it’s come from provides them with an extra level of meaning and information before they buy.
Using stories in marketing
Instead of basic information focussing on the product, brands can create a story around who has made the product and where they are in the world. For example, if someone’s buying a cabinet and the cabinet maker’s story is included in the description, customers are more likely to buy it.
The same goes for experience based purchases – if you have a testimonial from a customer that’s used a product then it provides social proof that someone has enjoyed it and benefitted from it. Reviews and testimonials can be used to sell the experience.
What we can learn from Charities
Charities are especially good at using stories to enhance their messages. Using powerful, emotive stories in their advertising is a cornerstone of most charity marketing campaigns – and they’re incredibly successful at it.
Stories that show where charitable donor’s money is going and how their contributions can have a positive impact are key. But before people donate, charities have to work hard with their stories and messaging to show how the causes they represent deserve increased awareness and extra funding.
Focusing on individuals and sensitively illustrating the struggles that they go through every day is an effective, emotive way of storytelling. Making an audience feel something after they read an advert or watch a film is the marker of a successful story – encouraging them to take action or to think again is the next step.