Have you ever been to a presentation, and the speaker starts their session with a story?
Straight away, what they have to say becomes more interesting, more relevant and more memorable.
We engage with stories. We remember stories. We adopt them as our own. That is why they are such an important marketing tool. If you are not using stories to build your brand, then you should be.
Here are some reasons why and how to use stories in your marketing content to successfully build your brand.
Stories make your brand memorable
Customers don’t really buy your product or service, they buy the solution or benefit that your brand offers to them. That is why stories are so important when marketing brands. They speak to people directly about what they can expect from your brand. Some examples of potential story content are:
– A story from a parent about how a health service assisted their child (highlighting a happy health outcome and great bedside manner)
– A ‘behind the scenes’ story about how a product is made in a factory (highlighting sound quality control)
– A story about how a child is enjoying their new toy (highlighting how the toy contributes to creative play and learning opportunities)
Whether they are in written, spoken or visual form we remember stories. We also like to share them with each other. In a nutshell, that is why stories are so important to marketers. When customers engage with your stories, they also engage with your brand.
Stories allow us to understand our world. When we read a story we can understand different perspectives. We see things through the eyes of different people of varying ages and backgrounds.
From a marketing perspective, stories can give a voice to our brands, organisations, products or services.
Stories are repeated
Have you ever told somebody an anecdote, only to have them repeat the same story back to you a short time later?
Sharing stories is nothing new. Humans have always identified with stories and we have constantly told them throughout history. Many young children (and adults) adore being told stories. In times gone by, we shared stories and information verbally and in song, rather than in written or digital formats. These days we might do it in various formats, such as social media, but we still want to engage with and share them.
Stories add interest
When done well, stories inject an emotional appeal into a boring subject. We’ve all read stories that have gone viral on social media. They have been shared because they create an emotional response with the people reading them.
For example, if you sell pet food, a statement about about the nutritional content of pet food is less likely to be shared that a story, with video, of a dog who does an excited dance every time he is about to be given his meal.
We like to do business with humans
People like to connect with people. Customers want to know the real people and the real faces behind your websites or shop front. This helps to set you apart from others and to build ongoing customer relationships and trust.
Some ways you can do this are:
Talk about the ‘why’: Outline why your service or product does things a certain way
-Write about the ‘journey’ of building your business. This can provide your customers with real insight into you and your business. Topics may include coming up with your business idea or some of the challenges and successes you have had along the way.
-Use “About” pages to profile yourself and/or key people
-Anecdotes about how your product or service was able to assist a customer
Stories can allow you to tap into people’s emotions, building engagement and loyalty with your brand or organisation. Think about the emotions you would like to create with your audience.
When someone smiles at us, we tend to smile back. In marketing terms, when we read or see something that makes us happy, we tend to want to share it. Develop marketing content that allows people to share happy news. Share feel good images and stories connected with your brand or organisation.
Hope rather than sadness
Empower people to take action, by providing people with hope and the ability to make a positive difference. Stories can outline a problem, but if you want people to take action they should also show them how they can achieve positive outcomes. For example, a story about recycling could outline the effects of plastic and pollution on our environment, but should also demonstrate the ways customers can reduce, reuse and recycle their rubbish.
Tell stories about lifestyle
Tell stories about how your services or products align with the lifestyle of your customers.
To develop ideas for this type of content, ask yourself: What is important to your customers? What are their interests? What are they sharing on social media? For example, if you sell sports equipment, are your customers interested in reading content about fitness and health. If your business is selling baby clothes, you might create story content around parenting issues.
One of the keystones to successful story marketing is consistency. Keep developing and publishing content on platforms that encourage your customers to engage with your content.