Story. Fable. Tale. Myth. Legend.
The art of storytelling has been around for generations and is likely as old as the human race itself. Stories capture our imaginations and allow us, for a brief second, to forget everything else that is happening. Marketing and advertising professionals alike have been using storytelling to create effective ads and campaigns for years, but recently it has become one of the most crucial components of a brand and content strategy.
Why? Because storytelling elicits an emotional response. We see anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 advertisements throughout a normal day, so the need to stand out from the competition has never been greater.
From Peter Rabbit to Spiderman to legends of the Gods in Greek mythology, storytelling is ingrained deep within us. So, its no wonder brands that can create an emotional connection with their audience have a higher conversion rate for turning potential buyers into loyal customers.
Here are a few storytelling techniques to incorporate that will increase brand loyalty.
Create An Idea
That might seem like a no-brainer, and that’s fair. But a story doesn’t exist without an idea, and you might be surprised at how difficult it can be to develop one. Where do you start? Do you want people to be mad, sad, or angry? Do you want people to think deeper or take action? Do you want people to laugh? What is the reaction you want your audience to have?
One of my all-time favourite examples of this is Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man In The World” campaign. It worked well in so many different ways I could write an entire post about it.
It took the idea of how ‘the most interesting man in the world’ became just that, through his ridiculous and hilarious adventures from around the world, portraying him with an aura of Gatsby mixed with ‘the guy she told you not to worry about’.
Take this into account: in 2009, beer imported into the US fell roughly 4% with the increase in popularity of craft beer. Dos Equis sales grew by 22%, and that growth is directly attributed to the success of the campaign.
Check out one of my favourite commercials from the MIM:
“Greg you crazy. Why would any sensible marketer hide information in an ad?”
Because it elicits emotion and it forces the audience to wonder, drawing them deeper into the story. And that’s what you’re looking for in effective storytelling.
The most powerful example I have seen of a brand hiding information is Guinness’ “Wheelchair Basketball” ad. The ad starts with a (fairly intense) game of wheelchair basketball among a group of friends, immediately generating thoughts about resilience and disadvantage.
But at the end of the ad everyone stands up and gets out of their wheelchairs, except one friend, eliciting further thoughts about compassion, perseverance and friendship. No one expected the game to end that way, and it further cements the message into your mind when the narrator finishes with “The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character.”
It’s a powerful ad and the clever use of hidden information is what makes it so compelling.
Check out the commercial:
Be Authentic & Honest
Authenticity and honesty are the key ingredients to effective storytelling. Your story needs to be real and drawn directly from real life experiences otherwise your audience will see right through it. 80% of consumers say that authentic content will significantly increase their likelihood of engaging with a brand.
Let’s be serious here, we are all inherently suspicious of brands and the messages they try to convey. It’s human nature to be suspicious. The story you’re telling is your brand, it is your message and you have the opportunity to break through all of the noise and reach the right audience if it’s done effectively.
Remember Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad? Yeah, that’s an example of why you need to be authentic and honest. They completely missed the mark with the message they were trying to send – call it tunnel vision – and even went as far to pull the entire campaign and apologize publicly.
Make It Visual
Over the last few years we have seen an increase in the importance of visual content, with videos becoming one of the most powerful tools a brand can implement as part of their content strategy.
And it’s not just videos, but also pictures and memes and gifs and infographics. Just make it visual. Visuals keep the reader engaged and wanting more, with almost 80% of internet users remembering an ad they saw online. Here are some additional stats to show the importance of visual content:
We’re all replaceable.
Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to increase brand loyalty. But in todays world consumers want to be able to relate with a brand on a deeper level, they want to feel a connection, otherwise you’ll be bypassed for the competition.
Every story starts with an idea, but every idea needs to be carefully crafted to align seamlessly with the message your brand is trying to convey.
A word of advice: don’t overthink it. Some of the greatest storytelling examples have blossomed from the simplest of ideas. The more complicated you start to get the harder it is to stay authentic and honest. If your audience connects with your brand story on an emotional level, they’ll want to take part. More often than not less is more.
What are some of your favourite storytelling examples? Let me know in the comments!
About The Author
Greg is a creative copywriter and founder of GrassWrite.com, a killer copywriting service to help business’ generate more leads and grow revenue.