The Power of Storytelling in Marketing and Brand Building
Stories, for ages, have been invariably used to engage audiences – effect and recollection being profound. This basic human reaction has been used by marketers to create unforgettable branding.
“In order to win a man to your cause, you must first reach his heart, the great high road to his reason – Abraham Lincoln”.
The best way to influence someone’s thoughts and actions is to emotionally engage them. And that’s exactly the power of stories! Stories trigger human emotions and activate neurons in the brain leading to long-term memory.
A physics professor once explained a lesson on friction using an example of a train accident caused due to locusts. It’s been ages; I can neither recall his name nor the formulae learnt. All I can remember is the story!
Why brands need stories
How storytelling influences buyer behavior is a fascinating story by itself! Be it the amazing way Nike connected with the world by honoring great athletes, or Steve Jobs using the Nike example and weaving dramatic stories to introduce Apple products. These stories hit bull’s eye! Nike never spoke about how its products were better than the others; all it did was honor athletes. But, the way it made consumers feel, made all the difference to its success!
Storytelling is not a new concept in marketing and brand building. Several brands have used it over the years and have been highly successful in capturing user attention and memory. Information linked to storytelling is recalled more successfully than that presented without storytelling. It’s not enough just to provide a product or service. The way you communicate to your audience matters the most! In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, consumers are being bombarded with content. For brands to survive, they must establish an emotional connect with consumers, and that’s where storytelling steps in! Brand storytelling cannot be treated just as an add-on anymore. This is a must-do activity for businesses. Stories can inspire, motivate, and most importantly, move buyers to action!
Closer home, Swiggy depicted stories of people hungering for a certain dish and, voila! They had it at their doorstep! The brand made its mark in the minds of the audience, Swiggy has become synonymous with food delivery in India.
Domino’s Pizza is another brand using storytelling to its advantage. Their campaign “Dil, Dosti, Domino’s” aims at establishing an emotional connect with consumers, by depicting stories of togetherness with friends and family while having Domino’s Pizza.
But being authentic is equally important. Stretching it too far can turn out to be an erroneous strategy; PepsiCo’s Naked Juice had to agree to a settlement of $9 million after making false claims that all its products were natural.
How you could do it
If you are wondering how you could weave a story for your brand, here’s how:
Define your audience: To think of the story you’d like to tell about your brand, you need to think of who you are targeting. Knowing your audience will help you craft a story that would have maximum impact. Most health insurance companies target an older age-group with families, while soft drink companies like Pepsi and Coke have their stories wound around a younger audience.
Summarize your message: Whatever it is that you’d like to convey about your brand, you need to summarize it into a core message. What you would like consumers to perceive your brand as largely depends on the core message that you communicate. For example, life insurance company HDFC Life uses the core message of being self-reliant through inspirational stories.
Decide your story type: Based on the response that you would like from your audience; you can determine the type of story you’d like to narrate. Your stories can be about the brand, core values, community building, educational or inciting action. quality of its product. Byju’s The Learning App, narrates stories of learning being fun with Byju’s to get acceptance from parents and students.
HDFC Bank is another brand that uses storytelling to speak about its brand and on-time customer service.
Determine your goal: Your story must also be created keeping in mind what action you would like the buyer to take. Coke’s ad campaign, “Share a Coke with your loved ones”, is a story with a clear call to action.
In the online movie watching domain, Netflix says it best with “See, what’s next”.
Select your story medium: You can convey your story through any of the below ways based on your resources.
Written story through blogs, articles, or books
Spoken story through presentations
Audio story through podcasts
Digital story through videos
Share your story: Creating your story is only half the task done. You need to share and promote it to achieve your objective. Based on the medium chosen, you can share your story through print, television, social media, blogs, guest posting, email, and so on. The more places you share your story, the more likely you are to get your audience involved.
Including storytelling in your marketing strategy can do wonders for your brand. So, go on, tell your story. Make your brand more human, the audience will be all ears!