Storytelling and Marketing: How can a story change the world?

Storytelling and Marketing How can a story change the world

Storytelling (story building, story doing) came to us from ancient times. A long time ago, our ancestors sitting by the fire told us the fascinating stories of the tribesmen. The same goes with drawings in the caves. Today, storytelling has become a universal method of promotion in various fields. Nevertheless, most «boomingly» it declared itself in marketing.
Why now? Because the world has changed. The ideas and immutable truths lose more of their influence every day. Society is tired of lies and artificial beauty portrayed by the media and brands… Today the audience isn’t interested in what you’re doing, they only care about how or why you do it. Storytelling is a great form of marketing that’s not perceived as a pushy advertisement, but it results in advertising’s effect.

Storytelling is a way of transmitting information and certain meanings through sharing the stories. It has earned laurels as one of the most ancient methods of influence.

It’s like a powerful weapon. It lets you influence all who read it. Due to its “what comes next?” nature, storytelling bypasses the natural resistive reasoning, and works more on the inner thoughts and emotions and can thereby cause a change in behavior. So, it can be a real win-win in marketing. 
To make storytelling work for you, you must clearly understand its features as a marketing tool. It’s a mistake to think that it’s enough just to tell a few stories about the company to achieve its full potential. Rather, your whole campaign strategy should be molded into one intriguing story

What is the secret?

According to Rob Biesenbach’s words “When it comes to storytelling, emotion trumps logic. Our brains have a weakness for stories and they have a unique effect on it. In the moment of listening to the story actuate the same brain areas as during the real experiences of the event. However, we should remember that the story and experience are different things. Going into its essence, we react on several levels: rapid heartbeat, excitement and, of course, a correlation of yourself with the protagonist.”
5% of people remember statistics, while 63% remember stories. 

Is it worth to try?

Traditional companies waste much more money on media advertising than their storytelling-colleagues. The latter achieve much more because they channel their resources on the thing that works
In correlating the performance of 42 companies (from references in social networks, the cost of media, cost of shares, their income) the StoryDoing© project confirmed the effectiveness of this approach as you can see:

Incomes grow faster

Storytelling and Marketing How can a story change the world

Lower costs for paid media

Storytelling and Marketing How can a story change the world

More mentions on social media

Storytelling and Marketing How can a story change the world

The rapid growth of prices

Storytelling and Marketing How can a story change the world
However, those are just numbers. Watch how much more you remember of the effectiveness of these real-life examples from storytelling-companies:

Red Bull

Experiments with quadracopters and the new GoPro camera, extreme jumps, a ‘documentary’ about the Dota2, and the results of city Speedway … are the major things that you’ll see on the company page. If you weren’t familiar with the company’s actual activities, you’d never suspect that they made energy drinks!
This was all because – from the very beginning – Red Bull was conceived as a way of life where there are no such words as “I can’t”. Thus, they created a new vision for their product and gathered many followers.
1991 began Red Bull’s Flugtag – their extreme show, the essence of which is to travel as far in the air as possible with one’s homemade aircraft (as seen in their ads). Since then, when people buy Red Bull, they think Extreme

Storytelling and Marketing How can a story change the world

The progress of Red Bull is not generally associated with direct advertising. But just look at the effect from their jump from the stratosphere:

  • 2 000 000 new followers;
  • 9 000 000 simultaneous views on YouTube;
  • ranked among the top 10 requested events;
  • 63 000 000 USD sponsorship!

Are you familiar with the #1 storytelling-brand?

For many years, Nike has successfully won the attention of the audience with the help of storytelling. It started in the 1990s, when the hero of all children and adults, Michael Jordan, became their spokesman.

Let’s build!

There’s another eloquent example of successful storytelling in an advertising campaign – masterfully using emotion during the approaching holiday. Lego unveiled their fascinating promotional video Let’s Build. While watching it, you forget–for a moment–that you’re watching a toy advertisement. You empathetically watch the development of the events in this sweet, family story about the relationship between a son and his father. It depicts that perfect home life of kids, moms, and dads – the dream of each of us!

In conclusion

We wouldn’t presume to tell you HOW TO write the text for an ideal story. Other authors, in numerous articles, have already done that. Our goal, here, is to point out the concrete specifics of the emotion tool.
There are 5 story-building lessons you and your company can benefit from, just using the example of Red Bull:

  1. Segment your audience. Perhaps, none so accurately fall into the target audience, like Red Bull‘s. Their clients are young, active people, whose lives are drowning in events. They’re “bored” with their day-to-day lives. It’s hard, now, to imagine, but at the start, this energy drink was neither popular nor affordable. However, they positioned their product as a key element of the extreme life, and that has done its job! So, be creative and look into territories that no one has dared to look into before … and appeal to the heart and not the head.
  2. Become a part of your customers’ lives, part of their story. The Red Bull brand has evolved with an eye on what their customers like/dislike. Realizing that the main passion of their target audience was actionadventure, and risk, the company became part of their lives by organizing dozens of competitions. Step back, for a moment  – let your client dictate what to do and what content to promote.
  3. Bet on interesting content. If you’ve implemented the previous tips, it will be easy for you to uncover the right news items to share to make them «popular» among users.
  4. Be everywhere and learn everything you can. As much as possible, try to cover the channels that lead to your target audience – social media, television, mobile apps, and organized events. Red Bull never misses a chance to gather adventurers and thrill-seekers around their brand.
  5. Stay in touch. Don’t use your brand only as a magnet for money. Even while receiving huge sums in profit, Red Bull continues to sponsor young athletes and other enthusiasts (who, in turn, draw more attention to their company).

The project is neither a show nor an event – properly structured, it lives for years!
Be careful in planning your advertising campaign based on the story. There’s a risk, that heartfelt picture you created might be dismissed at the first real read by the client. Why? Because in the eyes of another, it may not look genuine. Some companies don’t have the slightest connection with the things they talk or write about. Carefully think through all the details. The essence of your “story” should bolster your brand. Even better, create a customer-based company philosophy and follow it in all of your decisions and directions, like Red Bull.

Storytelling and Marketing How can a story change the world

The secret to longevity of your success is to come up with an idea that not only meets the client’s needs and expectations, but is also capable of harmoniously blending into his or her life.
The narrator is the past.  The story is the future of marketing! What is your best tip on awesome storytelling? Share it with us below or Tweet us

Image credit : Seto Febriant


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ECN Team
E-Commerce Nation is The 1st B2B Web Media about E-Commerce in Europe. The team of E-Commerce Explorers help businesses to reach new potential market through delivering useful content. Let us know in comment if you enjoyed this content.