By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Oct 20, 2023
In our last article, 6 Reasons to Embrace the Astonishing Power of Storytelling, we explained why you should be using storytelling in your marketing to humanize your client’s brand. In this article, we are going to tell you how to create compelling stories that help your client connect with their customers and increase sales.
Stories touch us in a way that a recitation of product or service features just can’t. Storytelling can make your client’s brand memorable while encapsulating the essence of their brand. Follows these tips for effective storytelling.
In marketing, it’s always important to understand your client’s audience, but nowhere is this more critical than in storytelling. You want to tell a story to which your audience relates. It should inspire them and compel them to act.
You must understand the challenges and the aspirations of your audience to create a story that will capture their imaginations. Your starting point should be analyzing your data and creating customer personas for your client’s various audiences. Then tailor your story to the segment you want to reach.
Determine what message you want to send to your client’s audience and the goal you want to achieve. Some examples of goals might be to motivate an immediate purchase, create a human bond with your client’s company, educate the audience, foster a sense of community or illustrate your client’s company’s values.
To motivate sales, you might tell the story of a company that turned itself around using your client’s B2B products. To foster community, you might show how your company supports causes dear to the hearts of their customers. To engender human connections, you might tell a story of people bonding and looking out for each other through your client’s products.
You will probably want to tell the story you develop in various media. For example, you could develop a video, write a blog post or relay a webinar or a podcast. It’s smart to repurpose content, and if the story is a good one, you will want to reach people in various ways.
As you develop your story, don’t forget about the power of images and particularly video. Video can bring your story to life, make people feel a part of it, and engender even stronger emotional bonds.
The heart of any story is its characters. Make your characters relatable to your audience. It shouldn’t be a leap for your audience to be able to see things through the eyes of your protagonist.
Every story written needs an introduction, a conflict and the resolution of that conflict. Marketing storytelling is no different.
First, you need to introduce a relatable character or characters. This could be customer, a company mascot, an anthropomorphized product, a company founder or other relatable character. Then you need to develop a conflict of some sort. Without a conflict, you don’t have a story. Conflicts elicit emotion, get people rooting for your character and draw people in. Finally, you show how your product or service resolves this conflict and bring the story to a happy conclusion. You will want to incorporate a call to action at the end.
6. Develop a Backdrop
To give authenticity and clarity to your story, take care with the backdrop. A setting can indicate information about the characters such as their jobs, economic status, values, family situation and much more.
The plot of a good story should be easy to follow and not overly complex. Stick closely to the core message you want to convey. Your story needs a discernible beginning, middle and end. Create an outline of your story to be sure each part has a logical flow, sticks to your message and contributes to connecting emotionally with the customer.
Though specs and data may support a person’s buying decision, in most cases an individual primarily buying decisions on an emotional basis. If you can inspire emotions in your audience, you are a long way toward making a sale.
When Apple advertised the first Mac at the Super Bowl, it didn’t feature a lot of facts and figures. It showed a one-time Orwellian video of a woman running through a crowd of drone-like men who were mindlessly watching a screen of a Big Brother figure telling them what to do. She heroically swung the hammer threw it through the screen, freeing everyone to think for themselves.
Or consider the commercial of a baby duck who becomes enamored of a Donald Duck comic book he finds. But when his family migrates, he needs to leave it behind. The duckling and his family are caught in bad weather but his fortunes turn around when the sun comes out and he sees they have arrived at Disneyland Paris, where he is greeted by his hero Donald Duck. This is a whole lot more effective at generating good feelings about Disneyland than reading a list of rides and attractions
Before you ever write your story, you should know the call to action you plan to place at the end. This isn’t always immediately buying the product. It could be signing up for a newsletter, sharing a social media post with a friend or any number of other actions.
Storytelling doesn’t have to be a one-time event. You could have a series of videos and other content over years that evolves the story of your characters. For example, the Tasters’ Choice coffee-fueled next-door-neighbor romance ran for years on TV commercials as we watched the protagonists’ relationship become more serious.
Many people still look forward to stories about the Budweiser Clydesdales. Budweiser has created many heartwarming videos over many years. These include the video showing the Clydesdale saving a lost puppy from a slavering wolf and bringing him home and another video about a small donkey successfully realizing his lifelong dream of joining the Budweiser Clydesdale team. Since these horses actually exist in real life, people also follow their real world stories such as when a new little Clydesdale is born.
When planning your story, also plan how you plan to integrate it into your marketing. In your email campaigns, you can link to a video on your website or YouTube, or to a blog post. You can place a story video on social, and you can use it in your Google ads and social media ads. You can talk about it in your webinars and your podcasts. In other words, you can use storytelling in most of your marketing. Don’t forget to make your story content easily shareable.
There’s an art and a scient to effective marketing storytelling. If you are looking for a resource to help you with storytelling for your clients, contact Umbrella for a free consultation on our website or call us at (866) 760-2638.
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