storytellingGuest Post by Matt Press

5.3 trillion ads are shown online every year. 

The statistics look impressive – but did they make you feel anything? Probably not.

Chances are that most people reading this article will have forgotten those numbers by the time they reach the conclusion.

The reason is that numbers look great on PowerPoint presentations … but they aren’t memorable.

Ever since we were kids, our parents, grandparents, and teachers have been telling us stories – to teach us lessons, help us understand something – or even just to make us happy.

Yet for some reason, brands continue to drone on about facts, instead of taking the same, tried-and-tested approach for emotional communication.

If you want to make a real impression with someone, you need to tell a story.

Stories are an essential component of our lives… and good corporate stories are perhaps some of the most powerful stories of them all.

Why Storytelling is So Effective

In a world that’s saturated with marketing, it’s more important than ever for brands to make a lasting impression with their customers. This is particularly true when you consider the fact that we’re more obsessed with experience now than ever before.

Millennials – the largest generation by population, with a spending power of $1.3 trillion – are all about getting immersed in the story.

They don’t want to be told what a company can do for them – they want to experience that company for themselves.

Brand storytelling you allows you to connect with your audience by allowing them to see behind the scenes of your company, into the personalities and humans that really matter. After all, people show loyalty to other people – not to faceless corporations.

Human beings are drawn to stories because they create emotion; and emotion sells.

In fact, studies have shown that positive emotions towards a brand have a far greater impact on customer loyalty than any other judgment based on the attributes of a product or service.

Who’s doing it right?

Before you jump straight into your new advertising strategy, remember that storytelling in the context of marketing isn’t just about producing a narrative – it’s about describing your brand across multiple channels using different tools and methods.

For the purpose of inspiration, here are a few businesses in the UK that are currently doing it right:

1. Guinness

Guinness is a brand who knows the power of emotional storytelling. Just think about their 2013 commercial that reached millions of views within four days of its online release.

The video shows a group of guys playing wheelchair basketball, followed by a refreshing glass of Guinness.

The twist in the tale is that only one guy needs the wheelchair; the rest of the group are his friends, simply trying to be a part of the game.

So what does this story have to do with Guinness?

A voiceover in the video mentions “loyalty,” “friendship,” and “dedication”: how our choices define our character.

In other words, Guinness is encouraging its audience to be better people, and implying that their drink is already the best it can be.

2. Cadbury

Cadbury consistently occupies one of the top spots for the “best storytelling brands” on the market today. In fact, they were named “best brand for storytelling” two years in a row, alongside Apple.

Once again, this brand has achieved storytelling success by evoking emotion, this time the feel-good, warm sensation that comes from eating a great bar of chocolate.

Their advertisements are made to evoke smiles, with gorillas drumming along to classic songs, and “How Do You Eat Yours” Crème egg campaigns.

If that’s not enough, Cadbury has even used experiential marketing in their takeover of a digital screen in Waterloo, allowing people to play an augmented game to win chocolate bars.

In other words, the Cadbury brand story is all about getting you involved in feelings of “joy.”

3. Aldi

Finally, Aldi has been running the same fantastic campaign for a number of years, where they put genuine people in front of a camera and ask them to compare the “Aldi” brand products with big-name brands.

These ads are funny, engaging, and most importantly of all, authentic, underlining Aldi’s story as a realistic shopping option for down-to-earth customers.

For Aldi, the shopper is the main protagonist of their narrative. This means that their customers relate to what they’re being shown.

What can you do with a good story?

Perhaps the most important benefit of storytelling is that it helps to define your brand.

It gives customers an identity that they can connect with, increasing your chances of everything from better brand loyalty to higher profits.

With storytelling, you can achieve:

1. Personality

Storytelling represents the perfect platform to let the personality of your brand shine through. This personality should sync perfectly with the opinions and values of your customers so that you can build long-lasting relationships with your target audience.

2. Emotional impact

Nothing sells better than emotion. If you can make your audience feel something, then you’re bound to achieve success.

Tell your customers stories that are real, and authentic, and tell them in a way that evokes strong feelings. Storytelling goes beyond USPs and price points and touches your target market where it matters – in their hearts.

3. Better relationships

Relationships are solid gold to a marketer. If your audience feels a connection to your brand, then they’re not only more likely to be repeat purchasers, but they’re also more inclined to advocate for your company in the future by offering shining testimonials to friends and relatives.

4. Memories

As humans, we’re automatically more inclined to remember stories; that’s why your mother read you nursery rhymes when you were young, they’re brimming with lessons to help you grow up and become a better person.

Storytelling that is strategically crafted will build the memories you want to leave with your readers.

Go forth and tell stories.

Since storytelling is a long-term approach to marketing that requires consistent creativity, you can expect that achieving success will be no easy feat.

Finding the right voice to speak to your audience, then building a narrative that sticks with them across the years is tough; but when it’s done right, it can be true marketing magic.

Matt PressMatt Press is an experienced copywriter who has written words for some of the UK’s biggest brands, such as Sky, Three and Vodafone. He run runs his own content marketing agency, Splash Copywriters.

Image: Florian Klauer via Unsplash, CC Zero