Is Storytelling in Marketing a Thing?

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Is Storytelling in Marketing a Thing?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Storytelling in marketing is incredibly valuable. 

Ever wonder why some brands make it big, and some fall short? It’s how they tell their story that sets them apart from the competition. 

Each story is unique, and every business or brand has one. 

Imagine talking to someone you just met, and you ask them to tell you about their childhood. The person only responds with “it was good.” Now, say you ask another person how their childhood was, and they respond with, “well, I grew up overseas, and my mother makes the best pancakes, in fact, I still see her every Saturday for them.” Which story intrigued you more?

If you said the more extended response, you get it. 

Alternatively, if you said the short and quick reply, I’ll explain why the more extended response or story was more impactful. 

Everyone Has A Story To Tell

Your life, your brand, and your business are uniquely different from everyone else’s out there. 

Your life’s journey is different from mine, and everyone else’s out there. Tell your unique story, and you will see your profits soar. 

“Stories make us remember and make us care,” Joe Lazauskas.

Brand storytelling in marketing is no different. Our brains are hardwired to react to a good story. A piece of memorable information is priceless.

What Makes Up A Good Story?

The art of storytelling has been around since humans first began to communicate with one another. Yes, like us, it has grown through the ages, but the elements are still quite the same.

In a nutshell, there are three key elements of storytelling: the characters, the conflict, and the resolution.

1. Characters

The character can be the brand, the business, or the person coming to your brand for help. 

Let’s look at a popular movie, for example. Since it’s 2020, let’s use the movie Armageddon with Bruce Willis (seems relevant, right?). 

There are several characters in this movie, but the main characters are Bruce Willis, his daughter, and the daughter’s boyfriend/fiance. 

2. The Conflict 

The conflict of a story involves a problem. What’s the question people face? What’s their struggle? This area of storytelling is filled with an emotion of some sort (fear, anger, frustration, etc.). 

In reference to the movie Armageddon, the conflict or struggle (for the most part) would be a giant life-ending asteroid is heading to Earth.

3. The Resolution

The resolution is the general conclusion of the story. This part involves how the character(s) have changed along the way and what they learned.

In Armageddon, Bruce Willis takes the place of his daughter’s fiance and saves the world. A happy ending for most everyone on Earth, but a low end for the daughter.

What Is Successful Storytelling In Marketing

To successfully market your brand or business’s story, highlight the conflict. What struggles did you overcome? What did you learn? 

Then, you must position yourself as a guide through the struggle. Not the main star. One of the best storytelling techniques is to make the audience the main star. 

However, through your struggle, there’s bound to be an experience or insight that only you took away from it beyond “it was a struggle.” Right? 

Even if you didn’t have a struggle, through careful market research and defining your target audience, you now have an idea of what their struggle is. 

You could market Goldie Locks’s story like this: “Through much trial and error, Goldie Locks was able to establish the perfect porridge temperature for consumption and eagerly wants to help others avoid the hassle of the too hot or too cold struggle many busy parents struggle with.”

With that being said, let’s take a look at some successful storytelling in marketing.

Storytelling In Marketing

Examples Of Great Brand Stories

Digital storytelling is key now more than ever to be successful. But why is storytelling important?

Simple, it can inspire an audience, make them want something, need, feel, or even understand. 

Let’s take a look at these major brands and how they created amazing stories that inspire their audiences.

Nike

It’s not just their logo that grabs people’s attention. It’s their slogan “just do it” that they’ve branded so well. 

They created the feeling of empowerment with three words nearly thirty years ago that a vast majority of the population today still recognize. They resonated with millions. Their story was that anyone could do the impossible and achieve excellent results. 

It brought to life people’s inner demons and their heroes. Showing people can battle against the voices saying, “you can’t do it” or “you’re not strong enough.” Instead, it demonstrated that “you can do it.” 

Now THAT my friends is an empowering story.

Why is it useful? It makes people feel something powerful.

SoulCycle

SoulCycle is fitness that meets the mind and body. Their story is calming the mind and making you feel at one with your body, all the while fostering a community of like-minded individuals. Who doesn’t want that?

Why does this story work so well with the brand? Everyone wants to journey to their better selves. 

Charmin 

Not only are Charmin’s jingles annoyingly catchy, but they’re also relatable. No one wants a dirty butt. Plus, they’re storytelling by using relatable bears creates a sense of comfort.

Why does their story work? It’s relatable. We all have to wipe. 

Airbnb

Airbnb has a great story that builds a community and a sense of belonging. Their message of “you can belong anywhere” creates a vast community and brand following. 

Why does this work? It brings people together and builds a sense of belonging anywhere you go. 

Maytag

If you have appliances in your home, you’re probably familiar with Maytag. They’ve done a fantastic job of centering their products around the consumer. One of their most successful ad campaigns turns the Maytag product into a human who is essentially working hard for you. 

Why does this storytelling work? The ad is family-oriented and makes you feel safe and taken care of. It makes you feel something.

Successful Storytelling in Marketing
Successful Storytelling in Marketing

Tips For Finding Your Story

When we’re at the bottom of the mountain in a forest, it’s hard to see our surroundings. Once we get to the top of the mountain, we can see all the beauty and wonder around us. 

This is often the case with storytelling in marketing. It’s hard to see the value in our own story or even what it is. 

1. Write your life’s timeline

Draw a long line and mark your life’s essential experiences. What did you do? What did you learn? This can help you grasp the vastness of your story. It didn’t just start when you became an entrepreneur or business owner; it started long before that. 

2. Talk to friends and family members

Friends and family members can help point out your great features or experience. 

3. Write out your skills

What skills align with your business? If you have been eating holistic and locally grown for years and are starting a healthy eating coaching service, highlight your passion and why it began. 

How You Market Your Story Is Up To You

Hopefully, you’ve spotted the common trend of what makes a successful story; unique, relatable, authentic. 

You have one too. So tell it! 

Ultimately, how you tell your story and how you market it is up to you. The age-old adage, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” applies. I’ve taught you how to write your story; now it’s up to you to do it. 

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