We tell each other stories all the time: at family dinners, at friendly parties, during office lunches, sharing photos on social media, shooting dozens of stories a day. And this information sits much more firmly in our heads than just the facts.
Because when we read stories, our brain uses not only the language part of the brain, which converts words into meanings but also the parts of the brain that deal with emotions. We imagine taste, smell, color, and movement by combining what we’ve heard with our own personal experiences.
What is storytelling, where does it come from and where is it used
Storytelling is a method of conveying information in the form of a story in order to engage the listener’s sensory and emotional experience.
It is the emotional connection to the brand and the company that determines the audience’s affection and trust. And a story is a great way to start this attachment. Storytelling is more than simply that. Any story resolves a conflict, “does irreparable good”, or solves a problem.
How storytelling works
Our brain only engages the left hemisphere when we hear boring facts. Stories include the right hemisphere, which generates images, pictures, emotions. It is a chemical reaction that produces oxytocin, which creates the trust necessary for the success of any deal. When you bring in the emotional connection created by the story, the client doesn’t need to be persuaded.
Commercial storytelling serves several functions.
Stories have the power to inspire, persuade, and convince. They have the potential to be long-lasting and drive others to do useful things. In early 2017, Nike, for example, promoted women’s freedom of choice in sports.
Stories help to shape a project’s, brand’s, and/or company’s culture and establish a common identity. Lego came up with a cute commercial, utilizing a sketch from one family’s life to demonstrate how to bring together customers and a company that creates cubes, after which parents stop walking barefoot in the house.
Stories inspire trust, and trust is the key to understanding. The greater the understanding, the more effective the communications that lead to the goal.
Stories inspire and build credibility. Steve Jobs was a brilliant entrepreneur, inventor, and industrial designer, as everyone knew. And when he gave his famous Stanford speech, the world recognized him as a wise man in whom one believes unconditionally.
Features of commercial stories
To build storytelling into a company’s marketing, you need to:
- formulate the purpose of the story;
- be client-oriented;
- use the “situation-problem-solution” scheme;
- show the audience the value of the brand;
- if possible, use a story to engage the audience or make the client a full participant in it.
How to tell stories that people will believe
You don’t have to be a talented storyteller, creative research paper writer, or director to come up with a story. It is enough to take a plot, phenomenon, or event that really changed your life or the life of someone around you.
Stories can tell:
- about the creation of the product;
- about working with clients;
- about successes and failures;
- directly about the product;
- about the company;
- about anything in general, directly or indirectly related to your business.
Ways to tell a story
Marketers don’t just tell stories with text or video. It can be comics, cards, offline speeches, podcasts, other formats for presenting content, and even multimedia. The main thing is to follow the algorithm.
Analysis of the target audience for storytelling
True, but marketers and other associated professionals frequently overlook this step, despite the fact that any marketing activities, whether launching an ad campaign or implementing a new product, begins with research on the target audience.
Before telling a story to readers or listeners, you should assess their prior experiences and listening skills. After that, bet on the ones who are more loyal and receptive.
The main idea of storytelling
In marketing, a commercial story catches the user’s attention and establishes an emotional link to the brand, resulting in trust and leading the customer to take a specific action.
When starting to build storytelling in a company, a marketer should keep in mind that there is a story behind every fact. It begins the moment a fact is discovered, and its impact on the further course of events is obvious. This fact becomes important to a certain audience when it somehow affects the context of that audience.
Choosing a hero for storytelling
The stories that a company tells about its job or product are dependent on the client’s context – their life, habits, and interests – rather than the company itself. The main character could be the client’s image or the image of the relative (mother, spouse, child). It could also be a pet, a household object, or another familiar object.
The character is usually drawn from a living person, and the audience thinks, “Oh, this is what my mother would do, and this is what my friend would say”. The character must be completely understood in order for you to know exactly how he would act in a certain situation – for this, you must fully develop the character.
Choosing the plot
It’s not so much about the story itself in commercial storytelling as it is about the advantage the story will give. It is critical in marketing to demonstrate how the brand can solve the customer’s problem.
That’s why storytellers base their stories on the product’s usefulness to the customer. The basis of the story is usually as follows: the hero encounters a problem and solves it with the help of the company’s product.
Storytelling in email marketing
Companies that launch mailing lists often use numbers and a simple listing of facts, and don’t want to scatter the attention of subscribers. They think, if people have already opened the letter, let them get the “maximum benefit”. But why do they need this, if trust in the company has not yet been formed? And trust cannot arise without emotion.
Stories in letters that aren’t just numbers and facts, but also include a plot, characters, and emotional attachment, can affect readings, establish a relationship between the subscriber and the brand, and involve to use of the product.
Most consumers have already developed banner blindness and don’t notice the standard advertising in newsletters, but they are not yet accustomed to letters with stories. That’s why such emails draw attention to themselves.
Features of email storytelling
Content story emails are usually lengthy, but if your story holds the reader’s attention from the beginning, the recipient is more likely to finish the email and possibly take targeted action.
Important: storytelling in a letter begins with the subject and the preheader. No matter how exciting the story is in the letter, it may not be opened at all if the headline is boring.
Storytelling techniques in emails
You can tell stories in letters in the following ways:
- Blog article announcements as standalone stories.
- A short story that leads to a targeted action.
- Letter from the blog editor.
- Stories in article previewsю
- Quotes and stories from the brand’s customersю
- Stories with a brand mascot.
You can also include videos in mailings, tell jokes in letters, start a series of letters, conclude each letter with an intrigue – so the reader expects the next one, and use a variety of formats (text + photos + video) in your mailings.
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