Stories capture attention, inspire people into action and elicit emotion and activity. A well-told story can move you to tears or stir rage in you. It can ruin your day or make your week. Stories are incredibly powerful if they’re used correctly, so it’s no wonder clever marketeers have incorporated storytelling into helping a brand market itself and its products.
Major brands like Google, Apple and Airbnb have used storytelling to great success in their marketing. Steve Jobs started this tradition at Apple, crafting stories about what consumers can achieve with their products. The premise? First hook the audience into a story, then introduce your product.
Storytelling works because modern consumers have advanced to a point where they don’t just want mindless adverts promoting products or services being thrown at them. According to Onespot, 92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story. They want emotional connections and they want to experience clever narratives that humanise businesses and give them a warm relatability.
The Power of Stories in Marketing
Stories are memorable. Far more memorable than just plain data. As human beings we have an average attention span of just nine seconds, which is less than a goldfish. This doesn’t give an advert much time to make an impression, let alone provide something that’ll be remembered by the consumer.
This is where stories are so powerful, because message delivered as stories can be 22 times more memorable than facts. In a survey by Headstream students were presented with a bunch of product pitches. At the end, they were asked to recall ideas from the pitches. Only 5% could recall a statistic, but 63% could recall a story.
Stories trigger emotions, meaning people will start to associate a particular feeling with a brand. They don’t just trigger emotions, in the aforementioned Headstream survey effective storytelling triggered purchase intent in 55% of respondents. That’s a lot more intent than bland data would generate.
What Type of Stories?
Let’s be clear here, content doesn’t necessarily equate to stories. You can throw content out there all day, it doesn’t mean it’ll resonate with your followers. Weaving narratives into the content is where the results start to show.
Stories can come in all formats, but according to Headstream 99% of consumers prefer stories based on regular people. They want to be able to relate to the marketing, to feel they can understand what the protagonist is going through.
An emotive story speaks a universal language that can speak to people from different cultures and different walks of life. It cuts through the thousands of adverts we get thrown at us weekly and can speak directly to a wide demographic. We believe that for storytelling to be effective it needs to follow some basic principles:
Keep it simple. It’s one of the main tenets of advertising. You confuse someone, you lose their attention and the chance to speak to them. A simple story will maximise emotional attachment.
Be authentic. Consumers are smart these days. They can spot fake-ness a mile away. If you’re genuine and authentic in your stories, they’re going to connect with you much more readily.
Be personal. Incorporate personal experiences and advice or observations into your marketing stories. IF people feel personally connected to your message, it’ll stir more emotions and make it more memorable for them.
Educate. 68% of consumers find that informative and educational content is the most valuable. Combine your authentic and personal story with educational content and the capacity for connection with viewers is massively increased.
At the Henry Wong Team® we like to tell the story behind each one of our properties. It gives an inanimate object life, it helps people associate their own life journeys with that of the property, and it makes for memorable marketing. If you have any questions about the effectiveness of storytelling in marketing and content creation, please get in touch. Henry would love to chat.