Storytelling has long been woven into and conveyed the fabric of human existence. Early humans depicted ceremony, hunting and their explorations in red ochre across the vast expanses of rock, deep inside ancient caves across the world. And these early humans “signed their names” with the stenciled outline of a handprint in red ochre, some 40,000 years old.
Today, our ancestors reach out to us through those handprints. And though we live in a technological age, we still seek out our origins and are curious about the origin stories of others.
“How did you… What happened?” Bards told the heroic deeds and misdeeds of kings and knights across the land. Spoken word poets speak up about the inner and outer struggles of our world today. We still tell our children bedtime stories and relate fables that are hundreds of years old.
But stories aren’t only for the ancients for the children. Storytelling matters more than ever to humanity. And it’s time that brands paid attention.
Storytelling for Brands
Brands position to connect with the customer on a human level when they utilize storytelling. Pixar’s Andrew Stanton stated in his 2012 TED talk, “The problems of information overload in making your voice heard are many, but their solution is simple: your story, told by you.”
The power of sharing through authentic storytelling leads to transformation, and in business, that means more conversation of leads into loyal customers. Here are four benefits to using storytelling in your marketing campaigns.
1. Stories Relate, Not Intimidate
Stories have a way of sharing and convincing in a way that isn’t intimidating. Customers are just going about their every day and strongly oppose force-fed ads or content.
Stories help grow empathy within your audience and reduce the risk they may feel in purchasing from you. Eloquent writing with a list of services can appeal to your customer, but the lists themselves won’t convince your customer of anything.
Brands need to start asking: what are the characters in our story? What is the arc? As the narrative unfolds, the customer can follow the character’s story. That may be a spokesperson or even the brand itself. Communicating through storytelling builds customer confidence.
2. Storytelling Shares Experience
Customers want to try a product before they purchase it. Of course, this is usually not possible unless you offer a trial period. Even then, the customer assumes certain risks if a product is damaged. So, customers seek out reviews from other users.
Customers also don’t trust testimonials as so many are faked these days. How do brands get around that roadblock? They invest in storytelling because stories give customers a way to experience a service or product before they ever try it.
3. Brands Are Humanized
More and more, customers want to purchase products from real people. They want to purchase from those they know, admire and trust. That’s why local influencers have grown in popularity because they’re often personable. A local influencer’s audience trusts their opinion and ability to screen companies. In fact, 86% of consumers believe truth is vital to their decision-making.
However, you can become a local influencer, too. Without entirely relying on that avenue for marketing. Storytelling humanizes your company and brand. It allows customers to connect to how a product or service can genuinely help them.
4. Storytelling Increases Exposure
These days, every brand dreams of going viral on social media. A product’s page can grow and receive a good amount of social shares and likes. However, virality doesn’t happen overnight to most brands. So, it takes effort behind the scenes.
That effort doesn’t have to be painful or involve long nights of coding by your tech team. One story can be all it takes to go viral, or at least level up your exposure. A story is perfect for sharing, and people love to spread stories. Do it in video, and consumers will recall 95% of the message. Make people laugh, or inspire them, and they’ll remember you.
And that’s the final takeaway: good stories are memorable. For centuries, humans have used storytelling to preserve memory and pass on knowledge.
So, storytelling is a gift that keeps on giving. And brands who use story strategically humanize themselves. And more authentically and easily connect to their customers.