What Storytelling Means to us
From the earliest civilizations and in every age, stories have connected, educated, entertained, and informed us about the world.
As marketers, and especially as content marketers, storytelling has a powerful effect on our ability to create demand for our products and services. Stories provide the emotional and ethical material that underlie the decisions we make. They provide the reasons why our potential and current customers and clients believe in what we offer.
In times of uncertainty, stories can remind us of our shared culture—and for marketers, stories are a great way to tap into the emotions of our target audience. In today’s world, storytelling is more important than ever for successful marketers. And when it’s good, it shines a light on what makes you different from everyone else. Here are two strong reasons why storytelling matters in your marketing.
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1) Good storytelling drives people to act
Chemically speaking, when we listen to a story, our bodies produce oxytocin, the hormone that promotes love and connection.
Why is this important? Because oxytocin makes people act. In fact, a 2013 study found successful public service announcements (PSAs) raise oxytocin levels—and made people more likely to donate.
This research and its implications are key to understanding the power of storytelling. As marketers, our role is to get our target to act favorably to our offerings. Marketers who can mine the essentials of storytelling to form a narrative will bridge the gap between potential customers and conversions.
2) Good storytelling is 22 times more memorable
It’s true. People are 22 times more likely to remember a story than facts, according to a study by professor of marketing Jennifer Aaker.
We can see examples of the power of storytelling across marketing, but perhaps most easily in commercials.
Mercedes Benz holiday commercial, “Snow Date,” is one such example. To showcase the 4MATIC all-wheel drive — a system that increases traction in slippery conditions — Mercedes tells the story of a date that almost didn’t happen.
It is the dead of winter and snowing heavily. A young teenage boy and his father look out the window of their home at the weather. The father is worried about going out in the snow. The boy fears missing this date with his friend. Mom doesn’t want the boy to be disappointed. We see the garage door open, and the boy and his father drive out and to the movie theater in their Mercedes, despite the heavy snow conditions. The son gets to the theater. But his date is missing. He is heartbroken and we empathize with his disappointment. The father and son head to the exit. All of a sudden, a Mercedes SUV appears on the snowy road with his long-awaited friend. She gets out and walks into the theater with her friend, the boy.
In this example, we feel satisfaction in the story’s resolution. We associate our good feelings with Mercedes, the only car that can deliver our most precious cargo — our children — safely through a snowstorm.
For content marketers, read our blog about minimally viable content marketing campaigns.
Good storytelling is more important than ever
Stories don’t just sell a product. They give meaning to your brand. They communicate to the people who matter most for your success what you stand for.
As digital channels become more critical to the success of your marketing, it’s more important than ever to infuse it with the best qualities of storytelling. For your content to really resonate with your audience, tell a story. For really effective marketing, make sure your story connects with the real challenges your audience is facing.
How have you made sure that storytelling is in your marketing materials?
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