When we read the term “storytelling”, it seems something pretty simple. We translate it exactly as it sounds, think it’s basically and “simply” telling a story and then we grab a pen, ready to start writing a romance and thinking “piece of cake”. The question is: storytelling isn’t just that. Everyone can tell a story, but telling a catching and attractive story requires planning, practice, ambition and, above all, creativity.
What is storytelling?
Storytelling consists of turning facts into a narrative that has the ability to communicate something to our target. To companies, communicating their values and everything they stand up for through a story allows them to create a sense of community with their audience, by stimulating their imagination and emotion. This story is going to establish a bridge between their costumers/clients and their brands, which will develop a closer, emotional and human relationship.
By telling your brand’s story, you are still communicating that brand, you’re just doing it in a more relevant way to your target and, as a consequence, you are leading it into feeling more identified with you, which leads into a higher level of engagement. In this way, you can sell more, without having to ask directly to your costumers/clientes to buy your products/services. Through storytelling, you marketing strategy will simplify all your tasks, and your brand’s communication will speak for itself.
Even tough there are a million possibilities of stories that we can create, there are also a few characteristics common to every narrative, and these are what creates a consistent and cathing story. First of all, every story must have characters, environment, conflict, message and resolution.
1. Characters: every story has, at least, one character that builds a bridge between the audience, the message and the brand. Building consistent and human characters is crucial if you want the audience to put themselves in the character’s shoes and get stuck to the narrative.
2. Environment: every story must happen in a certain place and on a certain period of time. The description of both of these elements makes it easier for the audience to understand the narrative, which means you’ll easily catch their attention.
3. Message: the main idea of the story is what leaves a mark on the audience. Even if you don’t put a lot of effort on the transmission of that idea, if your speech is really touching, people will remember you and your brand in a long term.
4. Conflict: the conflict is all about the challenge the character will have to face so, basically, it’s what motivates her/him to get through the journey. The overcoming of this conflict is, therefore, what cathes the eye of the audience, so it must be drawn up and hard to overcome. Only in this way you can awake thousands of emotions in each person of your audience and connect them to your brand.
5. Resolution: every story has a resolution, which must contextualize the message, characters and conflict and must end with a call-to-action.
Aditionally, all stories must report events with a beginning, middle and end. The combination between all of the elements above will help you stand out from all the information we receive 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even if the theme you’re approaching is already saturated, if you know how to talk about it through a good story (customized by you), then you will get your target's attention.
If you’re already convinced to start placing your efforts on storytelling, then keep reading because we have 3 more reasons that will make you run to your desk and grab a pen and paper. To sum up, what we want to show you is why brands tell stories, instead of just writing a speech with numbers or creating powerpoints with bulletpoints.
You’ve probably came across a subject that, no matter how many information you collected about it, you just couldn’t understand it completely. Until, finally, you find an article “fallen from the sky” that explains the exact same concept, but through a story instead. This is one of storie’s big powers: besides simplifying the message, they help solidify more abstract ideas. The “secret” is to find a subject that is, somehow, ambiguous and tell it through concrete ideas, which the audience can recognize.
Stories bring people together
It’s no news that marketing is deeply connected to human psychology. It is also no news that people always feel the need to be part of something, whether it’s a class, a soccer team or a family. Basically, human beings need to be part of a group so they feel like they’re part of society.
Through storytelling, brands can create stories that, in consequence, develop connections with their target, and a group made of a brand and its clients emerges. Being part of this group makes those clients feel like they’re part of the brand, leading them into getting more involved with it, in a deeper level. This is extremely relevant because consumers no longer buy products. Instead, they are buying experiences. So, make your clients believe they are buying a feeling or a new way of living, instead of just a simple product.
Stories seduce and move people
As a result of everything we’ve seen above, if a story is really good, it will seduce people and create a deep connection with them. This is the key of storytelling: know how to use the right ideias, on the right sequence and in the right context, so you can hit your target in such an effective way they will start looking at your brand as their best friend. And this is pure loyalty to a brand.
How does storytelling work?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when putting storytelling into practice is that your narrative must always be consistent and suitable to the communication channels you’ve selected. If you don’t know where to start, we’ll give a little help.
1. Decipher your target
Just like in every process of coming up with a marketing strategy, one of the first steps is to always know the people you intend to reach. Do a market research and think about who is your buyer persona, and you’ll be able to understand not only who wants to hear your story, but also which steps you still need to take to come up with that story.
2. Define your character and develop a strong message
The information you gathered from your target will now help you design your character(s), always keeping in mind that it should be as similar to the target as possible, so there is a stronger feeling of identification. In turn, your main message must also favour that feeling, as well as it should stand out because of its consistency.
3. Establish the kind of narrative you want to tell
In order to establish your type of narrative you must start by defining your goals. How do you want the audience to react to your story? What feelings do you wish to awake on them? In this way, according to your goal, there are many different types of stories you can create, never forgetting the need to develop an emotional connection with the audience.
4. Engage your target with your story
Engaging your target with your story isn’t an easy task. As so, no matter what ideas you may have to put it into practice, use and abuse them. A good way to do it might be introducing testemonies of your clients, through video or photos.
5. Choose your communication channels
With video winning more ground in digital marketing, it becomes crucial to pay more atenttion to visual channels, through which you’ll communicate your story. Work on your creativity and produce engaging content.
6. Establish your call-to-action
Your call-to-action will determine which action you want your target to perform after getting to know your story. As so, according to your main goal (defined in the beginning), you should also establish a call that will accompany your message and lead people into doing something with your brand (buy your products, subscribe your Youtube channel, follow you on social media, etc.).
Even though all of these steps are extremely important along the storytelling process, the key is, once again, content. The leaders of big companies predict that, in the future, the role content plays in storytelling will be intensified, with narratives stealing the traditional sales speech’s place. In turn, digital will also become even more relevant, turning into a priority when compared to the traditional channels.