Happy National Storytelling Week! One definitely worth celebrating for all marketers, so crack open a bottle of something tasty and join us in raising a glass to the strongest tool in our arsenal.
Storytelling is everywhere: podcasts, radio, books, newspapers, TV, your colleague telling you about that time his mate’s sister snogged that famous footballer… all examples of storytelling at its best. A good story can have a powerful effect on our brains and transport us right to where the action is taking place and make us forget about the world around us.
In fact, a good story well told has an actual physical effect on our brains: learning a number of facts as part of a gripping story engages more of our brain and engaging more neurons than listening to the facts listed by themselves. Losing ourselves into the story is in fact a survival mechanism hardwired into us in order to better store information in our memory.
As marketers, making sure that our products are seen, noticed and remembered is the biggest part of our job; and what better than storytelling to send out a message likely to engage our chosen audience and hold their attention for as long as possible. The key reasons why storytelling is so important in marketing are:
Power - Storytelling has the power to connect with the desired audience by placing your consumer as the protagonist, and your product as the solution to a problem they are experiencing means you can clearly convey the value in your product. It’s a very powerful tool - humans have been connecting through stories since the dawn of time and through all life stages.
Memory - The message is easier to remember: instead of being bombarded by facts, humans remember stories as they relate to a real experience that resonates with them. If something makes us feel an emotion we are more likely to remember it, it’s as simple as that.
Approach - It’s a unique approach – by engaging the consumer on a deeper, neurological level via the magic of storytelling, you can make them the protagonist, rather than your product. This allows you to stand out from the overcrowded advertising landscape without making more a bigger or louder noise but by engaging the brain in a more productive and long-lasting way.
Medium – Good storytelling can happen anywhere, whether it’s in a TV advert worth tens of thousands of pounds or on a paper leaflet in the street. Money might make the message reach further but a good story will still ignite feelings even when it’s just words on a piece of paper or a screen.
Respect – Adverts can be perceived as aggressive sometimes, especially in the age of pop-up ads, YouTube Pre-Rolls and the like. Working your products in as part of a story in a way that feels relevant and respectful makes the consumer feel more receptive and open to the product.