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Utilising storytelling in marketing

Written by James Gray on Thursday, 16 December 2021. Posted in Audience, Sales & Marketing

Storytelling has been a tool used since the dawn of mankind, from the paintings of cavemen to the present day.

Utilising storytelling in marketing

Storytelling has been a tool used since the dawn of mankind, from the paintings of cavemen to the present day. It has been one of the most helpful ways to engage and communicate between humans, and good storytelling has the ability to teach and inform, as well as entertain. As a result, humans are compelled to resonate with a story, and even be persuaded by how a story portrays its protagonists - whether people or products. 

Storytelling in Marketing

It is no secret the main goal of marketing is most commonly to sell a product or a service - or at least the idea of a brand as a positive entity that a customer would want to interact with.

Storytelling can be a key solution to doing just that; attaching a narrative to a product or service can inspire an audience to engage with the brand, and narratives have the ability to build emotional connections, feelings of trust and overall attachment to the brand. 

The better the story in conjunction with the brand, the greater likelihood of a successful conversion. Additionally, stories act as a voice for the brand. Through this, consumers have a better understanding of the company’s values and the stance it upholds. 

Christmas ads are a famous example of the latter, usually focusing on emotion-led storytelling to demonstrate a brand’s commitment to specific principles or ideals rather than individual products or details like prices.

Marketers employing storytelling for their advertising must be careful to heavily research their target audiences, as well as perceptions of the brand or product(s) being advertised in relation to the prospective story being told. Users are much more likely to be engaged with topical issues, but brand interaction with that issue can often feel forced - Pepsi’s ad with Kendall Jenner being a famous example. 

Data and Storytelling

Data can often be cold and complex, figures which have no meaning on their own without wider contextualisation. Storytelling can be an excellent way for analysts to bring data to life, enabling a rounder view of what your analytics data actually means for your business. 

Companies can achieve greater success if they communicate their insights in a way which is both more understandable, and more engaging. By utilising data storytelling, marketers can take advantage of a creative approach towards communicating key information. Data, visuals and a narrative can be made to engage and enlighten an audience, adding key contextualisation and aiding understanding in comparison to traditional reporting methods. Storytelling can also be used to more efficiently hone in on headline statistics that would otherwise be lost amidst less important KPIs. 

To conclude

Storytelling is the fabric which is woven into many aspects of human activity, it is the cornerstone of communication. Marketers should embrace this natural tool and use it to their absolute advantage - although as a tool for advertising it is not without risk if businesses do not first thoroughly research their target audiences, and how the brand would interact with the story or cause being championed.

About the Author

James Gray

James Gray

James Gray is a classically-trained marketer with a passion for all things digital and an unequivocal love of data. He’s Head of Digital at Wonderful, and has crafted data-driven digital strategies for B2B and B2C clients. These include global brands such as Virgin and Mazda, as well as some of Britain’s market-leaders like LEVC and Deltic.

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