Why do you need to care about storytelling in 2018? Let’s begin with a story…
Picture this: you’re camping out in a forest. The smell of toasted marshmallows lingers as you gather around the flickering flames of a recently lit fire. Some people are talking, others are laughing but the group falls silent as a storyteller commands attention and begins to set the scene.
“It was a cold, dark night. The wind was howling and with the hoot of an owl came another sound. An unfamiliar sound that shook the floor and made ripples in the stagnant stream.” You’re hooked. Lost in a powerful world of intrigue where anything is possible. You want to know more and follow every word like a musician obeying a conductor.
That is the power of storytelling.
It is an integral part of our childhood and culture. It evokes all kinds of feelings from empathy and compassion to excitement and curiosity – so why wouldn’t we use this timeless communication method in business?
Find Your Inner Camp-Side Storyteller
In a world dominated by marketing and branding, it’s essential to stand out from the crowd and be different. Mediocre marketing spiel just won’t do, so why not embrace the art of storytelling and take your audience on a personalised journey with your brand? Nail that and you can integrate an effective PR campaign to convey the same messages.
Why is storytelling important?
Storytelling enables you to:
- Showcase the human side of your company/brand
- Breathe life into your brand
- Develop an instantly recognisable tone of voice
- Break away from overly promotional rhetoric
- Create an emotional experience that resonates with your customer
- Be innovative, authentic, quirky and unique
Grab a Hot Chocolate and Check out These Top Storytellers:
When we meet someone face-to-face for the first time, we ask questions to understand more about them. We want to know their ‘story’. We may even share our own personal anecdotes and ideas in a bid to form a deeper connection.
Similar concepts apply in business.
Telling a story helps to shape the way people view you. It draws consumers in and allows them to get closer to you. It facilitates long-lasting relationships and encourages loyalty. So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at several brands that have nailed brand-driven storytelling.
Airbnb has used storytelling to their advantage, not only to promote their online marketplace in which homeowners can rent out all or part of their property – but to put their target audience at ease. You see, without the trust of both hosts and guests, Airbnb really wouldn’t have a brand. They rely on human interaction to facilitate their business model – so what better way to market their business concept than by letting customers tell their own personalised stories?
Indeed, Airbnb have a whole section on their website dedicated to community stories. This humanises the brand and makes the idea of staying with a host – or indeed opening your house up to a guest – a far less daunting concept. And, of course, that’s the idea.
Their Belong Anywhere rebrand is extremely powerful. Airbnb do not simply act like a holiday brochure telling people where and when they should travel. Instead they let customers talk for themselves offering a platform that embraces testimonials and video content. Even the online guidebooks are written by Airbnb hosts.
Essential, Airbnb are creating a global community; one which welcomes people from different warps of life and helps them to achieve a sense of belonging – even if they’re miles from ‘home.’
Nike is arguably one of the most effective storytellers of all time. They understand the following: storytelling sells, storytelling resonates and storytelling connects – but what makes their brand a true success? Well firstly, they avoid being overly promotional.
- Michael Jordan promotional video
Back in 1999, the brand released a one-minute commercial celebrating the career of Michael Jordan. The video focussed solely on the incredible sportsman until the closing seconds when the brand’s slogan “Just Do It” appeared followed by the well-known Nike logo. Authentic storytelling such as this leaves a lasting impression. It resonates with people from many different backgrounds from Jordan fans to basketball lovers and spreads brand awareness without being overly egotistical.
- The launch of FlyEase
The art of storytelling also involves listening to what people have to say – and community engagement pays an integral part in Nike’s branding. Indeed, when Nike launched FlyEase – an easy-entry footwear system designed to help athletes perform better, they told the FlyEase Journey through well-written content and an informative video clip.
The message was powerful and involved a heart-warming collaboration between cerebral palsy sufferer, Matthew Walzer (who had always experienced difficulties putting on his own shoes) and renowned Nike designer Tobie Hatfield.
Storytelling: Write Your Own Plot
Storytelling should be unique and engaging. Never copy what someone else is doing. No matter what product or service you are offering, there are stories in every company.
- Product launches (like the Nike example above)
- Employee journeys from interview to promotion
- Client experiences and testimonials
- The evolution of successful business ideas
Is Storytelling Relevant to Other Industries?
Of course! In fact, there’s a huge opportunity to take your audience on a journey and make any industry (how can we put it) – less bland. I have worked with a number of brands in the finance, tech and lifestyle sectors and there has never been an instance where storytelling cannot play a role. Speak to me now about storytelling content for your brand.