What is Storytelling?

Storytelling is the art of telling stories or tales. In marketing, however, it refers to a strategy to communicate certain information using the context of a story.

For example, a rehydrating beverage brand whose aim is connecting with sports-people may resort to a typical promo clip centered on the benefits of the drink, or it may show a short sport success story, integrating their product quite more “subtly”.

The last alternative is based on a storytelling strategy. The story is not about the product itself, but how it is integrated as part of the context. The video is not aimed at achieving a “rational” purchase, directly derived from its advantages –actually the storytelling is intended to arouse certain emotions on the viewer (success, reliability, effort, etc.) and to link those emotions to the brand, so that this brand becomes part of the lifestyle of the target audience.

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What is Storytelling for?

The three main functions of Storytelling in content marketing are these:

  • Identification: Making the audience feel identified with the character, the story or the challenges observed.
  • Emotionality: Arousing specific emotions on the target audience.
  • Links: Linking those positive emotions to the brand by means of identification.

In other words, Storytelling reaches the audience through stories that may identify them, with characters who can achieve their goals or overcome their challenges. In the meantime, the story will convey joy, relief or any other type of emotion –this positive feeling will be aroused by mentioning the brand, product or service (either explicit or implicitly), in such a way that the audience will relate it to them.

Storytelling is a marketing strategy focused on emotional rather than on rational approaches. Its great effectiveness has to do with the fact that people usually make purchase or start using a brand based on their emotions and not following so much some rational reason.

Besides, stories can create much higher expectations and interest than traditional ads.

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How do we do Storytelling?

There are thousands of ways to do Storytelling, and the presence of the brand, product or service may range from the most evident role to the most subtle appearance. It can be done on blog articles, videos, TV spots, there are even some images which can tell a story by themselves.

What all of them have in common is:

  1. Characters who the target audience can feel identified with.
  2. These characters face problems or challenges similar to those of the target audience.
  3. The successful solution to those problems is somehow related to the sponsoring brand.

For example, in this Storytelling by Apple, the product is shown as the focal point of success of the stories, which arouse deep emotions related to gratitude and to a healthy lifestyle. We see different stories reaching many people who can feel identified with them:

Below there’s another example, now by Ikea. In this case, the brand is not mentioned as an explicit solution but instead it aims at projecting values and a life philosophy that will make the target audience strongly identified with the story:

This article may be helpful: How to write for boring industries and not bore your readers stiff (or yourself!)

To learn more about Storytelling

Find out much more about Storytelling! There are lots of great examples to get inspiration from for your own marketing strategy. If you’re interested in learning more about it, check out the resources we’ve selected for you:

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