Marketing was initially created to support sales, but the truth is that these two business components are actually meant to rely on each other. It is getting harder to impose on your goods in a world packed with all sorts of contents and products, which makes marketing an essential business mechanism. That’s why more than $180 billion were spent on advertising in the United States alone during 2015, with more than 10% increase in 2016.
Companies are trying to approach customers in a more personalized manner, preparing marketing strategies based on data analysis and consumer journey trends. Namely, the end-to-end customer journey cumulates experience and eventually drives loyalty and long-term value. That’s why companies are looking for ideas and inspiration within the consumer journey circle. They realize that only carefully planned storytelling attracts buyers.
How to Prepare a Good Storytelling?
Before you make a story to approach potential consumers, you have to know which solutions can strengthen the bond between your audience and brand. Therefore, you have to target audience precisely. To put it simply, don’t advertise health insurance to teenagers, they are not thinking about that.
A vast majority of companies already use the most advanced advertising technologies to reach targeted audiences. According to a recent analysis , U.S. mobile ad spend is projected to grow from $7.2 billion in 2013 to $30.3 billion in 2018, with more than half of that eventual figure going to location targeting! With such superior targeting mechanisms, you cannot afford yourself to lose focus and create sloppy stories. Be aware of your brand’s image, and the values it represents. Once you figure it out, you are on the right track to connect with your audience.
Elements of Great Storytelling
If you want to create a good story, you need to respect the most important features of powerful storytelling. Let’s check them out!
Your target audience needs a reliable character, an average consumer, someone familiar to identify with easily. The main character is the channel through which you can transfer powerful messages to your audience, and strengthen connections with customers.
This person is dealing with the same kind of problems like your audience, and you will use storytelling to reveal how this “average Joe” is coping with the problem. It is crucial to consider the consumer’s motivation for buying products. If you know this, you know what your perfect character looks like.
- Plot & conflict
You cannot connect brands with the audience without a good story to tell, and good stories demand interesting plots and conflicts. As you have already targeted your audience, you can imagine all sorts of situations where they could use your product.
Set their everyday scenery, but add some spicy episode or incident to make a perfect plot. Dramatic situations or conflicts contribute to emotional engagement; they will drag attention and involve the audience. In that case, they will be supporters – not mere spectators – and keep their fingers crossed for a happy ending. Of course, make it honest and realistic. People like watching sci-fi, but they don’t live sci-fi.
A genuine emotion is the cornerstone of high-quality storytelling. You can create an impressive character, write the best screenplay, but it will mean nothing without emotions. Audience must feel an emotional attachment to your story, which is supposed to encourage them, bring them joy, or even make them cry. Discover the purest emotion one can feel in a given situation and reveal it in your story. This is the only way to establish a correlation between your brand and your consumer.
- Plot twist
So far we discovered that storytelling relies on emotions, plots, and good characters. But to make it complete, you need a nice surprise. The plot twist is the final hook that definitely catches your consumers – they don’t only seek for unusual situations, they want unusual solutions as well! That’s also where your products step in: you ought to show your audience how your brand solves the problem and offers simple solutions to everyday issues.
- Resolution & catharsis
In ancient Greece, philosophers claimed that the goal of all art is to invoke catharsis in its consumers. Situation is not much different with storytelling, too. Once you resolve the problem, audience will experience some kind of modern catharsis! You will prove that your brand offers a huge relief to loyal consumers, who will establish a closer connection to products during the storytelling. Just like Jimmy Neil Smith, Director of the International Storytelling Center, stated: “We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.”
Simple markets require simple approach and storytelling, if any. However, contemporary markets are everything but simple – they demand more strategic thinking and some extraordinary storytelling. When you face a competition of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of similar companies and their products, you have to find a way to connect with your audience. Let them feel the brand values, make them emotionally engaged. If you follow the steps that we described above, rest assured that you are close enough – just utilize the power of storytelling.