The Power of Storytelling



Everyone has a story to tell, but how do you make that story worth telling? And with so many stories, why should your audience pay attention to yours? Great story tellers have a unique set of skills to create a powerful effect. As a marketer, you can easily learn how to harness and develop these skills and unleash them upon your target market.

A great story builds a connection with its audience, holds their attention, and engages with them. This builds confidence in the brand or campaign you’re promoting, building excitement and creating engagement.

Think about your brand or campaign. If you had 30 seconds to sell its product or purpose, what would you say and how would you say it? If you can answer those questions, and the ones below, about your own brand or business, you’re able to start building the foundations of a great story.

  1. Why does your brand exist?
  2. Who started the brand and where?
  3. What value does the brand give to its customers? Does it offer a specific service that others don’t or can’t?
  4. If the brand had a personality, how would you describe it?
  5. What does your brand look like?
  6. Does your brand have any mottos, philosophies or mission statements that serve as powerful messages to its target audience?

For a brand story to work, it must be delivered in a genuine way. To create brand awareness, you should create emotion rather than an agenda. You need to build trust and respect in your audience before going in for the hard sell. By communicating the brand and its messages through storytelling, you’re better able to illustrate the meaning of the brand and how it can fit into its customers lives – and why it should.

An exceptional example of brand storytelling in Australia is an artificial intelligence campaign launched by IBM that specialises in detecting melanoma, titled Outthink Melanoma. Launched on world-famous Bondi Beach during the height of summer, their viral video campaign saw everyday Australians standing in front of a mirror and camera where cutting-edge AI analysed age, gender and sunscreen coverage. If any risks or irregularities were spotted, there was an on-site melanoma specialist to provide advice and further treatment.

As the leading cause of cancer in Australia, with six deaths per minute, this form of storytelling unites communities, prompts conversation to bring about change, with the end result being awareness and more people having their skin checked for early detection of the disease. By using everyday people, it hits the message home even further by creating the emotion – even a sense of fear – that this could happen to anyone.

For storytelling for a brand or awareness campaign to work, each story needs trust, a relatable story or message, clarity, emotion and a logical conclusion for the viewer to take away with them.

The power of storytelling is that powerful stories allow us to dream, feel, share, believe and inspire others. Like humans, brands, products and campaigns can use storytelling to build connections and relationships with their audience. Storytelling offers a wonderful opportunity for brands to connect on a deeper level. People are more inclined to place trust in your band as a whole if they believe the messages it delivers. From that trust and connection, they are more likely to read an email or an article, talk about a brand or campaign with their friends, share information about it on social media, and ultimately buy the product or participate in the campaign.

As the advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, “Tell the truth, but make it fascinating!”

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