Why storytelling isn’t just for bedtime

The art of storytelling is a magical one. Whether this is simply reading aloud from a book, creating an imagined world and committing it to paper, or being adept at telling the tale of an event, storytelling has the power to engage audiences and transmit information in a creative, inspiring way.

Authenticity is key

The same is true of storytelling as a marketing tool. A recent article by Marketing Week sponsored by the Royal Mail’s Market Reach division has argued that ‘brands need to inject the magic of storytelling into their marketing to tap into people’s emotions’. With the wealth of platforms now available meaning brands can tell their narratives ‘just as effectively’ via social media as through journalists and traditional advertising, industry experts have stressed the importance of creating a genuine, authentic narrative as opposed to a shallow-feeling sales pitch. 

Geoff Mead, founder of storytelling consultancy Narrative Leadership Associates argues ‘narratives that veer towards generalities, explanations and abstractions, or which insist on telling their moral or meaning, have abandoned storytelling in favour of advocacy’. In this way ‘they lose their extraordinary ability to stimulate both the feelings and imagination of the teller and the audience’, leaving their authenticity open to question and the strength of their marketing strategy in doubt.

Brand as the protagonist 

When using storytelling as a tool for marketing, it is easy to get carried away when creating a narrative. While storytelling presents a great opportunity to employ creativity in your marketing, it is important to remember the raison d’être of your storytelling - to promote your brand. 

According to an article by Forbes, making your brand the lead in the story is crucial for ensuring ‘the brand is intrinsically linked to the story’s message’. It is argued that putting your brand as the protagonist can take many forms, from ‘ensuring your brand is known as one that will deliver quality results, to perhaps setting the brand above its rivals, be it as a champion, a maverick, or both.’ By keeping the story simple and remembering to keep the brand at the head of the story, it is easy to deliver a clear, simple message to audiences that creates strong brand association and stands out from the crowd.

Getting up close and personal

Personalisation is a hot topic in marketing strategy, and one intrinsically linked to the value of storytelling. According to FastCompany, the science of storytelling speaks volumes when creating a personal connection with consumers - numerous studies ‘have proven that our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than the cold, hard facts.’ It is argued that the human brain makes little differentiation between the experiences conveyed in stories and the feeling associated with real-life experiences, making people automatically engaged with a story and more likely to remember the feelings it provoked than data and facts. 

Closely linked to the popularity of content marketing, storytelling is an important tool for information exchange between brand and consumer. With consumers becoming ever-savvier when it comes to choosing the information they want to internalise, the importance of creating engaging, personalised content through stories has never been higher. 

Want to know which tools to use to craft your own brand story? Check out Social Media Examiner’s top tips on how to use storytelling in social media marketing, and contact us here at OTB to find out how we can help you put these top tips into practice. 

Why storytelling isn’t just for bedtime