Storytelling in Marketing

Organizations that are winning the hearts and minds of their audience are the ones sharing compelling and useful stories in their advertising and marketing efforts.

Storytelling in marketing is not a new concept, but it has become increasingly important as we continue to get the majority of our information from social media and through digital marketing. And while many of us learn about news first through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s also true that in our fast-paced society, we are taking less time to read the entire story.

And because of that, it is crucial to incorporate elements to connect with your audience members and make them remember your story. Included below are some key story components to consider.

Characters

The characters in your story will depend on the marketing goals for your campaign or initiative. For example, if your story is about a specific product or service, your character may be a current customer who used the product or service. Or maybe your character is the product or service. Keep in mind that the characters you choose should relate to your audience and reinforce your brand. Choose someone or something that is compelling and has an interesting tale to tell.

Setting

Where does your story take place? If you are a health care organization and want to tout a new procedure, you may want to select a location that highlights how your character’s quality of life was enhanced by having the procedure. Consider adding secondary locations to reinforce the story and connect the dots from the procedure to the patient. Your character is “shown” in an exam or operating room and, later, on the bike path walking, running or biking. By keeping settings top of mind, you’re delivering a complete picture.

Plot

Here is where the rubber meets the road. What is the overall series of events you want to show in your story? The plot is the “why” for what happens in a story. Think of the compelling pieces that will help connect with the reader and draw him or her into your story.

Conflict

Incorporating conflict into your story is essential. Every story has a conflict to solve. Staying with the health care example, perhaps the conflict in your story is a character who has been experiencing severe back pain and has been unable to get around. You must identify the customer challenge, show how you can solve your customer’s challenge and highlight the resolution.

Resolution

This is the outcome and your chance to really hit home what you want your readers or viewers to know. One of the worst things you can do is leave your audience hanging – cliffhangers would not be welcome here. Wrapping up the story with a strong resolution will help build loyalty among your audience.

In conclusion

As you think about your organization’s story, determine how you can use it most effectively for your marketing efforts. Using characters, setting, plot, conflict and resolution will help ensure you are telling a story that will captivate your audience, keep them engaged and possibly inspire them to become an ambassador for your brand by sharing your story (and theirs) with others.