In a time where people are hyper-connected, overwhelmed by a continuous data flow, it has become strategical for brands to capture attention.
And to connect at a deeper level, in order to grasp this attention and try to transform it into a more lasting action or effect.
In this context, “stories are illustrative, easily memorable and allow any firm to create stronger emotional bonds with the customers. (Wikipedia),
- “Stories should be drillable.
- Each piece of the story should be enriching, but not vital to the understanding of the story (so that a customer can still have a clear idea of the bigger picture even though he has missed a part of it)
- Involve the fans in the creation process.
- Build a world in which your story can evolve (such as Coca-Cola’s “Happiness Factory”)”
“The use of storytelling by marketers shows the beginning of a new narrative era in which brand content, brand story, advertainment, street marketing, guerilla marketing … will be essential communication concepts.”
Mainly because of the real-time over-connectivity, in addition, obviously, to the traditional triggers making stories powerful: “Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and to instill moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view.”
Stories help the identification. They create a bond between the conscious and the unconscious, they are rooted at an emotional level. The values, the hero(es), the tone, the drama convey individuals to the escape, the dream or simply a shared world.
When people are “emotionnally connected”, they will more easily remember your message (value), get more involved, thus more loyal and engaged, act as ambassadors, SHARE THE LOVE.
And here we stand at a crossroad, where marketing meets psychology meets technology, each of them augmenting, supporting and enriching the others.
The brand conveys values through a – long lasting- story. The individual is touched via different media. Touched, emotionnally connected, the technical connection will empower him and “help him/ share the love”, acting as an advocate, giving more visibility to the brand, strengthening the chain of the vertuous cercle.
Here are some key factors about the power of storytelling:
- dream, as identification driver
- humour, as adhesion channel
- participation, as engagement factor
- reward, as loyalty trigger
- values, as community foundation
- tools, as sharing support.
Extracted from my blog in French: Livre blanc: Le Storytelling, la stratégie marketing qui fait rêver
As of the key elements of storytelling, as presented by a research firm in a study aiming at uncovering “The Future of Storytelling”, they identified the 4 I’s:
“Life magazine taught us that images are so often more powerful storytellers than words”, Forbes.
Think visual. Think values. Think emotion. Think service. Think shared stories.
“For instance, in addition to tell yourself your story, let your customers speak for your brand and tell your story: “Your customers’ stories add a universe of experiences, which reach beyond the physical properties of products themselves. Your customers’ experiences bring your values to life.” (Storytelling: Branding in practice)
For more, read this great insightful article:
Whoever tells the best stories wins – where the notion of storytelling as “pull technology” is particularly new, but many other aspects are worth the read. It gives great examples of brands using storytelling, like Nike, and you’ll find plenty of ressources to help you go further, if needed.
See also: The Economics of Emotion, by TechCrunch
Update Oct. 3, 2012: Valeria Maltoni (Conversation Agent) adds the “long tail effect” , too, as a benefit of social networks helping spread the word (of your story)
Update Oct. 4: Have a look at this article, too, by FastCompany: WHY STORYTELLING IS THE ULTIMATE WEAPON
Here some examples of brands using visual storytelling: