Corporate Storytelling – Stop selling your products, start selling your story

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Dreaming about being an actress is more exciting than being one

Marilyn Monroe

If you’re a telecommunications company offering the latest SMS and international phone call deals, it’s so much easier to list the package deals, what they’re offering and how much they cost. But you don’t do that. Instead, your marketing and advertising team weaves an intricate story of a couple in a long-distance relationship, talking over the phone and sending text messages to each other, all thanks to your product, of course.

This is a classic example of brand storytelling. It’s not new, not a breakthrough, but more pronounced and popular these days as people are inundated with boatloads of information from all channels.

While it is true that there are many ways you can sell your brand and your product, there are also sufficiently excellent reasons why storytelling may be your best choice.

Here are 3 reasons why you should invest in storytelling.

Storytelling – Stop selling your products, start selling your story

1 – Stories make us remember easily

Experts say that “human memory is story-based.” Information and details are easily remembered when shared as stories. You remember buying that new MacBook laptop after your computer crashed. You chose that Italian restaurant after a friend shares her dinner experience. You’re convinced to buy balloons in the park from the old man who tells you his life story. In marketing, it is always easier to establish recall of a product or a brand when the information is shared in the form of a story.

2 – Stories allow people to relate to certain images

This is what psychologists explain as the pleasure derived from experiencing or relating with certain archetypes. Archetypes are imaginary “models of the self”. Marketing through storytelling provides that satisfying fantasy of experiencing a certain type of archetype. Aston Martin, for example, may play up a James Bond plot for a TV ad to cater to the “hero” archetype of certain male customers. Stories about adventures in Paris of a travel agency reaches out to the “explorer” archetype of certain individuals. In short, these stories cater to our “other selves”. It lets us imagine that we can be the next James Bond or the next person to travel to Paris. By doing so, it is easier for brands to communicate to their customers the value of the product, what happiness or pleasure they can derive from it, or even generate an imagined need.

3 – People make sense of things by telling stories

A whole lot of people’s decisions and choices are shaped by stories that they remember, are shared to them, or stories which they associate with certain things. Things are better put into context when a story is involved. The phone plans are better explained when woven in the context of a long-distance relationship; the choice of a new MacBook is influenced by the story of the computer that crashed.

More importantly, the more people see themselves in the characters of these stories, the greater likelihood that they will listen to the brand and pay attention to the product. The couple in the phone deal commercial speaks out to all couples in a long-distance relationship, for example.

At the very least, storytelling conveniently lets you position your brand as the solution to problems. How can your company help a busy mom prepare food for dinner? How can your product help the professional who’s in a rush to go to work in the morning? How your brand perfume make your customer feel like their favourite star.

Stories allow you to position your product in real-life contexts and situations. It is often hard to convince people of a product or service’s usefulness unless they are placed in a situation that customers can relate to. By storytelling, you essentially humanize your brand and your products.

 

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