What is storytelling? “It is the art of using words and images to create a narrative that communicates ideas, emotions, and information. A good storyteller will engage their audience by taking them on a journey that is both entertaining and thought provoking.“
Okay, enough of this literary meaning of storytelling! What is storytelling in businesses/brands? It refers to the use of narratives and anecdotes to communicate a brand’s mission, vision and values. Brands use storytelling to connect with their customers and employees on an emotional level. Storytelling also establishes an emotional connection between a company, its products and its consumers. To be a successful storyteller, you need to demonstrate that you understand your customers’ challenges and show how your organisation helps to solve them.
So, now we know the meaning of Storytelling within business, let’s discover how it is essential for a brand wishing to stand out by being both unique and relatable to their customers. Think back to your childhood. Only a select few ads should come to mind. Ones created through storytelling that have stuck in our brains even now during adulthood. That is the power of storytelling! Let’s roll down to the 10 benefits of storytelling;
- Storytelling helps in overcoming media fragmentation: This is done by helping brands and advertisers to connect with audiences across a variety of platforms and channels. By telling stories that are relatable, memorable and emotionally resonant, brands can cut through the noise and stand out from the competition. Storytelling can also help to create a sense of community and shared identity, which can be especially valuable in a fragmented media landscape.
- It simplifies complex concepts: Have you ever watched/listened to an ad and then you find it too technical and difficult to understand? This is where storytelling comes in. storytelling helps in a very effective way to explain complex or technical concepts in a more accessible and relatable manner. This makes it easier for customers to understand the value of a product or a service.
- Storytelling can make your brand go viral: From year 2011-2013, Nigeria was abuzz with the “Indomie Mama do good” campaign, which was a massive success for the brand. There were over 20% increase in sales due to how viral the ad had become. With storytelling, ads can get viral and consumers and even viewers will be compelled to share such content on their social media platforms. In this way, you become the talk of society, which can be excellent for business.
- Storytelling builds trust and credibility: customers are more likely to trust the brand if it highlights real life experiences. When brands share testimonials of their consumers, it can boost trust and credibility. Here, consumers will share their challenges and how the brand/product helped them solve their problems. When prospective consumers read or watch this, it boosts their trust and willingness to rely on the brand, so that they too can enjoy similar results. Of course, who doesn’t trust a good testimonial!
- It helps to build an emotional connection with customers: by sharing stories that resonate with customers’ experiences and values, businesses can forge stronger bonds with their target audience. Let’s look at this scenario; Brand A and B set off a campaign for their product (armpit spray). Brand A uses the storytelling approach by depicting a character who got sacked after raising his armpits and embarrassing a prospective client during a meeting. Even his wife, who was supposed to support him through this, no longer sleeps in the same bed due to his odour. A friend introduces him to Brand A‘s armpit spray, which he applies and thus eliminates his problem. He impresses the interviewer for his new job, smelling fresh and goes back to a happy wife eager to be in his presence. However, Brand B goes to make an ad that purely discusses the technicalities of their armpit spray, without a story or experience to captivate their consumers. With nothing but expository speech, you will often find that consumers will switch off, gravitating to the brand that tells a story.
- Storytelling communicates brand identity, values and personality: Storytelling allows brands to connect with their audience on an emotional level. When a brand tells a story, it conveys its values, missions, identity and personality in a way that resonates with consumers. A well-crafted brand story can make a brand more relatable, human, and trustworthy. It can also help create a unique identity that sets a brand apart from its competitors. It helps brands to shape their identity by showing their audience who they are, what they do, how they do it and why they do it.
- Storytelling makes your content more human: Do you want consumers/audiences to see your brand as a robot or human which they can relate to? If your answer is the latter, then you need storytelling in your brand. There are several ways storytelling makes your brand more human. Firstly, it can make your brand feel more relatable and authentic. By sharing personal stories and experiences, the brand can connect with its audience on a deeper level and show that it is not just a faceless, robotic organisation. This unarguably, builds trust. Secondly, storytelling allows brands to connect with their audience on an emotional level. When a brand tells a story, this story can evoke feelings of empathy, excitement, sadness or joy, anger etc. in the audience. This as well, makes the brand more relatable and engaging.
- It creates positive associations: Do you know that storytelling can increase your brand likeability and value? When brands create stories that elicit positive emotions, it can make the customers feel good about the brand and more likely to purchase from it in the future. So, brands should create stories that aligns with its values and mission. This allows customers to see the brand as more than a product or a service but as something that shares their believe and values.
- Storytelling helps brands to engage their audience and also, helps brands to stand out: Storytelling can be entertaining and enjoyable, which keeps people engaged and interested with what the brand has to say. So, the more compelling your story is, the more engagement you will most likely have. Therefore, when drafting a brand story, consider your plot and character, this will go a long way toward engaging your audience and prospective clients/customers.
- Storytelling helps in differentiating a brand from its competitors: Be informed that when a brand uses storytelling to differentiate their brands from other competitors, they are essentially creating a unique brand identity that sets them apart from the competition. You are creating a specific tone, voice and style that’s unmistakably yours. So here, the goal is to create more compelling stories than your competitors, making it more likely that customers will remember and choose your brand over theirs. Note that by using storytelling, you are creating a competitive advantage that’s hard for others to replicate.
Note that there are many more benefits of storytelling in brands and business, but these 10 curated reasons can go a long way. If you were asking yourself “why use storytelling in business?” think back to the above to give your ads the umph they need.
Summarily, storytelling in business helps create a meaningful connection with customers, fosters brand loyalty and can be a key driver of success in marketing and communication efforts. By crafting authentic and relevant stories, businesses can enhance their overall impact and achieve their goals more effectively. Please do well to tell me if these benefits listed were found in your brand when you applied the storytelling method. Additionally, if you need a content/copywriter, reach me out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.