What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘storytelling’? You might have a favourite story from childhood that you’re reminded of, or a story you recently heard that sticks in your head.

There’s certainly something poignant and pertinent about stories and their delivery. It’s how human beings have charted and chronicled their history for centuries.

In a marketing context, having the ability to deliver powerful stories about your brand can have a big effect. It’s possible to tap into the natural instinct of consumers to engage with stories and reach them on an emotional level – thus potentially building brand awareness and increasing loyalty.

It’s because of these benefits that storytelling is on the rise. According to statistics from LinkedIn and highlighted by Econsultancy, in 2011 around 250,000 marketers listed storytelling on their LinkedIn profile. Fast forward to 2017 and that figure is closer to the 570,000 mark.

This has aligned with a greater focus on content as a way of promoting brands and increasing search rankings. But storytelling can take things to the next level and truly help you connect with your customer base.

Being able to tell compelling stories around your business and engage with customers’ imaginations can be a solid, beneficial tactic to adopt when it comes to formalising your 2019 marketing strategy.

Why Storytelling works

There has been significant research into the effects of storytelling on the brain and how we respond to information delivered in this way.

A study from Paul Zak at Claremont Graduate University in the US found that compelling stories cause a release of oxytocin, which has an impact on human empathy levels. This means we naturally feel more willing to work with and approach those telling these stories.

So in a marketing context, being a business that delivers on this front can help potential customers engage and trust you as a brand.

Getting Storytelling to work for you

One key factor around storytelling in marketing is that it’s not all about ‘sell, sell, sell’. It’s more about expressing why the customer can benefit from engaging with your brand.

This requires a human element within the story itself, or rather a level of engagement on a human level. This means a reanalysis of the typical customer/retailer dynamic is required.

How to achieve this? Analyse and identify what your brand is all about, and create a distinct and powerful idea of what this is.

Are you environmentally-conscious? Are you charitable? Are you dedicated to advancing your field? Are you investing in young people or graduates? Ask yourself what is it that makes your business unique and special and differentiates you from the crowd.

Once you have identified these differentiators, you can start bringing storytelling into your content approach across blogs, social media, video content and more.

Key Storytelling Considerations

Econsultancy advises that successful storytelling needs to be truthful, trustworthy, and subtle yet to the point. The best stories not only make us feel something, but they align with our worldview. So be sure to try and gain a deeper understanding of your customer base and demographics.

Other things to consider include the use of data and statistics, which can help frame or contextualise the story you are telling. And don’t neglect standard content techniques such as SEO keyword use for example. These things don’t just become irrelevant once you adopt a storytelling-centric approach.

So if you’re looking to enhance your content strategy as the new year begins, consider how you can embrace storytelling and redefine what content can do for your marketing efforts.

Interested in working with Williams Commerce? Contact our team today.