Storytelling has suddenly become the talk of the town, with brands resorting to engaging commercials, documentaries, narratives and real life examples to promote their brands. Customers have moved past that phase where promotion was all about loading them information and slapping the products on their table. Lack of choice and limited disposable income was the reason why push advertising made it big back then. Today, the picture has changed considerably. Lifestyle has flourished; entrepreneurs have become more creative giving the age old brands a run for their money.
Communications is no longer a monologue. Marketers are at the helm of their customers. They want them to love their brand, talk about their brand and recommend the same to their peers. Well, because viral word of mouth marketing was never considered a gold mine before social media entered our lives! Storytelling is being infused in every form of communications, giving it a continuity, and allowing viewers to get a sneak peek into what happens WITHIN a brand. Users look at brands as a living being that communicates, cares and caters to their needs. Consumers’ loyalty towards a brand has grown stronger involving them deeper with it.
This involvement, this responsiveness and this personal touch is what customers crave for, which storytelling offers. Blogs, visual stories, commercial series and audio casts are the most popular form of communications that harbor social proof via storytelling. Here are some hacks and tips that will help newbie storytellers master this technique.
- Incorporate strong visuals
Visuals incite 80% more response than any other form of media. Strong visuals in the form of videos and pictures coupled with compelling narratives give your story continuity and a touch of reality that no other form can offer. In this shot for the World Vision Series, humanitarian photographer David Duchemin hints at the hope this woman who was HIV+ exudes. She now works in her hamlet at Congo as an advocate of fighting HIV.
- Using fictional situations to convey a message
Anything that is conveyed easily is never accepted, but when fed with a pinch of salt, it proves to be a great lesson. American Greetings beautifully portrayed the thankless and ever exhausting jobs that Moms do with this sarcastic and almost satirical act. Of course, the candidates were real, but the intent of this act was bang on.
- Feature the Hero of your story
We all have grown up fraternizing with our favorite fictional characters, heroes and fairies from our storybooks. They have inspired us and contributed to conditioning our thinking since our growing days. The central characters of stories live longer in the viewers’ mind. It creates a bond with a person who is like them, with a life as imperfect as theirs. Humans of New York is a visual storytelling project that started off as a hobby for Photographer Brandon Stanton. Today it is the most viral social project, garnering support from millions on social media who lend their support to real people with real life problems.
- Spur engagement through user generated content
User generated content carries more social proof than any other form of communications and in turn are great forms of storytelling that harbor REAL people, REAL experiences and REAL situations. In this blog, Vijay, a Tata Nano owner decided to travel to Khardungla Pass in his brand new Tata Nano. He got back and penned down his experiences on his blog, which Tata Motors noticed and featured it as a testimonial on their corporate blog page.
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If stellar experiences can spur great content from users voluntarily, don’t you think incentivizing them will result in a higher and more dedicated response?
- Promote a cause
Cause and impact stories drive donors, support and promotion like none other. Getting people to support your cause, needs convincing and nothing works better than stories. Charity:water has been driving the water movement entirely through stories of the people they work for. Here’s one of their inspiring story of Jean Bosco and how charity:water’s initiative have given them the elixir of life..literally.
Stories help readers connect to the real experiences portrayed by the protagonists. It gives them a proof that their need is normal and has solutions. This confidence and this surety is what stories offer, especially when they are coming from fellow regular individuals like them which marketers should adopt to extend this confidence and care.