Stories and underlying narratives are one of the fundamental ways in which we understand the world. Great storytelling becomes especially important when navigating a world of interweaved and complex ideas as well as sophisticated products and services that are marketed to us.
According to Yuval Noah Harari, who is a historian and author of best-selling book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind– the evolutionary changes in our species gave rise to spoken language and this ability to exchange information allowed us to cooperate in large communities, and it has since been critical factor to our long-term survival and success. Ancient human beings communicated through legends, myths, metaphors and parables…in short—through storytelling.
Tell me the facts and I will learn, tell me the truth and I will believe. But tell me a story— and it will live in my heart forever.Native American saying
But what does the ancient art of storytelling have to do with the relatively dry subject of marketing? The answer lies in the fact that even dry and difficult subject matter can be communicated with artfulness and emotion by a good storyteller. Whatever a brand or a business may be offering, they must go beyond churning out factual information, and answer some fundamental narrative based questions, for example,
- Are you actually living your Vision, Mission and Values, both within and without your organization?
- Are you making life better for current and future generations?
- Do you feel responsible for all living inhabitants of the earth, and what are you doing about that responsibility?
- Why in what way do you think what you are doing is important to the community as a whole?
- Does what you are doing in any way shoulders the burdens of your customers or audiences?
- Do you have a unique or at least a different perspective then most of the others on at least some of the above accounts?
Content marketing is great storytelling which gives content a new face in the age of digital content. It surpasses the monotony of new age fads and brings in the ancient and time tested method of superior engaement and retention. With a plethora of ways to communicate, storytelling ultimately hinges on to enlivening memories of the audience and helps break the ordinary and the mundane in order to communicate effectively.
For a business or brand, its story is more than what it tells people. It is what the public believes about the brand based on all the signals a company sends out. The story is a complete picture of the facts, feelings and interpretations that are shared about business by the company itself, its customers, its community and the public in general. It also implies that, customers and audiences won’t remember the benefits of your products or services unless you can tell your product or service story in a compelling and engaging way.
Brand storytelling has become increasingly important as society moves into an age where trust and transparency are vital. This is because customers will base which company’s product or services they use on whether the company is trustworthy. Therefore, a brand’s story is as, if not more, important than the advertisements and campaigns the company puts out into the public domain.
This means that the way your company treats its employees and customers and their experiences contribute to the brand’s story. While the content that is published about a company does contribute to brand storytelling, it is only one of many elements that contribute to the brand’s story as a whole.
In addition to your brand’s published content, your story also includes:
- How your website pages including product and services pages look and are presented
- Your core values
- Your differentiation message
- The experience your customers have using your product and/or services
- The reviews customers post about you online
- The way your staff deals with customers
- How your employees talk about your company to the people they meet
- Mentions of your brand in the media
The convergence of connectivity, content, and community has turned marketers into change agents who break down silos, and who spur on the digital innovation that will shape life in the 21st century.