Storytelling is brand loyalty through emotions
Every day we encounter stories. It began in our childhood when your parents read stories to you to fall asleep and continues to this day when friends and acquaintances tell you anecdotes from their lives. But in addition to the classic form of storytelling, storytelling (i.e. the sharing of knowledge and information through metaphors, models, and similar rhetorical tools) is hidden in far more areas of our lives than we initially assume: for example, in newspaper articles, photographs, posters, and graffiti in the city center.
Stories as a marketing and sales strategy
Some works of art pursue the goal of social criticism or serve a poetic purpose: stories entice the listener or viewer to rethink certain aspects of life. This effect can – and should – also be used in a professional environment through marketing. Clever marketing uses stories to communicate benefits, company values, brand values and product benefits – in a particularly emotional, touching way. Use storytelling to stay in people’ s memories: A study by ChipHoath.com came to the conclusion that 63% of those present could remember the story after a presentation, while only 5% kept pure statistics and data in mind.
Know your audience like the back of your hand
Storytelling influences content marketing: This means the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant content through your brand, which attracts, emotionalizes and binds a clearly defined target group to the brand. For storytelling, you need to know your target audience perfectly: Their interests, emotions and desires. At this point, you can tie in and address the “customer persona” (semi-fictional representatives and personalities of your target groups) in a specific and emotional way.
Integrate the values and goals that your company stands for into your storytelling: whether in simple description texts, blog posts, product descriptions, testimonials or press articles. – Your customer wants and should understand through your communication who you are and what you do.
An atmosphere of trust
In conversations, most people appreciate being addressed directly. This increases the attention and interest of your counterpart. Engage your audience: Addressing them directly and frequently creates an atmosphere of trust. In inbound marketing, the possibility of interaction between you (or your company, your brand) and your customers is essential for successful storytelling. Give them the chance to give feedback and exchange ideas. Your customer feels perceived, understood and at the same time you can adapt your storytelling even better to your target group and constantly optimise it. Examples of interaction possibilities are letters to the editor in the analogue field and comments in the digital field.
Lufthansa’s #Sayyestotheworld – Cross-media storytelling with interaction
In 2018, Lufthansa launched the #Sayyestotheworld campaign on a large number of online and offline channels: for example on TV, on social media and roll-ups and in newsletters. The core of the campaign was the commercial, in which two flight seats were set up at various locations around the world. In these, different people sat down and told what they love about the earth and about travelling. The interaction with the target group, defined as adventurous and open-minded, was thus made possible. At the same time, the interaction was also the storytelling of the campaign.
Even the best story is lost if nobody notices it
If the audience is lacking, there is no need for stories! – That’s why you know where your audience is and which channel you can use to reach them. In this context, the “customer persona” is very important: it is the basis for rolling out the campaign and making the stories known. Different personalities are in different places, analogue or digital. This changes the information channel and thus your most effective publication platform. If, for example, you have a very young target group, you should focus more on digital channels. An example of this: The “#whitecupcontest” campaign by Starbucks from 2014:
The doodling campaign
Customers were asked to decorate the typical white coffee cup with their own design. Then, a photo was to be taken and shared with the hashtag “whitecupcontest” on the social media. The winning design was printed on a limited reusable travelmug. In this campaign, the storytelling was left to the own customers, at the same time they were addressed and a direct connection to them was established. Aware of its young and creative target group, Starbucks used the digital channel of social media.
By contrast, the “Silver Surfer” target group appreciates the personal contact, service and the analog; their channel therefore focuses more on offline! You don’t necessarily have to choose between online and offline channels. Quite the contrary, digital and analogue channels can complement each other (Omni-Channel-Strategy) and both offer a variety of multiplication opportunities due to their characteristics and advantages, e.g. the location of newspapers and advertising posters at local public transport stops (OOH = Out of Home): Regional peculiarities can be adopted with little effort.
Online marketing today is mostly and ideally a fixed component of a well-structured marketing mix (as in most cases, with exceptions) and offers a multitude of possibilities for strategically controlled storytelling. The selection of targeted channels can be more specific, reaching potential customers efficiently and effectively. Digital channels have the advantage that content is easily disseminated and a high number of people with the lowest wastage can be reached. Especially with storytelling, it is a considerable advantage to make it possible to share your contributions: If your storytelling is good, it has viral potential and triggers the need to pass the story on to friends and family. Your campaign and your company will gain popularity without any further action from you. A good example are the EDEKA Christmas campaigns (“#heimkommen”).
The happy breakfast-family
Storytelling involves more than just oral or written narration. Pictures, films and drawings can also tell a story without even containing a single word: visual storytelling.
You see a photo of a happy family having breakfast. They talk, laugh, are full of joy. The logo of the orange juice brand is clearly visible. What does the picture do to you?
You are probably thinking of your own family or a happy and sunny start in the day. The feeling of joy and home is sparked. You will unconsciously associate these positive feelings and memories of situations in which you yourself possibly sat at the breakfast table with the whole family, with the juice brand “hohes C”. The picture tells you the story of happiness, well-being and family and shows the juice as a key part of it. The brand was emotionalized: Seeing the bottle in the supermarket, you associate feelings of happiness with it and prefer it over other types and brands of juice, the desired emotionalization through storytelling has been achieved.
With Storytelling, you have a strong marketing tool that establishes a direct connection with your customers and creates lasting brand loyalty. Unlike mere data, stories and the information embedded in them stay longer and are easier to remember.
Successful storytelling includes:
- Clear identification of the customer persona
- Relevant and appropriate content for your target group
- Direct addressing of your target customers
- Facts and figures as evidence and support
- Selection of relevant channels
- Opportunities to interact with the customer