Psychology Today highlights how storytelling uses the tools of the storyteller-emotion, engagement, universal themes, personal connection, and relevance-to create a communication experience instead of a message and makes a compelling case for storytelling in marketing:
• Functional MRI neuro-imagery shows that, when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features and facts).
• Advertising research reveals emotional response to an ad has far greater influence on a consumer’s reported intent to buy a product than does the ad’s content—by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials and 2-to-1 for print ads.
• Research conducted by the Advertising Research Foundation concluded that the emotion of “likeability” is the measure most predictive of whether an advertisement will increase a brand’s sales.
• Studies show positive emotions toward a brand have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.
Stories are the brain’s way of organizing information – in other words, how we rise above the noise. Stories package information for rapid comprehension by engaging the brain at all levels: intuitive, emotional, rational, and somatic.
Consumers expect you to earn their attention, not interrupt them for it.
We’ve come up with six tips to incorporate story telling into your marketing efforts:
1. Develop a clear understanding of your target audience. This goes deeper than a one-page “audience bio”. Speak to your audience and ask why they buy from you. What do they like about your company that keeps them coming back? Once you understand their answers, you will be able to create material that truly speaks to your audience.
2. Through your conversations, identify emotional drivers your customers and followers experience. This emotional analysis will help determine what your customers truly care about and how to tap into that passion.
3. Prioritize authenticity as much as possible. Highlight stories from employees, customers, supporters and other industry folk. Don’t shy away from using details like names, settings and positive outcomes. The more relatable your story is, the more your audience will respond.
4. Whether you are using Facebook, a blog, Twitter, Instagram, direct mail or even a billboard, use the strengths of your channel to tell your story appropriately. From two words to 140 characters, create a story that’s shareable across your channel of choice.
5. Give your stories credibility. No one says facts and figures should be completely eliminated from your storytelling, but when data and story are used together, audiences are moved both emotionally and intellectually.
6. Encourage user-generated content to share different perspectives of your overarching story. Try hosting a contest, managing a hashtag or interviewing industry leaders to create third-party content with storytelling flair.
Stories stimulate the mind; it is now in our job descriptions to send our audience on a journey that leads them to solutions that solve their problems and, hopefully, boosts our bottom lines.
To read more on the science of storytelling visit Psychology Today.