Building relationships with your target audience and create ambassadors for future growth is getting more and more important. In the last years storytelling has become more relevant due to the audience's desire for authenticity, meaning, and emotion from brands.
Eric Danetz, Global Chief Revenue Officer, AccuWeather explains the importancy of this tactic for brands. "High-quality, authentic storytelling is critical in today’s fragmented media environment. With noise and competition for consumer attention and brands targeting for greater personalization and impact, storytelling becomes key to establishing an emotional connection with your audience. In terms people and businesses can relate to, storytelling illustrates how a brand will meet customers’ needs and in return, builds loyalty."
Issues around storytelling
Storytelling already has proved to work, but you need to apply it well. Taj Forer, Co-founder & CEO of fabl says storytelling most of the times fails by a lack of authencity. Brands just forget to be real. Forer explains, "So much brand storytelling lacks an authentic voice, narrative, or relatable-subject matter. I think the dominant reason for this pervasive failure is the outsourcing of branded storytelling that takes place to scale rather than bringing such activities in-house. This ensures that all brand stories are told by storytellers (marketers) inside the brand. They embody the voice, culture, and DNA of the organization from which the stories emanate. When authenticity is put forward as the priority, the emotive stories will generate themselves as the organic byproduct of an authenticity-based focus to harvesting stories from inside the brand."
Next to the issue of authencity, brands also ignore quality, visuals, narrative. Another mistake is not optimizing their story for the mobile experience. Storytelling should get a central place in marketing. Brands must invest in the teams and technologies that build and scale their storytelling.
Jeffrey Singman, VP Product, Kandy Business Solutions, adds three other issues. First, brands are pushing their products and services. They believe that a story about their products and services "features and benefits" is enough for storytelling. However, it's not. Second, they are faking it by telling stories about how much the brand cares about poverty, human rights, a clean environment or other issues without actually making a real difference. Third, brands are using too many words and not enough images. He explains, "Today's generation learns through images, music, multimedia. They don't read long pieces. Great stories are curated and beautifully rendered and then shareable."
Basics of storytelling
Forer has soms basics to use storytelling the right way. First, understand the four pillars of any story. These are characters, place/setting, conflict/tension, and resolution. Second, invest the time and resources into creating a content strategy and a brand narrative. From there, everything produced by the brand storytellers has cohesion, focus, and a roadmap. He also notes, "Begin thinking like a publisher, not a marketer. Publishers build deep, trust-based relationships with the audience. Study their practices and methodologies and invest in the technologies and team members like the most successful publishers/media companies." That requires letting go of the traditional marketing approach, including not focusing on ROI. Instead, Forer adds, "Focus on telling amazing stories and creating premium experiences of this storytelling content. Engagement will follow."