Why Storytelling is a Marketer’s Most Powerful Tool

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Marketing United 2018—Emma’s annual marketing conference in Nashville—recently wrapped. This year’s event brought together brands like CNN, Google and The Onion to help marketers find breakthrough ideas to tackle their toughest challenges. There were many impactful takeaways from this year’s conference, but one of the greatest ones came from the opening keynote from professional storyteller Kindra Hall who spoke about why storytelling is a marketer’s most powerful tool- the power of strategic storytelling is scientifically proven to enhance brand recognition, writes, Nora Snoddy, Director of Marketing, Campaign Monitor

Stories have been scientifically proven to enhance brand recognition and compel action, yet many marketers fail to truly capitalize on it as a medium. According to Kindra, this is because many brands allude to a story, but they don’t actually tell it. To illustrate her point, Kindra shared two videos. In the first, a company founder told a story about losing both of her parents early on in her childhood, but she glossed over many of the details. In the second video, the founder told her full story, explaining how losing her parents helped shape her vision for her company and product. The difference was incredible, and it left much of the audience in tears. The video served as an excellent illustration of the emotional impact brands can make if they tell their stories properly.

In reality, successful marketing strategies are not just about logical, technical processes and fact. Instead, it’s all about connecting with people on an emotional level. For instance, it’s proven that buyers are more likely to buy if they can connect emotionally with a brand. This starts with a business’ goals, objectives, mission and vision. If a buyer sees they have common ground with a brand, a sense of trust is created. It’s also believed that individuals will pay a higher price to do business with a brand they believe in. This personal value involves the social and emotional benefits experienced in addition to the actual product. Put simply, emotions elevate customer satisfaction and customer experience.

Furthermore, tens of millions of content pieces are created every day. Consumers are oversaturated with information, and it’s easy for businesses to lose their voice among all the noise. Although a company may have a better product or service than a competitor, much of the decision-making process is emotional. Being able to tell a good story can make or break how well a business differentiates itself in the market and ultimately makes a profit. After the initial impact has been made, the next step is fostering long-term brand loyalty. This is created by businesses that understand that humans crave connection and who clearly communicate their story to their audience using effective and heartfelt marketing strategies.

To quote Kindra Hall, “storytelling, when used strategically, is the most influential, effective and engaging form of communication.”

While every brand has a story to tell, too many fail at doing so with marketing. It’s critical brands invest in developing clearly communicated stories. When they do, they will win over the hearts and minds of customers for the long-term.