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The Lost Art of Storytelling in Marketing Campaigns

There’s a tendency in modern marketing to push, call for action, and sell, sell, sell. Closing the deal matters, but it’s also a great way for your content to get ignored in a sea of spam with similar leanings. Storytelling (especially when it involves the user or spans multiple marketing channels) is like the icing on a great cake. It both inspires action and gives audiences a reason to actually care, improving engagement).

The caveat? It isn’t easy to get right. There’s a lot that can go wrong, especially when you have very deep, multilayered campaigns that touch on everything from social media platforms to physical mail outs and billboards. We whipped up a couple of quick-and-dirty strategies will help you get it right.

Know Your Brand’s Purpose

Nothing ruins a brand’s story like inconsistency. If you’re telling one story on Facebook, and another on Twitter, it can appear that you aren’t even confident in what your brand is about in the first place. Nail down your brand purpose first, even before you start crafting a meaningful story, to paint a more accurate picture.

Need an example? Think of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Applebee’s. Both are restaurants that serve food. KFC’s purpose is delicious comfort foods (primarily chicken) served with heart from global locations with a local feel. Applebee’s, on the other hand, is about “exceptional value and family fun” in a casual dining space. They’re close, and may even both serve up chicken, but they aren’t the same.

Create Stories That Show Customers the Way

Ultimately, the stories you create (with your brand’s purpose in mind) should inspire and encourage action. They should reveal how your brand fits into the world and what you have to offer, but they must also show customers how they can interface with the brand – and why they should bother in the first place.

This tip is about more than just saying, “go buy this because it’s a great product.” Go far beyond simply storytelling about what a hero your brand really is. Instead, capitalize on narratives that showcase exactly how your brand improves customer wellness (health, societal impact, serenity, or even just plain overall well-being).

If you’re thinking this sounds like a challenge and a half, you’re right. For some brands (for example, Rexall pharmacies), the connection to well-being is obvious. For others (like Empire Theatres), the connection is less concrete. But Empire Theatres could easily craft a narrative around connecting with loved ones for special moments by going to the movies – and socialization/connection is a factor in well-being.

Start with why customers want to use your brand in the first place. What makes you a good choice over, say, your competitors? Then, dig deep to find the connection to well-being, and weave it all together to create a story that’s so relatable, they’ll say, “hey, that’s me!”

Lastly, don’t forget to let consumers get involved. Interactive stories give you a unique opportunity to connect with them and hear what they have to say; this can also be an incredible source of data for future stories and campaigns. Lay’s “Do me a Flavor” campaign is a great example of this in action.

Need help crafting your brand’s story? Get in touch with Go Digital WSI today. We’ll help you determine your purpose, find your path, and launch into success.