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Tell a story, sell a product

Posted by Veronica Wainstein on September 29, 2016 at 1:45 PM
Veronica Wainstein
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Marketing your brand is about more than putting a price to your product; it’s about connecting with your audience and selling them on what your brand can tell them about the world around them. Telling a story is by far one of keys to a great marketing campaign.

photo.jpgEven print adverts have the power to tell a story, like this one from the World Wildlife Fund.

According to Forbes, storytelling has 4 benefits for your marketing: stories convey your personality; they bring your brand to the forefront of people’s minds; they hit the emotional quotient and they keep people coming back for more. So we know that you should be telling stories, but why does storytelling work?

1. Stories have the power to change our behaviour

A story with a well delivered message often makes us second guess our actions and behaviour. It’s the reason why kids stories always end with a moral. This advert from the New Zealand Transport Agency tells a story of what happens when you go over the speed limit, and the moral we take away from it is to not speed, which is exactly what the campaign was aiming for.

2. If a story makes us laugh, we’re more likely to feel closer to the story-teller, ie. your brand

Laughing brings the pleasure of acceptance, in-group feeling, and bonding,” writes Robert Provine, for the Guardian. When a brand makes us laugh, it makes sense that we feel a closer affinity for that brand. Telling a funny story is far more effective than advertising a price, which is something Snickers recognised in its “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry” campaign. In this great advert, we follow the adventure of three highly-skilled operatives and their trust companion, Rowan Atkinson as… Mister Bean? We laugh at the absurdity, and associate the brand with friendship and fun.
3. Stories have the power to change the chemicals in our brain

In another advert about the dangers of reckless driving, this one takes a far more personal turn, which resonates with us and makes the tears flow. On a micro level, the chemicals in our brains change, which raises our oxytocin levels. This causes feelings of  increased generosity, compassion, trustworthiness, and sensitivity to social cues.

The advert, from TAC Victoria tells a heartbreaking story of loss, and it’s more effective than any speed limit sign. Why? Because it makes us cry.

4. Facts are less important than the story you’re telling

Research shows that adverts inciting an emotional response affect consumers intent to purchase far more than adverts showing information about a product.

Find your greatness. It’s a simple message from Nike. In this advert, they’re not selling us shoes or sportswear. They’re selling us a story of hard work, determination, and dedication; and it’s far more effective than telling us why proper footwear is important, and how quickly you can run.

As Sam Gunelius of Entrepreneur states, “it is important to appeal to consumers' emotions when crafting marketing messages. Think about how you feel when you hear marketing messages and how those feelings affect your own buying decisions.” The best way to get the emotional response? Tell a story.

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