As posted in the Gaston Gazette
Several years ago, we shared with you the immense power that a good story could have on your business. While that remains accurate and true, storytelling evolves with time, including the ways in which you reach customers and clients with these narratives.
The importance of a meaningful tale is just as strong today as it was decades or centuries ago when anecdotes were passed around the campfire or town hall meeting. Now, however, storytelling reaches into digital spaces, advertising displays and more; it’s acted as a foundational part of a marketing toolkit. Storytelling strategically partners imagination with promotional messaging to effectively inform, inspire and persuade customers or clients. And just like any marketing method, it grows with time in its aim to emotionally and vividly communicate with target audiences.
Here are a few strategic measures used for storytelling going into the future:
- Post it online. As individuals increasingly turn to the internet for various information, meeting these potential clients and customers on this middle ground is essential. Whether it’s creating a compelling YouTube video or sharing positive testimonial tales posted to social media, your business can and should reach people via the tools they use daily. No longer is it enough to rely on word-of-mouth sharing; now, businesses must craft an everlasting imprint of that information through long-lasting, digital technologies.
- Visually share your story. The old adage notes that “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” As attention spans decrease – and the overwhelming flood of information on the internet increases – YouTube and Instagram will be among the most important platforms for enhancing the effectiveness of communication strategies in the next five years. Both of these online tools rely entirely on photo and video – two methods that allow for ample infusion of emotion and honesty. By sharing your business’ stories through these methods, you not only redirect attention to yourself within the online overload, but you bring the story to life through the more personal, more vulnerable interaction. Would you rather read a lengthy story about a child’s medical journey to overcome disease or hear her young voice share the same words? Both may cause a tugging of heartstrings, but the latter may hold your attention just a bit longer as tears start to well. One is certainly more powerful than the other, and thus, may lead to better results.
- Turn numbers into a narrative. Fast Company notes that the average person processes an image 60,000 times faster than text. Capitalize on that engagement by turning less enticing information into an interesting infographic or video. This data-driven storytelling allows a business to share some of its most crucial statistics in a visually stunning way. Google capitalized on this method in 2018 by pulling global news items – still photos and video, from Mohammad Ali to Olympic moments and the Syrian refuge crisis – into a two-minute clip advertising its search function. By emotionally reaching its audience, Google told a tale about its search capabilities in a more compelling means than simply stating facts. With data as the backbone, businesses can employ visual tools in order to provide these valuable facts through stronger resonating storytelling.
- Reinvent advertising. Let’s face it, people try to ignore advertising. Entire platforms – i.e. Netflix – are dedicated to the avoidance of advertising. That’s why reimagining your advertising techniques is so crucial. The ever-increasing digital landscape demands ads that pull the viewer in and provide a compelling reason to react. Through storytelling tactics, businesses can capture that aforementioned short attention span. Additionally, businesses can reach their target audiences – and better yet, relate to them – through visual representations. Twenty-year film writer Matthew Luhn, famous for narratives belonging to Pixar such as Finding Nemo and Toy Story 2, explained to Forbes Magazine that marketers should think more like movie writers. He noted that ads should revamp their elevator pitches to four key parts traditionally found in films – hero, goal, obstacles and transformation. Through this narrative means, a marketer reinvents its reach to an audience and creates interest over disregard.
- Go interactive. Technology changes society and it changes how business leaders, marketers, advertisers, etc., reach potential customers and clients. Technological innovations will greatly drive change in the industry – and that means change in connecting with audiences. That also means providing up-to-date tactics for engagement. Quizzes, virtual reality, gaming: these are just a few of the interactive strategies for bringing stories and messages to an audience. In recent years, The New York Times partnered with IBM using its Brand Studio to promote the film Hidden Figures. The dedicated online page shares ample information about the real women of NASA portrayed in the film, helping to showcase the movie in addition to female role models in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Pew Research Center similarly uses interaction, sharing statistics and other information through quizzes on its site – for example, a recent “Digital Knowledge Quiz” shares survey findings while testing an online user’s wits. These immersive tools create a sensory experience bringing individuals on a journey to learn more about a product, a promotion, a business and more.
Storytelling is more than a buzzword or a tactic to employ occasionally. Rather, it’s a communications strategy that yields attention, engagement and results. Discover your own business narrative then shape it appropriately in this digital era to reach your desired audiences