In a couple of minutes, you will learn how to use storytelling in marketing.
But this is better explained with specific examples.
Imagine you drive to a city far away. You have never been here before. Your phone is dead, it’s getting late, and you need a place to spend the night. So you stop in front of a building with a signboard that says, “Hotel.”
But something seems wrong immediately after you step into the reception. There’s one lady. She is chewing bubble gum and looking at the ceiling as if unaware of your presence. The walls of the building have brown stains. God, may it not be blood, you prayed.
“A night is $100,” the lady says. She is not looking at you. Instead, she pushes a book toward you and stretches her hand to take the money she’s asked for.
Now, this is wrong. You have a choice. To bounce out of the door or risk the night, with the possibility that you will wake up with a serial killer standing by your bed.
“I think I will go somewhere else,” you say.
Some ten quick steps later, you’re outside again. Breathing hard, hearts thumping in your chest, you get in the car in one piece and start the engine. Your hands are shaking, but you manage to turn on the ignition. You keep looking through the mirror to be sure no one is following you.
Then You Found A Different Story
Some minutes later, you find another place. Lucky you.
You can smell this one from the parking lots. Hundreds of flowers behind the lawn and tall well-pruned trees are waving at you merrily.
When you step into the reception, the security welcomes you with a warm smile and assists you with your bag.
“This way, Sir,” he says.
You are offered a standard bedroom, better than you imagined, and the greatest service you have ever experienced, even though it costs 3X more than the first one.
You check the hotel’s name when you leave the next day. Under the name, you see the tagline, “Experience Bliss.”
Oh, they fulfil that promise, you whisper to yourself.
The Power of Storytelling
A story is a promise.
It starts before you say a word. Like the first hotel, the building begins telling you about the interior and the service before you get in. The promise has started all along.
The same thing applies to the second hotel. You are already telling yourself a story before you get in.
When I explain storytelling to people, I always tell them that it covers business and many areas of life.
People anticipating a concert are telling themselves specific stories. It’s more than that having fun. It’s a one-in-life-time of fun if they are paying a lot to see it.
The question is, how can you as a business shape the story they tell themselves about your product or business?
Many people call it branding.
Well, it doesn’t matter what title you ascribe to it. The point is to present a story without actually telling the story.
Anyone who has owned a high-end product knows what I mean here. iPhone users have another pad to their shoulders once they buy the latest one. Tesla owners drive around town like a unicorn among horses. There’s a story going on in their head. And that’s what you should try to influence.
How to use storytelling in marketing
This post is like part 2 of my former post on the topic, a beginner’s guide to storytelling in marketing. You should check it out if you haven’t.
Here’s what you should do to create a powerful story.
#1. Develop an emotional appeal for your product
I saw a website the other day. The course is about training people to become the next tech professional.
They said, “kick start your tech career.”
They add, “from beginner to expert in 12 months.”
But what about emotions? These headlines and subheadlines are normal and basic. They won’t appeal to emotions.
So, let’s try again.
The Smartest Road To Tech.
Let’s back up the above promise: “acquire the required skills, become certified, get internships in the next 12 months.”
I’m tempted to add “all for 90 minutes per day.”
Now emotions have been added. Many people who want to learn tech will be happy to refer to it as “tech.” The “smartest road,” sounds like an advantage you will want.
But hold on.
You’re here to learn how to use storytelling in marketing.
And the first rule is that your product must be emotionally appealing.
Examples of storytelling in marketing
Nike is not selling sportswear. They are selling a dream. JUST DO IT. Each of their ads always promises you can win if you just do it.
Apple is not selling a phone. They are selling a class. BE DIFFERENT. Each owner of their product (everywhere I have seen them) always feels special. Different.
Airbnb is not offering a place to sleep or spend a holiday. They said, BELONG ANYWHERE. They promise to make you as comfortable as you can be. ‘Belong anywhere’ has a promise of safety and community in it.
What is the emotional appeal of your product?
I can help you brainstorm it for free.
I can help you brainstorm and analyse the emotional appeal of your product for a flat fee of $495. This includes a written copy (up to 500 words) and an image designed to use in ads on social media.
Brainstorming an idea on how to appeal to emotion and the copy (without the image) is $430.
Brainstorming alone will cost $200.
Currently, I’m helping brands who want a free brainstorming session. What you get includes creating the copy for your brand. No image included, though. Later, you can talk to a professional designer to work on the ideas I develop.
In exchange, I will ask you to share this post. If you’re interested, send a mail to Hadehwrites(@)Gmail. com. Please, include the screenshot that you shared this post on your social media. I will stop after working with 10 brands and start charging the actual fee for the service.
Let’s get back to the topic of how to use storytelling in marketing.
One of the mistakes I see with brands is that they don’t carry the main emotional appeal to every other thing. They use it in one place, but it doesn’t reflect in other areas. The landing page should back up the idea if you use it in an ad. Holding the product should give that feeling or promise your brand wants to tell.
2. Create the environment
Once you have the product appealing to emotion, it’s time to create an environment that fits your message.
You want everything you do to reinforce the promise you make with the main story you’ve created.
I promise the readers of this blog they can be unforgettable. I try to use jokes, be unique, and educate them about topics that span classical literature, psychology, and stories. So stick around for some sci-fi if you’re interested.
You will do the same with your business. First, create an emotional appeal to your product. Then make conscious choices to reinforce that promise.
You will realize that once the emotional appeal is adequately nailed down, it’s usually easier to create ads, design websites, or create marketing campaigns. If you use it on your landing page, you should use it in your content writing.
3. Test your idea
The final piece of the whole process is to test what you have created.
After you have worked on other things around that emotional appeal of your product, go forward and share the copy or ads. Put up flyers, create blog posts and share your brand promises.
Put it outside in the world and let your customer be the judge.
I should warn you again.
Your promise should be carried around with everything else. Look at the iPhone, for instance, the case, the design, and the features. Every year, a new iPhone is released, and they keep to Be Different’s promise. It’s easier to continue telling the users that they are DIFFERENT because the product fulfils that promise.
Like two partners, a good marketing strategy works well with the product. There should be no dispute between what you promise and what the users actually feel.
More than the environment, your product must fulfil that promise you’ve been telling with stories all along.
I know when it comes to how to use storytelling, it looks simple, but I have seen people mess things up and complicate it. So let’s answer some of your questions.
How does someone become a good storyteller?
Before I answer the question, I need to know what you plan to achieve if you become a good storyteller. Want to write films or novels?
Or do you want to use storytelling in marketing to drive business results?
All of your reasons are valid, but my point is the process differs. Overall, it can be summarized in three steps: learn human psychology, understand how marketing works, and have some experience in the field. For instance, become a novelist or filmmaker.
I started storytelling by being a ghostwriter. I know that if someone commits evil, you can still make people fall in love with him in a story. (Examples are Joker and The Armed Robbers in Money Heist). It’s about how you present the details. Learn through studying and then experimenting or working in that field.
Who are the most famous storytellers in the world?
Martin Luther King comes to mind. He told the story of a future most black people wanted, and he had the confidence to support the story.
That’s what we mean by creating everything around your main story. But, then, the other things should reinforce your promise.
Business people, politicians (I don’t want to mention names), and copywriters are good at storytelling, too. Steve Jobs famously said the storyteller is the most powerful person in the world.
Like a magician, a storyteller can change people’s perception of a subject without touching them physically.
What is the secret to great storytelling?
Emotions. That’s the secret.
We love surprises. We love love. Moreover, we love to see something new and strange in unexpected places.
If you see a great storyteller, you will see a mathematician who understands the emotions of the listener or reader. He gives these in doses, enough for the observer to say, I want more. Because he is a master of emotions, he keeps his reader comfortable and introduces a bit of discomfort in the form of high emotions like surprise, suspense, or love. The observer feels some level of pleasure and deep connection when he stops. So the storyteller becomes Unforgettable.
Learn how to write a novel, if you haven’t.
Don’t forget to reach out if you want to take the offer in the post. I’m taking 10, and the count has started.