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Storytelling: How narratives can help your content thrive

Can you remember the last piece of content you interacted with on your social media feeds? Many wouldn’t be able to recall a specific post, and that is because we live in such a fast-paced digital world that our feeds are bombarding us with so much new information, it can make any piece of content hard to be considered memorable. So in a saturated digital landscape, what can marketers do to create content that sticks and stands out? The answer lies in effective storytelling; adding a touch of humanity and emotion to our content in order to better connect with our audiences.

According to psychologist Jerome Bruner, pieces of information are 22 times more likely to be remembered when told through storytelling. Similarly, companies that actively push a brand story can increase product value by 20 times or more.

The power of storytelling in marketing can be explained by a few factors.

1. Presents Context

First, storytelling provides contextual clues for our target audience. Instead of simply presenting an objective, standalone fact about a service or a product, using narratives can help provide additional information to your audience about why your product is important or relevant to them. It provides the public with a reason to care about what you have to say, and in return helps them better understand and remember the message. When presenting a stand-alone fact, a lot of room is left for interpretation. By using a narrative, you can guide and persuade your audiences to arrive to a specific, desired conclusion regarding your service or product through contextual clues.

2. Presents Real-Life application scenarios

We’ve all heard the importance of empathy: the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes. This is something that marketers can take advantage of when using storytelling in their marketing efforts. According to the Brand Storytelling report by Headstream, most people want to be able to see themselves in brand stories. When presenting a message through storytelling, your audience will be able to better connect with your message since they will be able to identify themselves with someone who uses your service or product. According to this same study, 66% of people think the best stories are those of regular people, while 38% of people believe the best stories are the stories of the brand’s consumers.

With the rise of user-generated content, the positive effects of storytelling are amplified since you can feature real people telling real-life stories regarding your product. This tactic will not only help your audiences feel acknowledged and increase engagement and brand loyalty, but it will also help build trust. This is of utmost importance since 92% of people trust their peers over brands and advertisers. Customer-led storytelling can also help further serve as testimonials for your brand.

3. Connects with emotions

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, the most effective way to maximize customer value is to connect with consumers at an emotional level and fulfill their deep emotional needs, and what better way to do so than through storytelling. It’s no secret that part of the power of storytelling comes from the power to connect with people’s emotions. In fact, not only does this emotional connection help make content memorable, it makes content actionable. HBR explains that tapping into a consumer’s emotional motivators, such as the need to feel secure or a sense of belonging, drives purchases more than logic.

Similarly, using storytelling to connect with a consumer’s emotions helps create an experience that your audience can consume. This experience is unique to your brand, as no two brands share the same story. By offering values, ideas, and feelings to connect with, you give your brand meaning and increase impact through differentiation. In a time where trends come and go and the digital landscape is always changing, it’s important to not allow ourselves, as marketers, to lose sight of what truly resonates with our audiences. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to go back to basics, after all, storytelling is a tried and true method that is older than time. Don’t be afraid to leverage the humanity of your brand and harness the power of storytelling, your audiences will thank you for it!

Source: quantifiedcommunications.com / digitalmarketinginstitute.com / hbr.org / forbes.com