Blog : Storytelling

Genuine storytelling

Genuine storytelling

In the world of memes, tweets, and Snapchat stories, it’s easy to assume that engaging consumers means trimming things down. With an audience that has a shorter attention span than goldfish, slimming down marketing strategies to 160 characters seems like the way to go. But statistics show otherwise: engaging and emotional marketing strategies are far more successful than stereotypical promotional advertisements.

Authentic storytelling gives your brand personality. It allows your audience to connect with the company in a way that stands out among the fast-food style content that floods users’ Facebook feeds. This might be through longer-form blog posts, video production, or audio postcards. But the bottom line is that authentic storytelling focuses on developing a human connection. It sells your product or service with discretion, emotion, and relatability.

Tips for authentic storytelling:

  • Use sensory words. Amazingly, your brain cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imaginary. Smelling coffee and reading about coffee trigger the exact same reaction in your brain. By using sensory details, you create a memorable story that humanizes your brand.
  • Use emotion to your advantage. Research shows that emotionally engaging marketing messages are twice as successful as promotional advertisements. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is Apple’s 2016 holiday commercial.
  • Know your audience and what they value. You wouldn’t talk to your boss in the same way that you would talk to your brother. Similarly, you have to understand your audience before you can have a conversation with them.
  • Be genuine. Numbers, formulas, statistics—it’s easy to get lost in these things. Developing a relatable story that’s organic and fresh will engage consumers in a way that standard promotional marketing just can’t live up to.

This unconventional strategy brings personality and energy to your brand. It gives your company a distinct voice in the industry, actionability to move your brand forward, and deeper insight into the values of your customers. Building these connections with your audience allows you to grow customer loyalty through common interests, beliefs, and standards. It starts a conversation, engaging consumers in a new and vibrant way.

The art of storytelling

The art of storytelling

The ability to communicate with your audience is crucial to every business. Your employees, your customers, and your potential audience all have the need to understand what your company offers in the marketplace.

Business Basics

The engagement of consumers with a simple idea is not a new concept, nor does it belong solely to marketers. The art of storytelling has long been central to society’s growth. As individuals, we might remember a terrifying story told to us as a youth, sitting around a campfire at summer camp. Others may remember a writer who evokes warm and cuddly feelings speaking of their first kiss. Be it terror or passion, the emotional component of the story is an element that often binds a narrative to our long-term memory.

We speak to our family, to our children, and to our peers with words meant to evoke a response. Whether we are writers, software designers, digital strategists, or graphic artists, we are all storytellers. The complexity of our stories differs from project to project, client to client. In the end, we ask only one thing – “remember my message.”

Storytelling components

If we are all shooting for the same goal, how do we stand out from the crowd? How do we send a message that is cleaner and more memorable than the competition? Emotion is one component that makes for an extraordinary story. However, knowing with whom you are speaking is incredibly important. A few gray hairs have provided me with these insights:

  • The K.I.S.S. Rule (AKA – Keep It Simple Stupid)

Try to keep your message focused. If you stray from the core of your message, you will lose your customer. Don’t fall victim to chasing ideas down a rabbit-hole. A creative environment allows for the creation of details. If those details are not kept in check, they can often dilute the original message.

  • Understand your audience

Be sure you understand your audience during this process. Be certain that you truly know your customer’s wants, needs, desires, and goals. If you just offer a message without focusing on the needs of your audience, there’s a good chance you’ll miss your mark.

  • Engage your audience

Communication is an interactive exchange of information between two or more people. This function requires a living, breathing relationship between those parties. Be sure that when you offer information to the next party, that they understand both the content and context of that information.

  • Don’t speak beyond your “voice”

As storytellers, we need to speak to our audience authoritatively. If a storyteller uses words, concepts, or ideas that are beyond their grasp, the audience will lose faith in the validity of the writer’s words. Readers have an amazing ability to identify rubbish when they see it. If you have to present an idea that is beyond your intellectual grasp, education, or base of life experience, attribute that idea to someone who possesses those skills. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. If you have to discuss theoretical physics, don’t BS your way through it. Offer a hyperlink to someone who is qualified to speak on that subject matter.  For example, I’m not a theoretical physicist, but this team at UC Berkeley is pretty comfortable discussing these concepts. In short, you take a potential liability in your writing and create an asset by providing proper attribution to your sources.

Storytelling has been deeply engrained in the human experience for thousands of years. If you visit the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi, there you will discover the earliest known cave paintings. The images on the cave walls date back an estimated 40,000 years. These are the earliest visual stories known to be told by humans. The basic storytelling elements employed during this window in history remain the same today. Communicate an idea that can be clearly understood by your audience.

Sharing your thoughts in a context that is recognized by your audience is crucial to successful storytelling. As business leaders, you provide a material good or service that is desired by the consumer. Before they can appreciate your offerings, they must first be able to understand your story. You, in turn, must be willing to listen to what they are saying to you – not what you think they are saying. If you have any questions about reaching out to your customer base, contact Colure’s team to help you hit your mark.