Storytelling has become a really hot marketing topic with the advent of social media and digital marketing yet it predates social media, digital marketing and the internet itself. When I sat down to start this article I intended to give examples of great storytelling but realised it would be inappropriate without first explaining types of storytelling. Having realised the error of my ways let’s discuss the different types of storytelling and why they work.
We are all familiar with testimonials in one form or another. Testimonials are accounts given by customers, clients or other people a business has worked with that explain the experience of the person/organisation. Testimonials are meant to evoke emotions of seeing people like you or thereabouts using the product or business and realising your goals thanks to it. They help in breaking down barriers and clearing up misunderstandings about the product. They are very useful if you have a product that you want to encourage people who would normally think they don’t qualify for it such as youth, men, women, low-income earners and such. Have a look at what Investing platform Ctrade did in this regard.
Understandably some products are very complex and it’s really difficult to story tell convincingly especially if they are long-duration products. A good example of this is a construction company, landscaping service or home decor service. In this case, you can drive the point home by using case studies. Case studies are different from testimonials in that they are usually told from the businesses’ point of view and not the customer’s. This is where businesses will go to great lengths to explain the philosophy behind their approach to products and the impact those products have on customers. These can be combined with testimonial information from customers.
The customer is very similar to the case study but in reverse. That is, from the customer perspective. Customer journeys are not always real-life stories and in many cases, you will see fictional customer journeys presented. The purpose of this type of storytelling is to acquaint prospective customers with what they will experience. Insurance companies like this one and tend to pit two fictional people against each, one who bought insurance and one who didn’t. It’s really effective because it is a great way of preparing customers for onboarding. If you are going to pursue the customer journey storytelling method then just remember it’s not an advert but a story. More benefits and fewer features. In fact, you might well just leave them out and tell the story through what the customer experiences. Customers don’t experience features, they experience the benefits of those features. They experience the process of qualifying for those features.
Another really effective method of storytelling is through the use of values. Do you know when you see content about how the big supermarket chain works with small farmers to deliver wholesome produce to you? That is values storytelling. The statement here is to show people what you care about. By so doing you let them know that your business is not just a money heist but part of the community and world. It tells people what is important to the business and in some cases why it is important to them too. In many cases, you will see examples of it through displays of corporate social responsibility/investment but it doesn’t have to be based on charity. A bank for example might choose to show the products they have created marginalised groups such as women or people living with disabilities.
Problem and solution
Finally the good old problem and solution. This is probably the one we are most accustomed to because of how easy it is to use. It’s used in a lot of short-form video advertising and skits. Person A has a problem, person B suggests a solution. However, the emphasis is much more on the problem. We are first shown how big the problem is and sometimes even taken through the inadequacy of other solutions people may think of using. In simple terms, this is answering the question “what problem do you solve”? These stories are usually made up of problems, benefits and advantages over other solutions. As you should have surmised by now you can use this when launching a new product or a new business altogether.
If you’re trying to get into storytelling it’s best to think in terms of these types of storytelling. These will help you connect with your target audience.