Storytelling is an art full of valuable information and is a great way to impress and impact your consumers. Storytelling is a captivating picture made up of facts, feelings and interpretations, helping the consumers figure out what they believe about you based on all of these things. The constant creation of engagement fuels the entire marketing machine, helping brands go above and beyond to create a story that their consumers can relate to and identify with using diverse and engaging channels.
Good storytelling encompasses the mission statement and personality of your brand – it can be how your brand came to be, how it’s developed over the years, or how it’s striving to exist. With the invent and growth of social media, storytelling has become a simple, yet highly effective marketing strategy for a brand.
Since storytelling is such an effective way to market to your consumers, I found a great list of ways that brands can be great storytellers from Punchbowl:
- Shape information into meaning: These stories have to resonate with people on an emotional level. Don’t just throw product information at the consumers, shape it into a story around a person, place, idea that drives business.
- Create a likeable character: People have relationships with other people, not products. Create personalities that infuse your brand’s stories to build a character the audience will identify with and root for.
- Speak truthfully: Honesty is always the best policy. Consumers love authenticity.
- Ask for interaction: Increase engagement and add to you brand’s story by asking consumers for their own experience with the product or service. Have them post a photo to the Facebook page, tweet out about their use of the product. Consumers enjoy interacting with brands which builds long-term relationships
- Weave storytelling into content: Intersect the storytelling into all aspects of the brand’s marketing collateral. If everything is visually the same, it will be easier for the consumer to point out your brand.
- Send a unique message: Tell the story so it informs your consumers and excites them and don’t be afraid of pushing the envelope. Stories are more powerful than facts and figures, so make experiences that leave impressions.
When talking about storytelling, one brand that comes to mind automatically is Oreo. Oreo has been on top of things for a while now, constantly putting out content that is relevant (like their tweet when the lights went out at the Superbowl complete with a matching photo), so it only makes sense that their next foray would be into storytelling, and of course they’re doing it great.
Oreo’s Wonderfilled campaign was launched in the summer, and if you don’t have that Owl City song stuck in your head still then you’re lying. The premise of the campaign is simple, they took fairy tales like The Three Little Pigs, or vampires and werewolves, and showed the typically mean creatures in a positive light because eating an Oreo “makes lives better, brighter, friendlier, and more fun”, even for the scariest of characters.
Although Oreos are in fact filled with wonder (*this is not actually a true fact, Oreos are just simply delicious), this wonderfilled campaign is great for many reasons. First of all, it’s very flexible, even the structure changes from commercial to commercial, but it’s also easily translatable into print ads. Secondly, the music they’ve created for this campaign is extremely catchy, making you think about Oreo’s for the next day or so after seeing just one 30 second ad. And last but not least, although Oreo uses fairy tales to do this, they easily tell a brand story that is original and outside of the typical functionality of their product – kind of. Although we all love to snack on an Oreo, they really reinforce the idea that even on the worst of days, Oreo can bring a little bit of light to our days.
Another company that does storytelling extremely well is Chipotle that I found on Social Media Examiner. More recently, Chipotle released a video titled “The Scarecrow”, in which we see the title character working in a big food processing company when he realizes he doesn’t like the world he’s working in and decides to quit to make his own company using healthy alternatives – aka, this story is pretty much the Chipotle brand mission statement!
This is another good example of brand storytelling because it’s pulling at their consumers – and even their non-consumers – heartstrings. The story of the scarecrow is one of having a voice and standing for something, and empowering people to feel the same way about icky processed food. It successfully tells the story of Chipotle without actually throwing the brand out there.
This isn’t the first time Chipotle has done this. In 2011 they came out with another similar video titled “Back To The Start” which featured a farmer growing up and becoming a farmer for the processed foods world, and then realizing what he was doing wasn’t right for doing so, and then going back to ‘cultivating a better world’ much like the Scarecrow.
Although Chipotle also succeeded well in storytelling, both of their videos being extremely moving, I wouldn’t go as far as saying they’re doing it as well as Oreo. Oreo has created a whole wonderfilled world for their marketing team to play around with, whereas Chipotle created a single stand-alone video. And although the video is compelling and empowering, it’s not doing enough. People already know Chipotle’s mission of eating healthy, this is only reinforcing it in a creative way. I think what Chipotle is doing is amazing, but to take it that next step, they need to create a whole campaign around these stories that can be easily translated into their other marketing platforms, even if just for consistency sake.
Storytelling, as you can see by these few examples, is a simple yet highly effective way to engage and push your audience into making an action – personally, I want to get some Chipotle and eat some Oreos now. It’s all about getting your consumers to believe what you want them to after viewing the stories, and everything in the story from the words to the feeling to pictures to colours to textures needs to push that.