Does Your Brand Use These 3 Story Types

Campfire Stories: What Brands Can Learn

Why is storytelling important? Because we’ve been telling stories around the campfire for centuries. Stories amuse and impart knowledge. Stories do something that disparate facts alone can’t do. By getting people involved and providing context, stories help people remember information. Further, they instill readers with feelings for the protagonist, which products alone can’t do. As a result, stories are important for brands because they form associations, provide emotional attachment and make them memorable.

Due to their power to draw the public in and get them engaged, stories are critical for marketing. A good story adds emotion, incorporating what your firm does in a way that gets the public to care.  To help you find the stories within your firm, look in terms of these three major story forms.

  1. Human interest stories. These accounts make the front page of tabloid newspapers. These gossipy stories encourage us to read on since we must know what’s happened to our favorite star or other high profile person. It’s one of those secret pleasures that we want to know more about. You can learn a lot about these topics by visiting your local newsstand. Which titles jump out at you? What types of photographs reach out and grab you by the shoulders so you buy the magazine to keep reading? How do you transfer this desire-to-find-out-more storytelling to your marketing? Find a juicy story about your brand. Are there any high profile individuals associated with your product? Alternatively, can you create this type of association? Remember as a marketer your goal is to lure people in.
  2. Plot driven stories. Encompassing a wider variety of options, these tales are mysteries. They lure you in and get you hooked without you realizing it. They keep you interested because you’re vested in wanting to find out what happens at the end. Well plotted with a satisfying resolution, these stories often have a main character for whom readers can root. One variant of these stories that works well is superheroes. As a marketer, how can you make your product or company into a hero? How do you use storytelling to help people remember your product? What role does your product take on while still being in line with your brand? Does the story add emotion to your product? Do readers identify with your protagonist?
  3. How-to stories. This story form encompasses fables, parables and other stories that have imbedded lessons. The main goal of these tales is to teach a lesson. These stories aim to get readers to change their behavior. Why do these stories work for marketing your product or brand? They work because they demonstrate how to do something without appearing to teach.  They’re non-threatening. How can you get your audience engaged on a topic related to your products? What’s your hook? Can the story associated with your product be easily adapted by listeners and made into their own.

Stories help make your brand and products memorable by adding emotion. They draw readers in by making them care about your protagonist.

How do you use stories in your marketing? Has it been effective? Why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Here are some related articles about storytelling.

Photo credit Flare via Flickr

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