5 Steps for Successful Storytelling
Marketing has been evolving in the way it presents communication and sales tools and strategies. Due to the tremendous growth of the competition in many industries, companies and brands have increasingly adopted marketing strategies that convey a unique and non-transferable identity in their communication. Storytelling has revolutionized the construction of that self-identity, playing a crucial role in the communication success of brands and companies. And this concept is nothing more, nothing less than the ability to communicate thoughts, ideas, and facts through a fluid, relevant and cohesive narrative.
Developing the ability to tell a good story can help brands and companies connect with their customers in an amazing way. These stories are used to bring a brand to life and create an affective relationship with the consumer. To create a narrative for the brand’s history means enhancing the way your business came about. The practice of telling a good story, that is, a relevant one, should be able to hold the attention of the listener – wherever he/she may be – and, preferably, it should be meaningful in some way, so that the story stays in his/her memory. The narrative should be well-articulated, with beginning, middle and end, and it should somehow catch the audience’s attention, whether through drama, tragedy, comedy or action.
Thus, to create relevant content for the customers, and incorporate it into the marketing strategy, means to create the brand’s own history. It is a way of building a strong relationship with the customers and quickly expand the community of the brand or company. In an age of relationships, it is crucial to use Storytelling and create emotional bonds with the customers.
Therefore, Storytelling is becoming mandatory for any good digital marketing content strategy. But although many brands and companies are adopting Storytelling, the truth is that very few are doing it efficiently. Storytelling takes time, patience and experience, and it is not possible to use it lightly without making mistakes that may have dire repercussions to the brand.
Building a good story is something that demands a great deal of attention. First of all, when creating it, we need consider positioning as the main factor that will influence the whole story. Along with positioning, there are values that will help create an approach to the customer.
Here are some steps that can help marketing managers develop a cohesive and effective Storytelling.
5 Steps for Storytelling
#1 Preliminary Study
Before creating your company’s or brand’s Storytelling, you must determine a set of information, which can be defined by the following order: company/brand (positioning), customers (segmentation) and goals.
First, it is necessary to know the company/brand and, above all, their positioning or the positioning they wish to attain. Collecting all of this information will be vital to establish the guiding thread of the story. At this stage, it is necessary to get to know the entire market environment, collect and record that information.
Now, let’s talk about the most critical asset: the customer. If you know the segment, that is, the company/brand type of customer, their needs and insights, it will be much easier to establish not only the story you want to tell but also the content you want to share. After obtaining this information, one must find the best tools and channels to communicate with the customer. At this stage, the company/brand should be able to answer the following questions: (1) Which are the main social networks for the business?; (2) What content should be produced?; (3) Which are the formats of that content?; (4) Which are the chosen keywords?; (5) What is the style and frequency of the marketing emails?; (6) Which sponsored links should be used?; and (7) What are the attributes of a campaign, for example, in Google Ads or Facebook Ads? After answering all of the questions, it is possible to move forward to the next step: goals.
It is not possible to build a marketing campaign or strategy without developing measurable goals, which allow the company/brand to evaluate their performance and, if necessary, make improvements over time. Therefore, before proceeding with the Storytelling’s development, it is necessary to answer the following questions: (1) What do you want to tell?; (2) Who do you want to tell it to?; (3) Why do you want to tell it?; (4) Where do you want to tell it? (5) What is the main goal?; (6) How many leads do you intend to gain?; (7) How many leads do you want to convert into actual customers?; (8) What is the expected sales volume?; (9) How many visits to the website and/or social networks?; (10) others. All these goals are a reference, but each company/brand should adapt them to what makes more sense in a particular business area.
#2- Developing the Briefing
There is no perfect and infallible formula to create a good story, but we know that a good story is measured by the impact it has on people, and not because it fulfils a list of requirements. All of the goals defined in the previous step should be a part of the briefing used to create the story.
In any case, as a focal point, one must remember that the stories are created by people for people, and it is not possible to imagine the viewer as a shapeless character, without a personality. Nowadays, even before building the story, many brands and companies create a “persona” to live that story. It’s a kind of imaginary character that helps the process of producing a story guide as if the story had to be told to that “persona”. We also know that telling a story is not enough. It should be kept in mind what is the message you want to convey even before outlining the strategy.
#3- Starting the introduction
The introduction is a key element in the story’s structure. It is when you pinpoint the character, the location, the environment and the situation in which he stands before “something” happens. Here, the process of creating empathy in your audience or, in this case, in the potential customers begins. At this stage, it is vital to create a strong connection because relating to the character will get your viewer (customer) interested in your story and continue paying attention to what is being communicated.
#4- Defining the problem
The presentation of the problem should follow the introduction because presenting it will ensure that curiosity acts as a linking element between the audience and the story. This problem can be a range of different things, from a person’s daily life to the existence of less probable circumstances. But, regardless of the story we want to tell, the problem should create empathy, and the audience should relate to the story, which is why it is crucial for the company/brand to know for whom they are communicating. In conclusion, we should identify the problem of the potential customer and create a story that conveys the way a company/brand will solve it, thus establishing an instant identification between the potential customer and the product/service, which the company/brand is presenting.
#5 – Offering help
We have now reached the moment that will help companies/brands to fulfil their goal. It is the moment we introduce the brand/company as the big modifying agent that will help your “persona” to solve the problem, which before seemed impossible to figure out.
Following these 5 steps, that is, know the customer, identify their problem/need and show them the solution through a story with which they can relate and create empathy, will undoubtedly result in a good marketing strategy.
MA Marketing Course Leader
LSDM – London School of Design and Marketing