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Breaking Through the Noise: Storytelling

I have an uncle who is the best at telling jokes.  The reason he’s the best is that you never see the joke coming.  He sets them up with a long, sometimes elaborate, intro that sounds like just another part of his day.  These set-ups sometimes take a full five minutes to lead you down a path.  Then out of nowhere…POW… he hits you with the punchline. It’s only then that you realize that you’ve been fooled into listening to a story and a not factual recount of his day.  But that is what makes them so good.   


Just like the best jokes don’t feel like jokes, the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.  Seth Godin’s book titled 'All Marketers Are Liars' - a provocative title that grabs any marketer's attention - explains that successful marketing is about telling compelling stories.  He’s right.  To stand out in a crowded media world, you need great storytelling.  It requires insight, creativity, and a deep understanding of consumer behavior. But the real key to this process is the ability to craft messages that not only reach but resonate with target audiences. Effective ads often leverage a good story, emotional engagement, and use clear calls to action.


For instance, Apple consistently creates ads that tell a story or evoke emotion, connecting with consumers on a personal level that goes beyond the technical specifications of their products and creates a tribe of loyalists. Another example is Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign, which focuses on uplifting messages and real-life stories to challenge beauty stereotypes, generating widespread engagement and loyalty.


What are some keys to successful storytelling?  We’re glad you asked. 


Embrace Storytelling:  Remember to tell stories and don’t fall into the trap of listing features, benefits, and prices.  Consumers don’t care about those things more than you think.  They don’t care how long you have been in business or how many awards you have won.  And, consumers really don’t like doing math.  Including “35% off of $375” may be a strong value proposition but is not compelling.  “Saving you money to do more things you like.” is better.  Craft your ads around a narrative that captures the essence of your brand and connects emotionally with your audience. Stories make your brand more relatable and memorable.


Focus on Visual Impact: We have all heard that a picture can tell 1,000 stories.  Remember this when it comes to your messaging.  Utilize strong, consistent visuals that grab attention and convey your message quickly. People respond to images faster than text, so use high-quality photos or unique graphics to make a visual statement. This strategy is especially important in environments where ads are skimmed rather than read thoroughly.


Leverage User-Generated Content: Consumers like to hear stories from other consumers.  Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand. This not only provides authenticity to your advertising but also builds community around your products or services. Highlighting real stories and testimonials can significantly enhance the trust and relatability of your brand.


Most companies know their research, they know their targets, and they may even know the marketing channels that work best, but telling a good story???  That’s where they hit a roadblock.  You’re not alone if this sounds like your company.  Hopefully, these tips will help.    


Need more guidance? Click HERE to connect with our Envision team.

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