Storytelling is a universal language that spans culture and generation.

Without a story, a marketing campaign simply cannot garner people’s attention, rouse them to passionate engagement, and ultimately induce them to behave in such a way that reflects their own desire to change themselves or their world.

This can be an incredibly complex effort – but at the same time, it’s based on very simple principles.

Conflict to Resolution

Stories have some type of character who has some kind of problem or obstacle in their life. The character looks to solve this troubling issue. Nearly all stories have some form of problem-to-solution path.

In order to command the audience’s attention, a marketing campaign has to stay within the defined language and structure of the common story.

Social media has become an evolution in the art of storytelling. People connect, follow others, and engage in a continuously updated narrative centered around a common ground and/or mutual interest.

Everyone who has ever lived and died before us, along with the 7 billion or so that presently live today… each carry a unique narrative. Everyone was born into a running storyline that goes back thousands of years. We each will live a life that no one else will, and will all end up with a unique circumstance surrounding our departure.

All of humankind is reliant upon storytelling as the primary foundation and context by which we each exist. We define our world and context, relate our culture and heritage… translate value and knowledge between each other. We’re connected through time with stories that surround our lives with a primal, profound narrative.

Understanding the impact of storytelling upon our own lives – as well as the impact upon our own marketing efforts is a crucial part of understanding how to leverage digital marketing and social media platforms.

Customer Journey

When developing a marketing campaign, the customer journey must become the storytelling narrative. We’re trying to expose a potential customer to the benefits of buying our product or service in the context of the value they’re getting, as well as the pain they’re avoiding.

By creating an intentional narrative, along with the specific points of engagement, we can lead a customer towards buying into the future state. Leaving their comfortable status quo, they’re taking the next steps in the journey towards transformation. Awakening to the potential, leaving the status quo, and embracing the anticipated result of the promised value.

If one examines successful sales pitches, the successful, experienced sales person casts a story narrative in such a way that brings the prospective customer to the decision point of buying – aka closing the sale.

Content Marketing

In the digital marketing era, successful storytelling is the goal of a content marketing program.

Nurturing is the drip-fed basis by which a prospective customer interacts and engages, ideally moving forward towards buying the product or service.

The proverbial “Don Drapers” of marketing… the genius creative directors or copywriters – they understand how to connect the benefits of a product or service directly to the emotional triggers within the storyline.

These triggers are the commitments that move the prospect towards buying.

How do you intentionally develop your own storyline around the customer and the customer’s journey?

 

Michael Hiles

GenX writer, speaker, mentor, C-level digital, & tech business guy. Sold my first website project in 1994. The rest is history. Serial entrepreneur. I work with lots of startups as managing director of Founder Institute Cincinnati. Bourbon, coffee, Legos, things that explode. Husband & daddy.

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