Did you watch the BAFTAs on Sunday evening? We switched on the moment Sir Lenny Henry approached the stage to receive the special award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to television.
Well-deserved in my opinion.
His acceptance speech was very moving and reflective of a determined man genuinely worthy of this award. He talked about British television being better than it has ever been and the statement “I am really struck by the storytelling in this country” hit home.
I believe that British talent is behind some of the greatest television globally. Connecting people with new stories that win hearts and minds is no easy task and I think we all take it for granted. I personally applaud the on-screen entertainment industry for perpetually producing fresh viewing that makes us switch-on and tune-in (and hit the series link).
We are all captivated by a powerful story, as humans we love stories! Taking your audience on a journey and building a connection with a story creates chemistry, stimulates thought, provokes influence and inspires action. It has a role in every walk of life, particularly in business and marketing.
Why? Because if you can’t deliver a story, how can you make your offering appeal to your audience?
Once upon a time, in a land that is very much here and now… storytelling will bring your brand personality to life, hit the emotional chord with your audience and get them hooked, coming back for more like some of these UK top storytelling brands.
This is something we Marketers work so hard to achieve.
Storytelling is an ancient art and by no means a novelty to any of us. But do you use it in your marketing? You can apply it to all forms of content whether words, imagery, animation or video, and all communication channels.
Here’s a few thoughts to get you started:
- Relate to your audience: Your audience is absolutely key. It’s time to stop the me me me and start the you you you. Understand your “personas”, explore who they are, what they do, what they care about, their needs, priorities and challenges, what types of stories appeal to them and so on.
- Make it purposeful: How do you want your audience to think, feel, act or behave after they have read, watched or listened to your story? What are you trying to achieve and what is your message? Connect the stories you tell to the benefits of your offering or aspects of your expertise (your content needs strategic relevance). How do you hold interest and bring energy to it?
Collaborate your audience needs and your purpose in a form of storytelling that goes far above and beyond – be creative and aspirational.
- Make it useful: How do you create stories that will stimulate them, nurture them? What does your audience value, what do they want to hear about, what will they want to share? Can you tell them something new, helping them to solve their problems, offer a different perspective to a challenge or help them to think about a topic differently? Aim to educate, inform and influence.
- Spark emotion: Emotion has an incredibly influential role in marketing. It is a scientifically proven that our brains are wired to connect with stories and we primarily use emotion before information in decision making: “Facts tell. Stories sell.” Appeal to the senses, spark the imagination, make it relatable – knowing your audience will help you to tackle this. There are many models around story structure, but start with Freytag’s pyramid which is simple to apply and quite effective, also check out the graphic below which illustrates storytelling Ted style.
I hope that exploring these questions will inspire you to use storytelling to bring your brand to life, engage with your audience and live happily ever after.
Who do you think is the best at marketing storytelling? Have you tried to put it into practice yourself and how did you get on?
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