Storytelling, content marketing and brands

July 20, 2012Uncategorized

Everyone loves a good story, no matter what format it comes in. Could storytelling be the first form of content marketing?

People have been telling stories since the birth of language. They are a big part of what makes us human and a way of helping us make sense of the world. Every human culture that has ever existed has told stories, right back to caveman times, and while the stories themselves may change, our fundamental desire and need for them remains.

Our love of stories is why movies are so popular, as well as books, TV shows and computer games, and yet this is only the tip of the iceberg of storytelling in our day-to-day lives. Office gossip is a form of storytelling, as are our Facebook accounts, election campaigns, newspaper reports and good advertising. Stories don’t have to be written or spoken; many of the most effective stories are told through music or art. They don’t have to be long or demand much of our time either. Poems, for instance, are incredibly efficient ways of telling a story, as is a single poignant image, a roll of the eyes or a tweet.

As a race, human beings cannot get enough of stories – we absolutely love them. We crave them. We connect with them. Which brings us around to content marketing and brands.

Many of the biggest and most effective brands have reached where they are because they have a strong story to tell. They have a strong voice and a strong narrative, and are effective at telling us about it. It doesn’t have to be a complicated story – think Nike’s catchphrase, “Just do it”. Now that’s a powerful story right there and it has instant resonance with us. Their story is a positive affirmation, telling us that we shouldn’t sit back idly and let opportunities pass us by. Their story tells us to get up and get on with things, and that anything is possible. It creates an instant connection with its audience.

And that’s essentially what it comes down to: a story is an incredibly powerful way of creating a connection. A successful story in whatever format – be it film, TV or branding – is all about creating a connection with the audience. If a brand can form a connection with its customer, then the battle is already half won.

What’s your brand’s story? And why aren’t you telling it to the world?