Humans are social creatures. Communication has been the key to survival and growth since the birth of mankind; our need to tell others what we’re thinking and feeling has led to the evolution of the societies we live in today. Sharing ideas and opinions isn’t just limited to small groups — modern societies have the desire to communicate with the rest of the world as well. Whether the Lucky Strikes posters of ‘healthy cigarettes’ in 1950s or the latest Slice campaign with Katrina Kaif eating mangoes on-screen — it’s always been about unfolding a story in a way that sells.
Today, marketers are moving away from a formal communication style and adding a more personal touch to their campaigns. It’s more than selling a product or service — you offer a necessity that’s been missing from the customer’s daily routine. They need to look at it and say, “Yes, that’s exactly what was lacking in my life!” Today, it’s about giving your clients an experience that lasts a lifetime.
If you think about it, is anyone really selling a product anymore? Cafes are selling grandma’s recipes, Kingfisher is advertising a good time, Mahindra is promoting family road trips. Even Vimal Paan Masala is marketing sophistication in their gutkas. It’s crucial to understand your target group and tap into their psyche by moving the attention away from your product. Remember, they are the heroes of your story — and this is where good storytelling comes in. It’s the easiest route to connect with and make an impact on your patrons. It’s also the smoothest way to turn a passer-by into a lead, a lead into a prospective customer, and, finally, a casual buyer into a loyal advocate. For example, MDH Spices has been promoting the ‘Hum saath saath hain‘ story for over 50 years now, long before storytelling was seen as an effective approach in marketing and advertising. They understood their audience well enough to know that people react and relate to culture more than materialism, creating a steadfast customer base that has lasted them many decades now.
Storytelling may seem a little old school in the 21st century — and it is. That’s exactly what makes it so powerful. The charm of nostalgia is definitely a persuasive one. Sure, data and facts can convince people, but they don’t inspire them to act. To do that, you need to swaddle your vision in a story that ignites the mind and galvanizes the heart. When facts and data are combined with a compelling story, you will be able to hold the the consumer’s attention. Why? Because purchases are made with both logic and emotions at play. When you get customers to connect with your stories and ideologies, you make them believe that they’re part of the same journey.
Before you start telling your story, decide who you want to tell it to. Once you’ve defined your viewership, develop the appropriate tonality and determine the platforms. For example, if you’re trying to connect with millennials, Instagram or Snapchat would be the ideal channels. However, if your audience isn’t as tech-savvy, there are other ways to reach out to people. It can be through newsletters, videos, photo series, emailers, articles, and infographics, or you could also connect with them through events, trade shows, seminars, and workshops — your options are endless!
Once you’ve understood who your clientele is and how you want to get your story across, you’re pretty much good to go. A narrative is definitely a good way to achieve your brand’s goals. From launching products and increasing sales to introducing brand identities and tweaking them, storytelling can be your strongest weapon. But it’s important not to get carried away. Do not overstate. Like Albert Camus said, “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” So stick to realistic scenarios and make your story as detailed as possible. And what is rational for your corporation will be defined by what your final goal is.
Stories make customers visualize your product in their everyday lifestyle. That little tear down his face, the sound of her laughter, the clenching of their fists; the wide-eyed curiosity, the nail-biting fear and, finally, the reassuring sigh. Weave a glorious tale that’ll leave your patrons speechless and create a void that only your establishment can fulfill.