As the owner of a media agency, and someone who is tasked with helping my clients spread their word through various forms of media, I see a lot of creative come through my office. After years and years of being in this business, I realized that the one area that most of the messaging is lacking in, is true communication with the audience it’s trying to reach.
People don’t want to be sold to; they want to be related to. Advertising should make your audience feel something. It should encourage them and make them feel inspired to act. Unfortunately, most advertising does not do this.
I feel so passionate about the results of marketing through stories, that I created a new advertising vehicle that allows brands to tell their story right in the aisle of the store called Social Shelf. Brand storytelling offers the companies the chance to share facts while incorporating an emotion with a brand. What is the business and product all about? Why does that matter to the consumer you are engaging with and how is it different from all the other brands that are competing for the attention of that consumer?
This type of marketing doesn’t mean you have to develop messaging that pulls at the heart strings of your audience. You don’t have to make them cry. That isn’t the only goal for storytelling marketing. They don’t all have to be a like Hallmark movie. This type of narrative marketing can be used to communicate a message that inspires interest through humor, compassion, connection, etc.
Consumers don’t usually react to being told to buy a product. And yet, so many brands still advertise this way. They should try to relate to their consumer with a main character and have that character’s actions help generate a positive or even inspirational feeling. Saying things like, “it’s better”, “easier”, “cheaper”, and so on simply isn’t enough to make someone choose your product in today’s world. Storytelling marketing is advertising with a narrative that also includes facts and information to help increase the chances of making a sale.
With Social Shelf, I wanted brands that use the service to tap into the customers frustrations, fears and challenges while shopping. With so many competitive brands in the aisle, it can be difficult for a customer to make the right choice for themselves or to try something new. No one wants to spend money on something they aren’t familiar with and making a choice based on packaging doesn’t always get them the best results.
Companies should want the consumer to be proud of their choice and storytelling marketing can absolutely allow them to do that. It’s still a very persuasive style of marketing, but it’s one that allows the customer to feel good about the decision they have made. And that feel good purchasing behavior will have them coming back for more!