The Allure of Storytelling
Marketing and communication today offer a lot of impressive tools and fancy bells and whistles. The ability to target your audience with amazing precision. The opportunity to converse directly with your customers, your donors, and those you might not otherwise be able to reach – thanks to social media.
Whether or not you take advantage of the ways that technology allows us to engage with readers, it is critical to have something of substance to say once you have their attention. Something meaningful, something relevant. Otherwise, you might reach your target audience only to have them tune out, turn the page, click away.
We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.
Quote from The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall
That’s exactly why the Tigermoth team is so committed to storytelling. Stories bring a hush to the room. They have the power to transform a crowd of distracted children into a quieted group of intent listeners. They bring people together, make them lean in and want to know more. The same is true in marketing. When you incorporate (or even better, lead with) stories in your marketing and communication, you dramatically increase your chances of holding your reader’s attention.
Once you have the attention of your audience, consider the power that stories have for inspiring them to follow your call to action:
Stories go beyond the WHAT and the HOW to the sweet spot in marketing: The WHY
Have you read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Action? Sinek is a big believer that most organizations are missing a golden opportunity to differentiate themselves because they can’t get out of the rut of talking about WHAT they do rather than inspiring people with WHY they do it in the first place. “People don’t buy what you do,” Sinek says. “They buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” Tigermoth couldn’t agree more. Nothing brings this strategy to life better than storytelling.
People are hungry for meaning — and emotions are powerful.
Your audiences don’t want to be “sold to” anymore than you do. But make them feel something, and you’ll start developing loyal followers. Stories – real, engaging, authentic accounts – of people triumphing, achieving success, finding answers, making connections, living more fully make us experience all kinds of endorphin-boosting feelings. Audiences who feel good about your story will feel good about you, too.
Slice it, dice it, have it any way you like it.
You know what is fantastic about using storytelling in your marketing? Stories offer tremendous value. Once you make the initial investment of an interview, a written profile or a video, you can repurpose the story across every medium. Slice and dice it up and place it everywhere. Use a pull quote or caption in a brochure, post an update on social media, create an ad series.
Stories have staying power. They’re “sticky.”
In an industry that overwhelms readers with messages, storytelling can help you stand out by making you memorable. Contrary to hard-sell marketing, stories draw readers in and leave a lasting impression that sticks in people’s minds. Plus, readers may come across them months – even years – later and still find them to be relevant. Not to mention, they stand a much higher chance of being shared because we all love to pass along a story that entertains or inspires us.
At Tigermoth, we are genuinely interested in learning about you. We’re not going to impose a strategy just because it’s flashy or trendy. What we love is to discover what makes your brand unique and your mission so important. More often than not, it’s stories that bring those distinctions to life. When you see the creative we develop, you’ll recognize it because, simply put, it’s about you – your people, your “why,” your reason for being.
Andrea Crossley Spencer is Co-founder and Director of Creative Writing at Tigermoth Creative. Her 20-year copywriting career spans advertising agencies and higher education. A fiction writer, Andrea is represented by Maria Carvainis Agency. She teaches writing workshops to young writers in local schools.