Storytelling: A Powerful Marketing Tool

“Those who tell the stories rule the world.” 

A few years ago, I saw this Indian proverb as it was painted on the office wall of Shane Snow, Co-Founder and former Chief Creative Officer of Contently and noted author and speaker. I’m a natural storyteller, so the proverb resonated with me. There’s a reason (many reasons, actually) stories are a powerful marketing tool today. 

  • Humans are wired for storytelling. As noted by Jennifer Aaker, Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business, stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts or figures alone. “Stories are an effective tool to advocate for your ideas, especially when you can weave facts and figures into your story,” she shared.
  • Effective storytelling engages people, helping them to get to know and trust your brand. When people are emotionally invested in you or your story, they’re more likely to be open to what you have to say. 
  • Stories can also influence how people feel, prompting them to act or behave in certain ways. 

Recently, I attended a Court Appointed Special Advocates fundraiser breakfast. The event raised money by selling tickets and with a silent and live dessert auction. When I arrived, I could tell it was running smoothly, and people were being generous with donations from the beginning. But, when a young girl spoke to the audience of a couple hundred people about her personal adoption story and how her advocate helped her through the entire journey, people felt compelled to do more. After the speakers, someone got up and told the crowd in an unprecedented, unscripted speech that the organization needed $20,000 more to reach its goals and continue helping abused and neglected children just like the child who had spoken. A local business offered to match $10,000, and within minutes, the other $10,000 was raised — and this was from people who had already paid for their meal and purchased desserts. It was the story that inspired people to take action. While guests already believed in the organization and cause (also important!), which is what brought them there in the first place, the real life story added a powerful emotional connection that drove people to action.

What stories can you tell about your brand? (Some Inspiration)

There are plenty of questions you can ask to help define your story. Personal experiences are often a great starting point. 

  • What sets your brand apart from the rest? 
  • How was your company born? 
  • How have you overcome challenges and found success? 
    How have others been successful in using your product or service? 
  • Have you learned something new? How can others learn (or re-learn) what you have discovered?

If you need help telling your brand's story, contact us today!

Karen Butterfield is an award-winning communications professional specializing in B2B and B2C content creation, copywriting, as well as internal and external correspondence. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Webster University, St. Louis, in 2010 and then served in progressive roles at a community newspaper and publishing company. During her tenure as a reporter and editor, she earned more than a dozen state awards for writing and photography.