According to a recent survey by Microsoft, the average attention span is now down to 8 seconds, a mere 5 seconds longer than the ‘alleged’ memory of a goldfish (That’s actually a myth, it’s much longer than that, but that’s for another blog).
The point is, when you get your chance, you have to shoot your shot. And shoot it well to stand any chance of capturing someone’s attention for long enough to promote your brand. Otherwise, within 8 seconds they will have moved on to the next cat video on youtube or the next article on plant based dieting.
But once you have someone’s attention and they are invested in your brand, how do you keep it? Well, the answer lies in the telling of the story. Compelling, thought provoking content that evokes a deeper engagement.
Today, some of the best marketing campaigns employ a storytelling approach. This is certainly the case in the charity sector, where we regularly see organisations such as Macmillan and Oxfam curating powerful stories that draw strong emotions and engage their audiences deeply. Online, brands such as AirBnb have delivered an authenticity in their marketing that makes them a leader in the ‘storytelling marketing’ field. They don’t physically sell a product, they simply facilitate a service between hosts and guests and that’s key, both are customers. Airbnb have built their brand around their customers and that makes it easy to tell their story. The sense of community they promote, and actively encourage, allows their customers to tell their story for them through their experiences and reviews. If you have a moment, take some time to check out their website and related content online. It demonstrates the technique extremely well.
Aside from tangible examples such as Macmillan and Airbnb, our love of storytelling dates back to our childhood. From bedtime stories to show and tell in school; sharing, connecting, educating and communicating has long been a staple of the human experience. By communicating the brand through storytelling, it’s much easier to demonstrate how your products or services fit into the lives of your customers, even if what you’re selling isn’t the main focus of your campaign.
Storytelling is also an extremely powerful way of educating and learning. Why did we do what we did? What did we learn? How did it change us? What can you learn from my experience to ensure you do things differently? I can recommend the best brand of surf board, but if I tell you the story behind why I love it so much isn’t it much more compelling?
‘Can you recommend a good surf board?’
‘Sure, I find Brown’s boards to be the best for me’
The conversations flow’s a little differently when underpinned by a story:
‘Can you recommend a good surf board?’
‘Sure, I have a board by Brown’s that has incredible paddle speed and great wave entry. It’s so good, I got one each for my kids and now we get to surf every Sunday till the sun goes down and it’s time to pack up the van with the wetsuits and the dog and head home’
It’s an adhoc example for this blog, and probably not our best effort given the rushed nature, but it demonstrates the point. The brand is important, as is the product, but it’s the feeling you’re selling. It’s why you need the product and how it fit’s into your life. If you look around the office now, everything you see has a story behind it in some way, shape or form. Where it came from, how it got there. Communicating that message is the key.
Finally, with all the channels available to the consumer, storytelling is a different entry point for your brand. From snapchat, to twitter to TikTok, youtube, Instagram and facebook (depending on your audience) your target demographic are consuming content in so many different ways and formats. It’s about which channel allows you to tell your story best, and forgive the bias, we’d like to think that’s direct mail.
Thanks for taking the time to read this piece on storytelling marketing. If you need any further info or would like to talk to us about your mailing campaigns, feel free to contact us on our office number: 01189 474 888 or alternatively, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org