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Digital Marketing

How Storytelling can fit into your Paid Social Strategy: Pt1 – Why Storytelling is the key to marketing

How Storytelling can fit into your Paid Social Strategy: Pt1 – Why Storytelling is the key to marketing

Storytelling has been a vital marketing strategy for generations, drawing in audiences by delivering a narrative structure to communicate a message and provoke action.

This multi-part blog series will cover Storytelling as a marketing tool, the modern impacts of narrative advertising, how Storytelling can be applied through Paid Social, and the impact that effective application can have on your business goals.

This month, we will be focusing on:

  • Storytelling Structures
  • Impacts of Narrative-advertising
  • Case Study

Storytelling structures

Today, Storytelling archetypes have become universally utilised to share brand awareness and communicate their brand’s purpose.

There are 7 Storytelling archetypes:

Overcoming the monster
Rags to riches
The quest
Voyage and return

The ‘Overcoming the monster’ story structure is twice as effective as the other archetypes, due to its problem and solution format. It is valuable, along with other archetypes, for creating a powerful narrative. When used correctly, these structures gain an emotional response and therefore brand advocacy.

Impacts of Narrative-advertising

Storytelling marketing can help to simplify complex ideas. Marketing is ultimately a form of indirect persuasion, and within that conversation two factors need to occur: gaining trust and communicating information. This can be complex and difficult to navigate but Storytelling can resolve that by relaying information (the relief of pain points, the purpose of a service/ product, the benefits offered, etc.) whilst providing the viewer with characters to empathise with, narratives to emotionally connect with, and a storyteller to gain trust in.

The importance of Storytelling can be seen in its rich and ancient history. Sharing and interpreting experiences predates written word, and is vital to the human experience, as well as to the survival and thrival of the human species.

Being able to connect with one another through narrative allowed humans to empathise and use imagination, whilst being engaged in another world. From an audience’s perspective, Storytelling will provoke an emotional response, as well as heighten engagement, which can be utilised to transfer information. As story listeners are more engaged than they would be when receiving information directly, they will be more likely to remember said new information. This is due to listeners being able to empathise with characters, automatically allowing the story listener to be emotionally attached to the information, and realise that there are dangers, or rewards, at stake.

For instance, instead of a pupil’s teacher telling them not to rock on their chair because they will get hurt, they will tell them that they had a previous student that rocked on their chair and received a terrible injury. Being able to empathise with another human makes the message of that information much more powerful and memorable.

Emotion can be an extremely powerful tool to utilise for marketers; when receiving a narrative piece, whether it be from advertising or entertainment, the audience’s brain activity will rise considerably, and make them more susceptible to the world, characters, and messaging relayed.

Studies suggest that feeding the right-brain with characters, locations, and storylines delivers the ‘strongest levels of consumer attention and emotion’, and therefore will drive brand loyalty.

Case Study:

Consulting firm Marketing Brainology has undertaken extensive research in this field, using eye-tracking and cerebral receptors in order to monitor viewers’ reactions and emotional responses to advertising campaigns, known as neuromarketing. Marketing Brainology focus their research on Storytelling advertising, and numerous tests have shown that being emotionally receptive will improve viewers’ perceptions of brands, increasing brand advocacy.

Consequently, whilst they are fully immersed in a narrative, and they are receiving it well, viewers will be more likely to become open-minded to the information they receive, whether that be joining a religious group, going on an uncharacteristic jog, or purchasing an item from the Storyteller.

Their video on the matter is definitely worth a watch. If you aren’t convinced that Storytelling marketing has a huge impact on audiences, you will be after this.

Let’s Wrap Up!

We know how powerful Storytelling is as a marketing tool, but understanding why is vital to coordinating marketing messaging: emotionally connecting through narrative-based advertising will inevitably increase brand advocacy over long periods of time, due to evolutionary systems in the brain.

We have also touched on a basic problem-solution structure (overcoming the monster), and how important it is to address pain-points in your advertising.

But how do you stand out from the crowd? How can your brand emotionally connect to your audience?

Next month, we’ll be delving into the application of Storytelling and how important it is to humanise your brand through this technique.

Don’t want to miss out? Sign up to The Slice if you haven’t already!

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Sam Bacon

Performance Marketing Executive

Cake stood out in the marketplace and we have been delighted at how well they have worked to our brief. Their work has combines creative excellence with technical expertise and the resulting website has enabled our business to reach a huge audience. Everyone at Cake has been a pleasure to work with.

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Sam Bacon


Sam Bacon

Senior Creative Marketing Executive