1. STORYTELLING MAKES AUDIENCES INHERENTLY MORE RECEPTIVE.
As long as humans have been around, they’ve been communicating. And as long as they’ve been communicating, they’ve told (or at the very least, mimed) stories to do so. We all tell stories every day, about what we’ve been doing or what someone else did– be they our friend, our great-grandfather, or a fictional character in our favorite series.
In the words of James Bryan Smith, “We are storied creatures. Our stories help us to navigate the world, to understand right and wrong, and to provide meaning.”
Storytelling in marketing naturally draws someone’s attention far more than a list of facts or principles. People can see through a sales pitch a mile away, and they’ll move on from it in a heartbeat. But even if they’re not interested in your product, they just might stick around if you’re telling an interesting story about it.
2. STORYTELLING COMMUNICATES MEANING MORE EFFECTIVELY.
Now don’t get us wrong – principles are great when you want to make a crystal-clear point (like in this blog). But stories still provide context around that point.
Parents with dishonest children use the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, for example, to teach their kids not to tell lies.
But why would storytelling in marketing be so crucial for manufacturers specifically?
B2B industrial companies often perform really complex jobs, and it’s hard to describe what they do without using a lot of jargon or getting into the weeds.
Storytelling gets back to the heart and purpose behind why they’re in business in the first place.
A past client of Optimum Productions wanted a video about their company, but they struggled because they felt that logistics and power didn’t seem all that exciting. “We just move stuff around on trucks. We own big yards of gigantic pipes. It’s not that flashy.”
“But what would happen if you weren’t doing that?” we proffered. “You actually help to bring power to the world! People rely on power for everything. Everything!”
Workers from the company remarked afterwards that they could finally explain to their families what they do for a living. Furthermore, they were able to be proud of what they do, because now they recognized the significance of it.
3. TELL THE STORIES OF YOUR CLIENTS MORE THAN YOURSELF.
Another key part of storytelling in marketing is to remember who your audience is. Why? You always need to “read the room.” You won’t get a good response to a joke about economics if you’re telling it to a room of second-graders.
Your target audience needs a main character they can relate to– and that means you shouldn’t be the main character of all your stories.
Not everyone on LinkedIn is going to stop scrolling because “Ooh look, here’s a story of how a man back in 1949 started his own warehouse management firm!”
Instead, tell the stories of people who have the same pains and struggles as your audience: your clients. Tell the story of how your clients wanted to be someone’s hero, and you helped to make that happen.
Kobalt Tools uses storytelling exceedingly well in a series focused on their customers: promoting the many impressive accomplishments of people of all industries.
And think about it: all the examples in this blog? They’re stories. When we want to market ourselves, we don’t tell people about what we do. We tell them about what our clients needed, and how we helped them to achieve their goals.
Storytelling in marketing doesn’t promote products: it promotes results.
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