If, at its most basic level, marketing is about inspiration and generating an emotional response; it makes sense to put storytelling at the heart of your marketing efforts.
People make sense of the world through stories. By fitting facts into a narrative sequence, we can increase our audience’s understanding, empathy, and engagement.
That is why, for journalists, the most precious commodity is a “good story”. It may be a tale about hope winning out over adversity, or the magic of coincidence, or the transformative power of love – but it is the story itself that pulls us in.
In marketing, you are also seeking a connection with your audience. So, storytelling should become a critical part of your toolkit.
Of course, that leads to the question of just how you do that. How can you weave a story into the more prosaic requirement of telling people about the services that you provide, what sets your firm apart from the competition, and how prospective clients can get in contact with you?
The origin story
One way is to use your website to tell your audience how your business was born. The origin story – often best told through video and images – can include the elements of inspiration, hard work, setbacks, and lessons learnt along the way.
The important point is that storytelling in this sense can incorporate your offering in a wider context of your values and what is fundamentally important to you.
So, the principle of an advisory firm could relate a personal story about – for example – how a relative’s investments were poorly managed, and how this experience inspired them to establish an advisory firm with values firmly at its core.
Whatever the story – the aim should be to build a bridge back from what the firm is providing to the experience of the people who built it up in the first place. What motivated you to start your business? What experiences have formed your life and values?
The case study
Of course, this origin story can serve as the foundation for other stories; perhaps including case studies telling the stories of those who have most benefitted, financially and personally, from the advice that your firm had to offer. What struggles did they go through before encountering your firm?
Case studies can be critical tools in connecting need to service to outcome. They make real the value your offering can bring to people without hype or traditional advertising.
Storytelling works best if you let people talk about their experiences in their own way. The varieties of expression and circumstances you offer stimulates people’s imaginations and gets them thinking about how you might help them.
The story as framework
By the way, it is very important that you don’t use the story as a direct selling tool. It has to be real and it has to resonate with people. The story is what draws them in.
As an analogy, think about the Bond films. These usually open with a 10-15-minute thrilling chase sequence often unrelated to the main story. But they serve as an ice-breaker. They grab our attention and they ready us for the main event.
Storytelling in marketing works like that. It puts a frame around your business – a way in for the viewer. It sparks curiosity and connection.
But ultimately, the story has to lead to a call-to-action. This can be as subtle as a button at the end of a video saying “find out more here”, or a prompt saying “how can we help you? Download our service guide”.
Stories are fundamental to human comprehension. We see it in journalism. We see it in literature. And we have seen they have a place in marketing, too.
As the great American journalist and novelist Joan Didion once said: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live”.
Are you after ideas for how Regis Media can help you to communicate your firm's core values through your marketing? Find out more and get in touch with us via our website.