Tell me a story...

Storytelling in marketing goes a long way in building brands
Tell me a story...

We all love stories! Stories provide context, stimulate imagination, and inspire in myriad ways. Stories often have the power to stir up emotions, challenge our thinking, make us act and or take decisions.

Storytelling in marketing:

Brands, both B2C and B2B are discovering and reaping the benefits of storytelling as a powerful medium to connect with their target audience and build an identity that resonates with their ‘why’ – the reason why they are in the business.

In B2B campaigns, marketers often tend to focus deeply into the technology and marketing of the features and benefits which turns out to be that fastest way to lose the audience attention.

Storytelling for marketing is about engaging the audience in your messaging and letting them experience your brand through their own perception. There are numerous examples of great stories in marketing. With or without our knowledge, these ‘stories’ have led us to believe in the narrative, buy in to the philosophy and act upon it – either by buying a product/service and/or by contributing to the brand’s mind and heart share.

Storytelling does sound like a great marketing tool, that is easy to design and implement. It isn’t! For storytelling to be successful and relevant to business goals, it requires a fair amount of strategy, research, and experience. As a marketer, one must also be ready for failure and for making necessary changes to the narrative.

If you are considering story telling as a marketing tool for your business, here are some pointers and examples of how story telling can work for you:

Package technical information in a story:

In some B2B business where content is mainly technical and considered boring, there’s always limited scope to weave a story, leave alone execute it! There are various examples of how brands have packaged information in engaging narratives. A recent example from a brand that has created an impression in my mind, is the Singapore Airlines in-flight safety video. Although it's a B2C example, the topic itself is presented through sublime storytelling.

Why it worked: A regular in-flight safety demonstration by cabin crew is replaced by a video on the in-flight entertainment screen. This video showcases landmarks in Singapore, while a voiceover narrates the usual safety guidelines in the most unique manner, showcasing cultural nuances, scenes from the city and brilliant editing that seamlessly flows through the narrative. It also acts as a video to promote local tourism, not to mention the soft background music that stays as an earworm.

Watch the video: New In-flight Safety Video | Singapore Airlines - Bing video

Humanizing the audience:

Ideating and producing visually striking content can be difficult and time consuming. Engaging with individuals who are also B2B buyers is also a challenge as one needs to look for cues and common attributes. 

In the iconic Philip’s campaign of the ‘Longest Night’, it clearly does not focus on Philips’ products, staff, or even its customers. A fisherman, the hero of the story isn’t the primary target for Philips. The campaign objective of communicating value through a story featuring the fisherman, while the real target being the healthcare provider who can treat the 'hero's'  ailment using Phillips' medical technologies, manages to strike the right chord.

Why it’s good: It is a brilliant campaign, visually striking, emotionally stirring and addresses the goals of their B2B audience – better healthcare through Phillips!

Watch the video: (86) The Longest Night | Presented by Philips - YouTube

User generated story telling:

With the widespread adoption of social media channels, user generated content is one of the most effective ways to tell your brand story. It offers an endorsed view of your products or solutions and helps customers and prospects make an informed decision based on stories shared by people who are buying from you.

User-generated content examples for B2B companies can take various forms - Posts, comments and shares on social media, customer testimonials in company blogs or videos, reviews on third-party platforms and case studies and customer success.

Hubspot is one such example of how a CRM tool-built thought leadership around inbound marketing.

Why it’s good: Hubspot’s clients love to share about their experience with and on Hubspot. Hubspot offers marketers the exact tool they needed and clients were just simply thrilled to talk about their success.

Learn more: How HubSpot Grew Online Customer Reviews By 157%

In Summary: Every brand can potentially build a great story. Before we embark on a story telling journey, it is important to address a few questions – the ‘why’ or the motivation behind your brand? What is the brand trying to achieve and what problems would it solve? Would the customer relate to the story? Is the message clear and compelling enough?

Finally, the story should have a beginning, a mid-point, and an end with consistent messaging. Marketers need to be cognizant of that the fact that stories must also move in the direction of change as and when businesses evolve, while the core of the brand is a constant.


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Go to the profile of Nicole Verardi
15 days ago

Love the linked examples here, @Monisha Devaiah. Thanks for sharing. 

Go to the profile of Lisa Matthews, CTS
14 days ago

Those really are powerful examples. Thanks so much, @Monisha Devaiah

Go to the profile of Joey Davis
7 days ago

Hooking your readers with a relatable story before hitting them with your marketing message is gold! Have you ever heard a real successful politician speak? They use this exact technique.