In a world where every business competes to capture and keep a potential customer’s attention, finding ways to stand out in your marketing is critical. Human-driven storytelling marketing is one of the most effective ways to stand out.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s annual B2B Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, content marketing — like human-driven storytelling — continues to be one of the best ways to create brand awareness, build and increase credibility and trust, and educate audiences.
If you’re unfamiliar with storytelling marketing campaigns, the focus is on using stories to create a deeper connection with your audience. With the magic of storytelling, you can evoke emotions and create narratives that speak to the reader or viewer.
Unlike traditional marketing campaigns, human-driven storytelling is less about promoting features or benefits and more about the human experience. As a company, you can use this approach to promote shared values and encourage customers to build long-lasting relationships with your business.
In this blog post, we’re diving into everything you need to know about human-driven storytelling marketing, including why you should focus on it, what the key benefits are, and more.
Why Focus on Human-Driven Storytelling Marketing?
Everyone loves a great story, don’t they?
Great storytelling draws us in and will stick with us for a long time. Most importantly, stories are one of the most impactful ways we connect with each other.
As a business, human-driven storytelling campaigns are an opportunity to share compelling and relatable stories. When people connect with the stories they hear, they feel understood. They feel seen. And as a company, you want your customers to know that you genuinely care about their needs.
When we use storytelling to evoke these feelings, we build relationships with the people we want to be loyal to our brands.
Human-driven storytelling marketing isn’t all about telling your brand story. It’s about sharing the stories of your customers, employees, and anyone else with a great story.
The idea is that people want to hear from other people — real people who’ve had experiences with your brand. Sharing these experiences helps foster a stronger sense of community and belonging with the people engaging with your brand.
People love to see themselves reflected in the brands they choose to do business with, so leveraging storytelling marketing can be an effective way to increase the likelihood that someone will engage with your company and stick around for the long haul.
Today, authenticity and transparency are also things people crave from brands. They want to know your brand’s values and see them in action.
Trust is a cornerstone of every strong relationship, whether business or personal. Human-driven storytelling can help build credibility and show a commitment to meeting the needs of the customer, which in turn will make people more likely to choose you instead of a competitor.
Storytelling marketing campaigns create emotional impact.
As a brand, you should want to inspire your audience, and stories are a way of doing this. Sharing human-driven stories helps create an emotional connection and you can further build that brand loyalty.
Bottom line? Loyal customers are some of your best advocates, so focusing on human-driven storytelling that helps them feel more connected with you on a deeper level can be a wise investment.
Human-Driven Storytelling Marketing: How Does It Work?
Human-driven storytelling marketing focuses on crafting a narrative through common storytelling techniques —character development, conflict, resolution, and more.
There are four common types of stories used for this:
While the subject matter of each type of story will vary, the goal of each type is the same: to be engaging and memorable.
What makes human-driven storytelling different from other marketing strategies is it can be a concise way to share complex ideas.
Let’s say you operate a manufacturing company. Explaining exactly what happens on a particular product line may be challenging or too technical for your average customer to understand. However, by wrapping it up in a story, using real people, you can educate customers in a relatable way.
Whether your goal is to extoll the virtues of a particular product or service, or you want to share your company’s origin story, human-driven storytelling marketing provides a framework to share in a way that resonates with your customers AND inspires them to take action.
As humans, we often see ourselves in other people. Telling stories highlights the wins and losses, the highs and lows, or the struggles and triumphs, invoking our empathy and understanding. This helps us feel a connection. And when people feel more connected to your brand, they’re much more likely to purchase from you.
Finally, if you’re wondering how sharing your company’s values via storytelling marketing can resonate with potential buyers, keep this in mind:
According to the Ipsos Global Trends 2021, seven out of ten people surveyed globally shared that they tend to purchase brands that reflect their values.
How to Get Started with Human-Driven Storytelling Marketing
Now that we’ve covered why human-driven storytelling marketing is a great strategy, let’s talk a bit about the how.
Here at Marketing2Connect, we recommend businesses that are new to this strategy opt to focus on customer stories first.
Why? Your real customers telling real stories will likely have the biggest impact on someone considering using your products or services.
However, whatever type of storytelling you decide to tackle, here are six steps to help you get started.
#1. Define Your Purpose and Goals
Like every other type of campaign that you decide to run, storytelling marketing starts with defining your purpose and goals.
Who is your target audience? What is the message that you want the story to convey? What action do you want them to take after they read or watch your story? You want to ensure you’re clear on the focus and how it will help meet your goals.
#2. Find the Right Story
Customer-centric stories are a great place to start if you’re new to human-driven storytelling marketing. So, what’s the story you’d like to tell? Why will that story resonate with your target audience? How does it align with your goals?
Think about your customers — is there a particular project or event that would make for a great story? If you don’t have any customer-centric stories you think would work, what kind of human-driven story can you tell about your brand?
#3. Choose Your Starring Characters
At the heart of every great story are your characters. You want your characters to represent your target audience and feel relatable. Focusing on real people (versus fictional characters) will make your stories more compelling and authentic.
#4. Find Your Authentic Angle
The best human-driven storytelling marketing campaigns resonate with your audience because they feel real and authentic.
Honesty and transparency go a long way towards building customer confidence, so avoid embellishing or over-exaggerating — especially if your story is highlighting results they got from your product or service. If your story feels fake, not only will it turn people off, but it can damage the credibility of your brand.
#5. Don’t Forget the Visual Elements
Humans are visual creatures, so just because you may be using the written word to share your storytelling marketing doesn’t mean you don’t need to make it look appealing. Including visual elements can enhance your storytelling.
Videos, photos, illustrations, and other visual aids can make your storytelling even more impactful and memorable.
#6. Share Your Story Far and Wide
There’s no point in putting in the effort to start a human-driven storytelling marketing campaign unless you plan to promote it. And that doesn’t mean sharing it one time and forgetting about it.
Put together a promotion plan before you write your stories so that when they’re ready, you know exactly what to do with them. Your plan should include more than one medium for sharing — social media, your website, or customer newsletters are all great places to disseminate your story. And don’t forget to make it shareable so others can pass it along as well!
Get the Support You Need with Human-Driven Storytelling Marketing
As you can see from what we covered above, if you’re looking for ways to create a deeper connection with your audience, storytelling marketing campaigns can be a powerful tool.
By sharing stories that are authentic and relatable and showcasing the experiences and values of real people — both within your customer base and your company — you can continue building trust and brand loyalty.
Are you looking for some help creating human-driven storytelling marketing campaigns?
Marketing2Connect would love to help. Please contact us to get started.