Marketing Through Storytelling

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By Alana Humphreys

November, 2023

While discounts, promotions, and eye-catching graphics may draw attention and sell products, it’s storytelling that can build a relationship to last a lifetime.
Storytelling, a timeless means of human communication, has been used to transmit cultural values, share personal experiences, and stir emotions, leaving a lasting impact. In today’s media landscape, where countless of ads vie for attention, the challenge lies in breaking through the clutter. Storytelling serves as the bridge to connect brands with consumers’ emotions, to build meaningful connections and develop a long-lasting impression.

Building Trust through storytelling.

Brand trust hinges on a consumer’s belief in a brands ability to deliver on their promises. The degree of trust is significantly influenced by how closely the brand aligns with the values it proclaims to have. This is where storytelling comes into play, offering an additional avenue for brands to express their identity and values. It opens the floor for consumers to understand the underlying reasons for a brands values and beliefs.
When a brand truly listens to and cares for its customers, it paves the way for trust to flourish, nurturing long-term relationships. For storytelling to be successful brands must follow a structured narrative. This narrative should revolve around the brands target audience, explain the problem the brand will solve, and express the core elements of the brands culture. These criteria can allow a brand to build and develop an emotional and trusting connection with their target audience. Demonstrating a deep understanding of their audience’s needs not only makes customers feel heard and valued but also fosters that sense of trust over time.

Feels Like Home

One company who has been utilising storytelling marketing exceptionally well is Qantas, notably through their “Feels Like Home” campaign. This campaign features real Australians and real Qantas employee experiences during their services, backed by Randy Newman’s “Feels Like Home”, sung by Australian singer Martha Marlow.

Qantas captures a heartfelt reunion that exudes authenticity, allowing viewers to empathise as if it were their own family. These videos are textbook examples of focusing on the consumer needs and providing a solution to their problems. In each commercial, the family members are the focus. Qantas is not verbally mentioned at all and is instead only captured as the medium in which enables the reunion to occur.
As viewers empathise with the story unfolding in front of them, the iconic Qantas branding (bold red plane tail, logo placement, boarding tickets) to support brand recognition. Qantas has tapped into their target audiences longing to reconnect with loved ones through travel. This emotional connection subconsciously nurtures and builds trust in the brand, allowing Qantas to cut through the market as industry leaders.

The Evidence

Numerous studies have been dedicated to understanding and identifying how storytelling can impact an audience’s emotions and opinions with the following findings standing out:  

  • In 2023, an Edelman survey found that 71% of consumers say that it is more important to trust the brands they buy/use today than in the past.  
  • In 2019, Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report highlighted that 81% of consumers said they must trust the brand to do what is right to consider buying.  
  • In 2015, Headstream discovered that 55% of people would consider buying a bran din the future if they really loved a story.  
  • In 2019, OneSpot found that 92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story. 

 

Storytelling stands as one of the most powerful tools in allowing your brand to stand out. This is due to its ability to resonate deeply with target audiences. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that the stories should revolve around the consumer and the challenges the brand can resolve for them, rather than fixating on the brand or product itself. Marketing through storytelling makes a brand more relatable, creates an emotional connection, and motivates your audience to act.
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