Everybody’s Talkin’.

Storytelling: The Key to Effective Advertising


Tell me a story. As children, the words, images and sounds in a good story captivate our imagination. As adults, we still crave good stories that stir our minds and create emotional connections. Good advertisers know this and exploit the power of a good story to drive our choice of what car to drive, beer to drink and where to take our kids on our next vacation. How do they use stories, and how can you leverage storytelling to effectively market your product or service?

Here are three ways you can incorporate storytelling into your ad campaigns

Once Upon a Time: Themed Images and Headlines
Framing the story based on your objective should be your first step. For example, if your business is selling clothes and you want to promote your summer line, you might develop a promotion based on the theme “Summer Road Trip.” Create web banners, eBlast images and other marketing pieces that feature people dressed in your summer clothes line. Through props like luggage, tour guides and cameras and perhaps a cherry-red convertible, you can convey their happiness and excitement as they prepare to hit the road. By drawing in your audience and making them feel like they’re part of the story, they can form an emotional connection to your clothes as they imagine themselves on that road trip wearing that stylish summer dress and hat.

The Power of One: First-Person Accounts
First-person accounts are stories told by satisfied customers who have used your products or services. They offer a sense of authenticity that can’t be captured through traditional ads. Real people telling potential customers why your products are worth using makes the story feel real, helps build trust and gets to the heart of what makes your product different. Here are a couple of ways you can incorporate first-person accounts:

  • A client spotlight. Sometimes called a case study, this is an article that outlines how your business served a past client, and why they were happy with your service. It should begin with an explanation of what the customer’s need was, continue with a section about how your business met their need, and conclude with you ultimately solving their problem – the happy ending! It should ideally include quotes from the client.
  • A “Hear What People Are Saying About Us” callout. This could live on your website or be shared over social media. It should highlight real quotes from satisfied customers submitted to review sites like Yelp, individually emailed to your company or gathered through customer feedback campaigns.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Static Ads
Static ads, while commonly used, often fail to connect with the audience because they cram way too much “boring” information (bullet-points of services, summaries, etc.) in a relatively small space. When you approach your ad in terms of storytelling rather than information-sharing, it’s a game-changer. This requires serious creative chops, but when it’s done right, it has the potential to go viral. Mastercard’s “Priceless” campaign is a textbook example of how well this works. With a few carefully chosen words and evocative imagery that reinforces the message, they engage the audience at an emotional level. They are shareable, bite-sized ads that get a lot of bang for the buck, and with any luck, your audience will share the ad and do the marketing for you!

Is your advertising putting your audience to sleep? Our creative experts at Design At Work are eager to give your campaigns a jolt!



Posted in B2B Marketing , B2C Marketing , Email Marketing , Marketing Ideas