Liven Sales with Digital Storytelling

marketing environments, marketing storytelling, tips

Storytelling Engages Consumers in a Brand

Once a product becomes a household name, the brand has momentum to carry it for a long time. We have seen it millions of times with brands like Lucky Strike, Marlboro, Nike, Heinz, Right Guard, and Old Spice. But name brands eventually become passé. Ivory Snow, Schweppes, and Dove are among the many that have been able to revitalize their images.

Powerful marketing campaigns can lose their impact and effectiveness. Companies are scrambling for new content to entice and retain audiences, i.e., customers. Here are some tips and examples of storytelling to enliven and stimulate customer connections, making the content entertaining, informative, and effective.

Big Guys Telling Stories

For instance, Coke changed the heading of its website’s home page to Coca Cola Journey. In the Sustainability section, there are stories about company priorities and new sourcing of ingredients, including “From Farm to Market,” and company involvement in Afghanistan and Nepal. Other stories focus on “Women,” “Water,” and “Inspiring Happier, Healthier Lives,” plus another half-dozen stories sans coupons and sales pitches.

Tobias Brockow reviews sites on, and points out that this is the new approach to content and publishing marketing. Nike tells the fantasy story of football players battling clones taking over the game. A South African phone company site has a story about an illiterate father who enrolls in classes to be able to read his son’s bestsellers. Dove tells of a soldier reunited with his family, and Guinness has a commercial about wheelchair-bound basketball players.

Storytelling content and publishing on the Internet have pitfalls unique to the world of commerce and industry marketing. Land’s End 2016 catalogue included a cover story featuring author and activist Gloria Steinem and tales about her efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. In addition, Land’s End promised to donate $3 to the Fund for Women’s Equality depending on customer sales. Anti-abortionists vehemently protested giving the honor to Steinem, a feminist pro-choice leader, leading to a Land’s End public apology that angered other customers.

Tips for Bigger Sales

Brockow and other have these tips:

* Content and publishing in the commercial space must use colorful words and images

* Stories must speak to desires and needs being fulfilled

* Stories must have a premise and hero

* Stories must not be used to sell products—that’s advertising and will keep readers from returning to the site

* Let the customers figure out who and what characters are accomplishing to keep the audience engaged

* Stories have to sound authentic, so the audience believes stories can be about real people

* Commercial content stories must be simple, situations must be tethered with A leading to B, and funny is OK, but not silly

* Eighty percent of Internet users remember video ads, so liven sales with visuals

* Let customers submit their stories, and products will stand out

* Amateur athletes envision themselves as pros and stars, so build on this story line.

There are many sites online that share examples and techniques for storytelling and its importance for content and publishing on commercial space. It is an effective and innovative way to engage consumers with a product and company.

Dr. Goldmeier was a Research and Teaching Fellow at Harvard University, where he received his Doctorate in Education. Currently, he teaches international university students and serves as a business analyst and development consultant for companies and nonprofit organizations.

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