Three Brands That Hit the Storytelling Marketing Sweet Spot

by | Sep 18, 2019 | Market Research Expertise |

Storytelling marketing can have a significant impact on your marketing mix. It is as old as antiquity. Cave dwellers did it. So did the ancient Greeks and Romans. It’s what the best speechwriters do. So do savvy politicians to connect with their audiences. It is called storytelling, and when it works, it can bring otherwise prosaic (read commonplace) facts, opinions and, yes, marketing campaigns to life. And, increasingly, it is what the best marketers do to enhance their brands and sell their products and services. Storytelling marketing is among the most compelling ways to bring your value proposition to life, create an emotional connection with your target audience, and build trust in your brand. To learn more view this video:


How Does Storytelling Enhance Your Brand?

First, what is storytelling marketing, and why does it work? Consumers might justify their purchases and business loyalties based on logic, but the truth is that they buy based on emotion. For example, a coworker might tell you he bought his new convertible based on great mileage, but you know the real reason probably has more to do with recapturing his lost youth or impressing the neighbors. When you build your brand based on narratives, it is easier to connect with prospective customers on an emotional level. As Convince & Convert explains:

“Brand storytelling is defined as the art of shaping a company’s identity through the use of narratives and storytelling techniques that facilitate an emotional response and establish meaningful connections.”

And, when done right, brand storytelling can be powerful. Consider, for example, the following metrics:

  • Stories are as much as 22X easier to remember than facts and figures
  • Scientific studies show that the activity of brain neurons spikes by a factor of 5 when people listen to a story
  • Storytelling has a strong positive impact on the brain’s sensory cortex, making the teller’s argument more sensual—and real

Some Stories Are (a Lot) Better Than Others

That doesn’t mean that any old story is going to resonate with consumers, and some brands do a much better job than others in using storytelling to sell their brands. Here are three examples of companies that hit the sweet spot with brand storytelling:

1. Funny Still Works: Zendesk

Zendesk is in the business of creating customer support software. When they decided to inject some storytelling into their brand building, they could have tapped a few loyal customers to tell stories about the ways Zendesk helped their businesses.

But they understood that SaaS could be, well, boring. So, instead, they decided to have a little fun. They created a fictitious Indie rock band (called Zendesk Alternative). The members of the fake bank are more than a little cheeked off that a software company has “stolen” their name. By the end of the story, however, they realize that they need the help of a company like Zendesk—and the customer support services it offers—to keep their careers on track.

The use of humor gives a SaaS business what most of them lack—humanity. That resonates with customers and connects with their customer base.

2. Standing up for Equality: Nike

Nike has a long, successful legacy of polishing its brand with effective storytelling, something they repeated with its Equality campaign, launched in 2017. In it, they tell stories which show ways in which people can translate what they learn about fairness in sports to other aspects of their lives, inspiring them to be proactive in their local communities. To add to the note of social responsibility, the sports gear giant donated more than $5 million to various organizations which advance the cause of equality.

3. The Power of Soul: SoulCycle

SoulCycle, with workout studios throughout the New York City metropolitan area, has revolutionized sports branding with stories that show working out is about more than working up a sweat. Topped with an intriguing tagline (“SoulCycle is more than a workout—it’s an experience”), their branding campaign is designed to convince prospective clients to spend about what they would for a month’s gym membership on one engaging, electrifying 45-minute class.

SoulCycle engages clients with a series of high-power videos, each of which pushes their brand focus on the “transcendent” nature of the sports workout. In doing so, they demonstrate that their brand is all about the clients working out in their studios—not about them.

Small businesses, admittedly, don’t have the resources of companies like Nike and Zendesk, but that doesn’t mean they can’t compete effectively, particularly when they get the help of a competent marketing agency. To learn more about the ways marketing research consulting services can help educators and health care professionals achieve their chief marketing objectives, contact New Perspectives today.