Why Storytelling is Essential to Effective Marketing?

Total eclipse

Why Storytelling is Essential to Effective Marketing

Why Storytelling is Essential to Effective Marketing 370 218 Shlomi Ron

I have been thinking a lot lately about the true meaning of storytelling as a vehicle to drive influence. Beyond the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of stories, I was looking for a deeper answer.

“Storytelling” yields 195M search results on Google, whereas its nearest keen “Visual Storytelling” –  close to 5.66M results.

This tells you that the field is still young with lots of incredible potential for growth, in particular in the context of marketing.

Stories are great instruments to convey information and influence. To realize their impact, just reflect on your recent get together with your close friends or members of your extended family.

Can you remember what was discussed?

The conversation most likely evolved into a string of stories that were connected by common triggers. You shared, for example, the latest about your work, and that reminded your cousin about a similar instance in their job and so forth.

I call this a Live Trigger because part of your story triggered a similar event in the bag of experiences of your listener – in this case your cousin who immediately countered with his story.

But when you are using visual storytelling as part of your overall marketing strategy, your stories hit your audience wherever they are. You are not physically around them to hear back their stories.

Therefore, if moved, your audience will use social signals (views, likes, comments or shares) to express their engagement with your story.

This type of “Silent Trigger” has to do more with how thorough your prior research work was done to really get to know your audience and ensure that critical parts of your story will strike a similar chord with their experiences.

Another great example of Silent Triggers is when you ask art collectors what made them buy a seemingly dull looking abstract blue painting.

Some will answer: “It just spoke to me!”

This tells you that some element in that blue painting silently triggered an important event from their life story that they wish to celebrate with this artwork.

Alternatively, other collectors may have had the opportunity to hear the story behind the piece directly from the artist. And this Live Trigger made them react to share a similar meaningful story from their lives to inform their buying decision.

Now, that you have a good understanding at the micro level, of storytelling dynamics, let’s zoom out, so you can get the forest view of this timeless human communication.

Your story is nothing but a mirror.
It will emotionally move your audience into action
only when it will reflect
a total eclipse

between your story
and your customer’s personal story

You see, stories are indeed nothing but “mirrors.”

They’ll move your audience into action only when your story will tightly overlap with your audience personal stories and core problems.

At that moment, which I call – “Total Eclipse” your story will stop becoming your story but your audience story.

Your audience will then lower their guards down and won’t process your message as an ad but more as a reflection of their personal story as if coming from a close trusted friend.

See it in action with the Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign.

Such compelling stories will help your audience to identify with your message,  believe your journey’s tribulations, and most of all more prone to respond to your call-to-action.

How are you creating Total Eclipses to move your audience into action? I am curious to know your thoughts, so feel free to leave your comments below.

Need help developing your Total Eclipse for your business? Schedule a FREE conversation.

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, a Miami-based think tank with a mission to bring the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art to more human-centric and purpose-driven marketing. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. He started VSI to combine his marketing expertise with his passion for visual stories stemming from his interests in classic Italian cinema and managing the estate of video art pioneer, Buky Schwartz. At VSI, he helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, and thought leadership. Select clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, and Cable & Wireless – to name a few. He currently teaches Brand Storytelling at the University of Miami’s Business School. Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, which ranks in the top 10 best business storytelling podcasts on the Web. His book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals to Help You Create Richer Visual Brand Stories. Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron

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