Stories are all about the emotional connection they build, writes Michael Brenner from Marketing Insider Group. From an infancy spent toddling about, until the day we die, our hearts rise and fall with the heroes in our favorite stories. That’s why stories are such power-packed marketing tools when properly deployed. When your brand uses storytelling to convey a message, it bypasses the head and goes straight into the heart.
May the best story win
When two products are equal, the win goes to the one which appeals most to your emotions. In other words, the one with the best story. Take for example, the perennial Coke vs. Pepsi duel. Coke still holds the biggest market share by quite a margin, with 17.8% to Pepsi’s 8.4%.
In fact, Pepsi’s market share has dropped in recent years–in no small part due to the heartstring-pulling ads run by Coca Cola. From Coke’s early ’70s peace-and-love “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”, to their Ramadan ad featuring a Coke shared with a thirsty woman just as the sun sets on the fast, Coke has scored major points with their customers.
Contrast that approach with last year’s Pepsi ad that featured Kendall Jenner offering a drink to an officer policing a line of protesters—an ad which was accused of ham-fisted over simplification of a serious issue. Good stories connect diverse groups of people to a brand.
Fact-based decisions lie within an emotional core
Furthermore, even within the most rational, fact-based decisions lie an emotional core—the pain point.
Take, for example, price-conscious buyers – the reason behind such scrutiny is a bare emotion—the fear of loss. If your product or service does the same for them, you can bet that they’ll retell the story of how your brand saved them money to their equally thrifty friends, as Rob Danna points out in his Forbes article, “How Emotional Connections Create Champions for Your Brand.”
This is the best thing about great brand stories. Just like campfire tales, they spread. Word-of-mouth advertising by your own customers—and it doesn’t cost you a penny.
As Danna shows, telling customers the kinds of stories they need to hear to spur them to a decision doesn’t just result in a purchase. In many cases, it creates new brand evangelists, loyal and eager to spread the word through testimonials, glowing reviews, and even over coffee with a friend. Statistics show, according to Danna, that loyal customers spend ten times the money with a company than those without a connection. Tell the stories that reach your customers at their pain point; recreate those success stories for them–and repeat.
Tailor stories to Buyer Personas
- Find their pain point: What works for a thrifty tightwad won’t work for the spendthrift, whose fear of missing out (FOMO) drives them to buy. A story tailored to a cautious customer’s needs won’t cut it with the “shop ‘til you drop” customer.
- Use their pain point: With more profligate customers, exploit this pain point (and yes, FOMO is a pain point) in stories that let them know that if they don’t buy your product now, they might lost the chance forever. Case in point: American holiday season shopping. Every year, a toy captivates the hearts of kids all over the country. Parents line up for hours in the dark waiting for even a chance to grab this trendy plaything—at a price that will make them wince a year from now.
- Tell stories that present your product as the cure for their pain: Stories that get the point across that your product will be available for only a limited time have a great chance of making a sale with a spendthrift customer. One thing drives them: the desire for more—before someone else grabs the gold. Soothe that desire.
Read more to learn about tailoring your stories to different types of Buyer Personas.