How do you get customers to fall in love with your brand? The million dollar question, or better yet, billion dollar question. The most successful brands are inspiring, trusted and beloved. The secret sauce: storytelling. They have successfully infused storytelling into their brand to add emotion and value for their customer.
Storytelling is particularly effective since it creates an attachment to either a product or company. It takes many forms, both digital and traditional, including blogs, user experience, podcasts, presentations, photography, email, video and ads. Brands need to appeal to both sides of the brain and storytelling accomplishes exactly that.
Why do stories matter in marketing? For B2B, it’s critical that prospects know that you have their best interest in mind and can solve their problems immediately. In media, we need to create stories so people will want to consume them over and over again. Non-profits need people to fall in love with their cause. Retailers are going beyond their product to find new ways, such as Snapchat and Instagram, to share their brand story and build trust and relationships with their customers.
Below are different storyteller structures you can use when you create your next blog, infographic, video or presentation.
1. PUMA: Presentation’s Underlying Message Architecture
Also known as “Horizontal-Vertical Storytelling.” This is a very simple way of building up a storyline. For more information, check out the Slideshare from Dan Roam.
- Start off with a summary of your main idea.
- Create a spine to layout the main story. This is where you will want to address your main points.
- Add in the legs as anecdotes and support. Details make your main story compelling and memorable.
- Conclude with a tail swish for the last hurrah.
Storyteller tip: Use an excel sheet to help you organize your story.
The Moth is a non-profit group dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It features live storytelling events across the US and abroad, even featuring well-known personalities.
Marketers can take a lot from the Moth storytelling appraoch and apply it to their stories:
- What are the stakes? What do you stand to gain or lose? Why is this story important now?
- Jump right into the story and grab attention with a great first line!
- No bad endings, what’s your story’s call to action?
Check out this link to learn more about the Moth.
3. SCQA or The Minto Pyramid Principle
This is one of the easiest and most often used methods, particularly useful for value propositions and presentations. Instead of the typical how to or report like style for a business article or blog, take your audience on a high-stakes journey.
- Situation - Set the stage and introduce your main character. The main character can be a person, product, object or even your customer.
- Complication - The struggle is real and a significant conflict hooks your audience, keeping them curious to the end.
- Question - This is a natural next step to the Complication. What should we do?
- Answer - Follow up with an answer to the Question with a main point and then break it into details to resolve the Complication.
Storyteller tip: A story isn’t a story unless something is at stake.
A more advanced technique could be found in SCIPAB, which is particularly useful in presentations and technical product storytelling since pacing is all too critical not to lose the audience’s interest.
It’s no surprise that great messaging follows a pattern. This technique takes from Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” where the hero undergoes a recurring pattern of stages over the course of the story.
- What is the current situation or the ordinary world? The journey begins here where our hero is called to adventure.
- What could be? This has to be huge to show what is and would could be.
- Create a roller coaster of contrasts to effectively show the status quo as unappealing.
- Inspire your audience to leave on an emotional high and driven to change.
Storyteller tip: Make your customer the hero and your brand the mentor.
5. Figure of 8
This framework is especially helpful for podcasts, radio and television. Catch this storytelling technique next time you watch a news story.
- Get right into the most critical part of your story and show what’s happening now.
- Go back into the past and reveal how we got here and what has happened already.
- Final step, loop back over and reveal what’s going to happen next.
Learn more about the Figure of 8 in Adam Westbrook’s blog.
Remember, the story never ends and it’s critical for your brand to listen to the audience to strengthen identification and create a “shared identity." Don’t be afraid to rely on emotion and the human connection to lead your audience toward the desired action.