The Power of Storytelling in Marketing

Writers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses know the frustrations of marketing. You pay for ads and work to build your social media traffic but see little impact. Instead of wondering why your promotions don’t work, it could be time to adopt storytelling in marketing.

 

A couple of years ago, while researching for a client, I came across a podcast and had my first exposure to a company called Story Brand. At the time, client work was straggling in, I’d been a devotional blogger for several years, and I was beyond frustrated with the traffic and sales I wasn’t seeing. In all transparency, I questioned whether I had what it takes to be in business for myself. Maybe you’ve been there too.

 

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement.

 

I felt like a failure and wrestled, almost daily, with the idea of quitting the life of an entrepreneur and going back to the corporate world. There seemed to be a ceiling I couldn’t break through. I could only take my business so far before hitting a plateau then watching my income stagnate or fall backward.

 

Then I listened to Donald Miller in a podcast about StoryBrand. He explained the power of a story and the success it brings to marketers. I devoured his book, Building a StoryBrand. I knew this was the answer I’d been waiting for—and I was right. Soon, I embraced storytelling in marketing so completely I wanted to use what I learned to help others.

 

Since then, I’ve watched my own businesses grow—without putting all my hopes in the social media bucket. I can’t express to you what a relief it is to spend more time on business and less on social posts. And I’m blessed to help others as a StoryBrand Certified Guide. By guiding other small businesses and ministries to take a storytelling approach to their messaging, I’ve watched their frustrations dissolve into exciting celebrations.

 

How is Storytelling used in Marketing?

 

In today’s culture, people see well over 3,000 advertising campaigns every day. The sad truth is, we’re so inundated with promotions, we no longer buy the best products and services. We buy what we can most easily understand.

 

Story is a sense-making device. And it’s easy to imagine ourselves as part of a story.

 

In the “old days,” businesses told customers facts about their products then hoped they’d engage. With storytelling, we invite our potential customers to envision how our service will help them overcome a problem they face. Through story, we evoke emotion and help them see how great their life can be with our help.

 

Using Storytelling to Strengthen Your Brand

 

The best way to strengthen a brand through storytelling is to focus on the customer as the hero of the story. Too many businesses position themselves as the hero—sharing their expertise, or their academic training, or the number of years they’ve been in business. There is a shift that happens when a brand serves as a guide who helps the hero win the day. In other words, the brand is Yoda or Obi Wan while the customer is Luke Skywalker.

 

Brands are strengthened when they point the hero (their potential customers) toward products and services that will help them conquer the problems they encounter. When a business guides a customer to success, their brand becomes stronger.

 

Examples of Storytelling in Marketing

 

Now that you can see a clearer picture of using storytelling in marketing, I believe a few examples are in order.

 

Amazon has a commercial about a ballerina that brings me to tears each time I see it. And the story rings true. We know we can easily find what we’re searching for on Amazon and make purchases that help us survive the pandemic and engage with those around us. As customers, we can see ourselves caring for our neighbors in a similar fashion.

 

Another of my favorites is this branding video by 6th Avenue Homes in Texas. The team draws potential customers into a story and helps them envision themselves enjoying the services provided. While it is a video, it’s clear to see their storytelling message. 

 

In both instances, the customer becomes the hero and finds success through the help of a guide.

 

Advance Your Business

 

Writers, small business owners, and ministry leaders often feel insecure because they haven’t mastered strong marketing and business principles. Secretly, they wonder if they have what it takes to grow a successful business and worry that soon they’ll be exposed as a fraud.

 

I understand completely because I’ve walked that exact path and finally found a way to overcome it.

 

The power of storytelling in messaging and marketing is something I’ve seen first-hand. I believe it’s a concept every business owner should embrace as soon as possible. That’s why I’ve taken my journey with StoryBrand a step further and have become a Business Made Simple Coach. Now I can guide more professionals to the success they desire.

 

If you’re ready to gain traction in your marketing efforts and earn the loyalty of your customers, I invite you to Advance Academy—a monthly coaching membership to help you master effective messaging, marketing, and other proven business strategies. 

You’ve invested in your craft and you have products and services that are worthy of recognition. Now invest in your brand, discover the value of effective marketing, and watch your reach expand.

 

Entrepreneurs often have mind-blowing ideas but struggle to execute strong business and marketing principles. I help them master repeatable frameworks so they make more money while prioritizing what matters most.

 

As we work together through Advance Academy, I’ll help you adopt effective business-building strategies and increase profits. I can’t wait to come alongside you on your business journey.

 

To strengthening your brand,

 

 

 

www.cathymcintosh.com/advance

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. Meghan

    Wow, this is a great resource! I have been meaning to check out Donald Miller’s book but I never felt like it was the right time. I think it’s time to pick it back up… and maybe bookmark this page for future reference. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Donna Miller

    Thank you for this post! I can see how storytelling and making the customer the hero would help our brand better than making it all about us. Thank you for your very insightful post …

    Reply
  3. Anne-One Determined Life

    With so many people on the internet making noise, the only way we can stand apart is to share our story. The way we tell the story to our readers stands us apart. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
  4. Yvonne Morgan

    Thanks for sharing this information about Storytelling in Marketing. I love the ad about the ballerina too so it really helps me understand your point.

    Reply
  5. Laura

    Cathy, thanks for encouraging me with this post to keep writing stories on our BooksForBondingHearts.com blog. Even if readers never get past the stories in the blogs, that in itself is a way the author has successfully reached into a heart and has successfully used her voice in a story and message. Love this concept!

    Reply
  6. Summer

    Storytelling in marketing makes so much sense. And I love the idea of focusing on the customer as the hero.

    Reply
  7. Kristie

    Story telling is indeed the best way to get people’s utmost attention. You nailed the point.

    Reply
  8. Pam Morrison

    Cathy, THANK YOU! What an amazing and helpful post. Thank you for the links.

    Reply

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