Originally published on: Medium | Vanhishikha Bhargava
By now, companies and brands across the world are well aware of the fact that irrespective of how different their product is from those being offered in the market, there is no way they can escape telling a good story.
Let’s be honest for a minute here, not every start-up out there is like Snapchat, Meerkat or Periscope; it is going to take them some effort to market themselves to their audience effectively and if we are to follow trends, the only way I see is storytelling — because pitching your products directly just doesn’t cut it!
What is storytelling?
Storytelling is the art of convincing your target audience to empty their pockets for your products and services without actually giving them a sales pitch. What replaces the sales pitch in this campaign is a fairy tale that revolves around their lives and features your products every now and then showcasing how ‘useful’ they are.
What makes a story?
If you’re a movie maniac or someone fond of those all time hit animation movies, you know who to learn from! Pixar.
Pixar’s 22 Rules Of Phenomenal Storytelling have been doing rounds in the digital world for some time now and the reason is pretty clear — the rules on how to approach storytelling are simply put in a ‘do this or you get nothing’ manner instead of beating about the bush.
According to the master storytellers, a fairy tale basically consists of the following:
- A fancy palace
- Some glittery decor
- The knight in shining armor
- Crown Prize
- Happy ending
Great stories always begin with a hook, making a promise to the reader that reading it is going to be worth their time (and money). The first and foremost thing to do post setting the hook, is to make your customer the hero of the story!
Then you can walk in all the elves and miscellaneous fancies to keep him hooked; no matter which character you use, ensure that is relatable to the reader and not you.
Pretty sure you won’t like me forcing down Cinderella’s story when your personal choice is Pinocchio!
No matter how long your story is, the one thing that will keep your readers going is the crown prize that is being promised or suggested through the tale. The next step is to just make sure your story has a happy ending that is in sync with what has been filled in by your audience previously via feedbacks, polls and other interactions.
Remember, everyone loves a happily ever after!
What do you need to keep in mind?
Pretty sure you’re inspired by at least one of the Pixar movies but before you begin telling your own fairy tale, it’s advisable to keep a few things in mind:
No one wants to hear your self-praises over and over again. If you’re good at something, show it and I don’t mean plastering all of it on your face at one go; market the use instead of the product itself. Remember, actions speak louder than words; especially if you’re trying to make an impact in the market.
2. Don’t run on Cinderella’s time — make it last!
Even though Cinderella had the time of her life in the limited time she had, marketing doesn’t work that way. Either you make such a big impact in the lives of your audience that they don’t forget you or you make constant efforts to stay in their line of sight — by hook or by crook.
3. Don’t be a bore — what if the shoe never got lost?
Can you imagine Cinderella’s story without her losing her shoe? No. It would be boring and too straightforward. Analyse your audience and their interests — which topics they actively converse about and what type of content clicks with them the most. Whatever you do, make sure you are the only one your audience looks up to.
4. Don’t go haywire — stick to a theme!
No, really. No one wants a Star Wars & Barbie hybrid! I know you’re trying to keep things interesting for your audience but you need to maintain a theme. For instance, you can’t be posting about fairy tale weddings, when you’re actually trying to sell adventure gear.
5. Don’t add to their grief — make it a happy ending!
It is easy to create a story line and even easier to write the middle; but what’s difficult is to create an ending that clicks with everyone. Before you actually start working on the story, get the first draft of your ending ready and make sure it is a happy one. This could be in the form of rewards for your loyal customers or offers to the ones who are buying your products for the first time.
6. Don’t make the ending a definite one — keep them wanting more!
The only way to ensure that your audience keeps coming back for more stories from you is by ending your first one on a happy note that not just nudges them towards your products and services, but also leaves them with something to think about. Human minds are always intrigued by what’s happening around them and why; make sure you make the most out of that.
“A brand is a story that is always being told.”