I’ve been working with my friends at MarketingProfs this Summer to create a course for their Storytelling Summit for Marketers, which launches on September the 10th. As a way to give you a sneak peek at my course, Storytelling on Social Media, I wanted to talk a bit about why it’s important for your brand to tell stories.
Stories power Word of Mouth. By using story, you have a way to relate information to other people via a method (the story) which makes the information not only much more interesting, but you also increase the chance that other people will continue to pass that information along by sharing that same story.
I am an Alabama football fan, as most of you know. Recently, I was talking to a friend about the last two seasons, and Alabama’s starting QB, Tua Tagovailoa. If I had wanted to simply share information with this person, I could have said “Alabama beat Georgia the last two seasons.” While factually correct, both those wins were wrapped in incredible stories that make the information (Bama beat Georgia) far more interesting and memorable.
In 2017, Alabama faced Georgia for the National Championship. Jalen Hurts was Alabama’s starting QB, but Tua was the gunslinging backup that dazzled fans every time he played. Every time Hurts struggled, the fans clamored for Tua to come in, but he never did.
In the NC game against Georgia, the Bulldogs jumped out to a big lead by halftime. Hurts was having a terrible game for Alabama. At halftime, the switch was made to start true freshman Tua in the second half, and he led Alabama to a come-from-behind victory, sealed by a 41-yard TD pass in Overtime.
The following year Alabama played Georgia for the SEC Championship and the roles were reversed. This time Tua was the starter and Jalen was the backup. And once again, Georgia jumped out to a big lead as Tua battled injuries. In the 2nd half, Jalen was put in and as Tua did the year before, he led Bama back to score a late win over Georgia. Jalen’s heroics led to a very emotional postgame interview with Nick Saban:
“I’m so proud of this guy for what he’s done this year, I can’t even tell you.”
Nick Saban got emotional when speaking about the heroics of Jalen Hurts. pic.twitter.com/mmY4HfoFqD
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 2, 2018
Now isn’t that a lot more memorable and interesting than saying ‘Alabama beat Georgia the last two seasons’?
Brand storytelling is about using story to communicate information to your customers. Ideally, that information will be both interesting and relevant to your customers, and relevant to your brand as well. When thinking about creating stories for your brand, think about what stories you can tell that will be both relevant to your customers, and also speak to what your brand stands for and is about.
A very simple way to do this can be by utilizing the stories of your customers, which you are probably already doing with testimonials. You can also let your employees tell what it’s like working for your brand, this can help streamline the hiring process, reducing hiring costs.
Also keep in mind when you are thinking about telling stories, that you can always use hypothetical examples in your stories. In fact, mixing real examples with abstract ones is one of the best ways to teach difficult concepts. You can tell a story about how one of your customers uses your product, then add a hypothetical “here’s how you could use our product” story to supplement the customer’s story.
Just remember that storytelling is a wonderful way to deliver information to your customers, and give them a way to easily relate that information to others, enhancing word of mouth. Besides, who doesn’t love hearing and sharing a good story?
If you want to learn how to up your brand storytelling game, check out MarketingProfs’ Storytelling Summit for Marketers. Courses go live on September 10th, with additional live keynotes on the 17th and 24th.
PS: To wrap up the story with Tua and Jalen, at the end of the 2018 season, Jalen transferred to Oklahoma, where he won the starting QB job in the Spring. Last Saturday was the season opener for both Alabama and Oklahoma. Tua was amazing for Alabama, passing for over 300 yards and 4 TDs. But Jalen was the talk of the college football world, accounting for over 500 yards rushing and passing, and 6 TDs. After Week One, both are considered frontrunners for the Heisman trophy, given to the top player in college football.
BONUS: Well isn’t this awesome? Kerry at MarketingProfs has given me a $100 discount code to pass along to you, use code KERRYLIKESME to save $100 on the Storytelling for Marketers Summit!