Why marketers must tell stories

Marketers are brand custodians and communicate to customers with marketing and advertising with real emotional zing. Marketers know emotion works to customers but somehow when they talk about brands internally it all gets rational. The fact is marketers need to add more emotion to how the brand is communicated and the best way to do that is with stories.

There’s real commercial value in stories

There’s real commercial value in stories, not just the feelgood bit. In fact, a review of Shark Tank investors found that 70% of the winners told stories.

Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran once said. “Show me an MBA and your sales numbers, that’s fine. But tell me a great story about how you got started and your vision, and we’ll talk.”

Why stories boost emotional engagement

Another reason you should tell more stories is a good story releases oxytocin in the brain of listeners. This is vital when you want to influence colleagues, customers, or investors. A Harvard Business Review study found that when oxytocin is released it increases three key things. The first is people feel more connected with you in part because you’re more vulnerable when you tell a story – we get to know you better.  Associated with this is they feel more collaborative and more likely to work with you in achieving an outcome because stories build empathy.  And finally, it gives you better recall because stories are more memorable than facts or figures. So people can retell your story to colleagues and you get more currency.

There’s lots of great opportunities for marketers to tell stories.

Here’s just a few.

  1. When you are telling the story of your brand, or if you are delivering a brand update and you need to answer where is the brand now on its journey?
  2. When you are working with the sales team to create a brand story relevant to a group of customers or a pitch. Stories help sales and marketing work more closely together as you co-create the customer story.
  3. When you are looking for ways for your brand to connect to a new audience or reconnect with one that’s shrinking.

I’ve put together a short video series on Storytelling for Marketers and you can find it here https://tinyurl.com/tdc65fu


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