How Good Storytelling Drives Demand Generation?
If you don’t have a compelling story to address a real pain point, there is no point in spending money on demand generation. – #DemandGeneration Tweet Book
One approach that doesn’t go wrong in generating leads and making people sit and take notice is telling them ‘why’ is the product built, packaged, and is intended to be sold. When people get to know what problems of theirs the product will be solving, only then will their emotions get triggered, making them more interested in the offering.
As a marketer, your approach in reaching out to prospects should not focus on telling the benefits of the products, rather on the ingenuity and passion that fueled the creation of that product in the first place. You should not put all your resources in stating how amazing your products are, rather telling how amazingly life will get changed when the user uses that product.
Here, let’s take an example of John Lewis vs Debenhams 2012 adverts. These multinational upmarket department stores, based in UK, specifically created Christmas adverts. While John Lewis Christmas ad has so far achieved 3.5 million views on YouTube, Debenhams has managed to get just a tenth of that. Reason? John Lewis takes the viewer to an emotional roller-coaster ride by telling a simple tale about a snowman going to the shops for finding well-thought-out yet basic gifts for a mate. Thus, out of thousands of expensive products sold in John Lewis, the only products showcased were a hat and a scarf. Debenhams, on the other hand, showcased its myriad range of well-shot products. John Lewis had suddenly attached a value to the products, which is far higher than their actual worth and that too, with a simple narrative.
Thus, by diving deep into the ‘whys’ of creating products, your positioning in the market will dramatically elevate and you will move from being just another seller to a compelling thought leader. John Lewis, with its Christmas advert, did just that and came out as an organization that is driving change and challenging long-held conventions.
If you still haven’t made out where the difference lies, let us tell you. It is great storytelling. Demand generation begins with storytelling because it is what transforms content marketing into thought leadership. Stories will interest your prospects and will make them more curious.
What are the ways in which you can tell a story?
Telling a story does not only capture the attention of the audiences but it also makes data and facts sing by becoming more interesting and applicable, thereby enhancing retention value. No doubt then, infusing a story in your overall pitch can make you stand out of the crowd, but how do you do it? Take cues from ideas given below:
- Tell associative stories
People remember messages associated with stories. Everyone knows the message behind the story of ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ which goes like ‘slow and steady wins the race’. One of the aced examples of this type is Red Bull’s marketing campaign. This energy drink, through its audio-visual and print adverts, tells stories of exploring the unknown and pushing the natural limits of human potential. With the tagline of ‘It gives you wings’ which was later changed to ‘No Red Bull, no wings’, the brand has managed to create associations in our collective minds by way of telling stories of people. Similarly, stories with moral messages can be narrated too.
- Tell the founder’s story
Many of the family businesses have inspiring and fascinating origins behind them. With the help of the story, tell about the way the generations have evolved to shape a new company and/ or a new culture. Such is the story of Samuel Adams Beer. Story is communicated to audiences via conventional as well as guerilla marketing methods. Jim Koch, the brewer-cum-founder tells how the company began 25 years ago without any office and computer and with one employee. Most of the initial days were spent going bar to bar with the beer. With an inspiring quote of ‘Do something you love and never work a day in your life’, Koch tells he feels he hasn’t worked for 25 years.
- Tell instances of unusual feats
Your company might work at various levels – from administrative to customer services – and at each level, you might be adding something unusual and phenomenal to your business growth, customers’ satisfaction, or society as a whole. Use such instances to communicate your philosophies and ideas to the audiences. Nordstrom, an American fashion retailer, started collecting examples of great customer service from its employees. These Nordy stories were a big hit and communicated to the audiences how great the customer services of their employees are. In one such concrete example, a customer comes into the store laden with items already purchased from a rival store. After the customer completes the purchase, he asks for Nordstrom’s free giftwrap service. The customer was surprised and delighted when the employee offered to wrap the previous buys too for no extra charge.
- Tell brand stories
Brand stories tell how your company works and what your company stands for. Brand stories can be your textual or visual narratives of journey to success tales. With your brand stories, you should inspire, challenge, educate, and/or appeal them. When used on homepage or about us page, brand stories can enhance credibility and result at higher conversion rates. For example, GE replaced text-heavy mission statements on its website with videos of examples of the company’s work. These videos achieved 2 million views, simply because the human brain processes visuals 50 times faster than text.
- Tell real customers’ stories
Just like taking customers’ feedback and testimonials is essential in knowing how successful your product is, showcasing these as adverts can be instrumental in telling the world how effective your product is. The most powerful stories are human and Dove has understood this well since 1980s. With its real-women testimonial campaigns, it has been showcasing real women talking about the benefits of Dove. At the same time, Dove has also been instrumental in redefining society’s pre-set definitions of beauty. Thus, the brand, in addition to simply selling its products, has aimed at securing a position at audience’s minds and hearts.
So next time, you plan of marketing your product or service, don’t focus on your features; focus on your story and start with ‘why’ it has been created.