3 Basic Storytelling Concepts for You to Use in Your Marketing

marketing storytelling

19 Oct 3 Basic Storytelling Concepts for You to Use in Your Marketing

Why choose stories in marketing?

In marketing, storytelling implies using stories in such a way that helps sell your product or services. Marketers choose storytelling for many reasons, the main one being that stories persuade in ways that facts and statistics don’t. They are the single most effective way to connect with customers, brands, and sell your product. Why is that?

One very simple reason: stories make your audience remember you.


Humans are storytelling creatures. Stories make up 65% of our conversations and are the way we communicate with each other and our clients. Since we were children, stories have been an intrinsic part of our lives and have been used to teach, motivate, inspire, or transform. Later as adults, stories encourage memories, emotions, or thoughts that in marketing help us move along the buyer’s journey. They appeal to our emotional side which, combined with the rational, helps the audience make a purchasing decision.

Storytelling makes experiences (and hence our products or services) engaging and memorable. It’s a technique used to spark our interest, transport us practically anywhere and is the most effective tool in getting our messages across. This, in turn, helps build brand recognition, identify target audiences better, and ultimately trigger emotions that turns the conversion process in our favour, simply because through that emotion the audience remembers how you make them feel, and as a result, also remembers you.

Done well, stories can be an important asset to your business. They build your customer base and, as a result, build your brand and business.

Powerful stuff. Here are the basics:

Marketing storytelling basics

There are endless story structures and plots, each with different ingredients. But the general story plot relies on 3 key elements: a hero, a problem and a solution.

  1. Hero: A compelling story needs a hero (or heroes) with a goal to achieve. Don’t let the word “hero” confuse you though: the hero needs to be human, not Superman. He (or she) needs to be someone the audience can relate to, can empathize with. A person who arouses a “he’s just like me” feeling.
  2. Problem: The hero needs to be confronted with a problem or obstacle to overcome. Something that prevents the hero from achieving his goal.
  3. Solution: The body of the story entails a series of events that either help or further inhibit the hero from overcoming the conflict. At the end, the hero overcomes the conflict. Your product or service is the tool that helps him overcome it.

Your marketing storytelling should be centered around what your customers care about, i.e. their pain points. The story should do so without being promotional either, because no one likes being sold to. To be truly persuasive, your story needs to be centered around your audience, not around your product. So to grab your audience’s attention, it’s important you focus on what it is they care about: themselves.
If you’d like a superb example of customer-focused storytelling used for marketing purposes, check out this commercial from Dove Men+Care:

And feel free to think about the following:

  • What makes this video an effective and persuasive commercial?
  • How does the story appeal to it’s target audience?

Please leave your comments below. If you have other examples of storytelling used for marketing, please feel free to share them with us as well.

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