Why Consumers Connect With Stories

Brands, in theory, last forever, as long as they regularly meet with people, followers, supporters, and consumers, where they are in time and space. But in today’s world, we’re constantly being screamed at by brands everywhere. You can’t scroll through Instagram without seeing dozens of sponsored posts (and it’s becoming more and more difficult to determine what’s “real” and what is an ad). You can’t watch a video on YouTube without first watching a couple ads first.

Everywhere we go, everywhere we are, options are being thrown at us from every direction. Things we need, things we don’t need, and things we’ve never heard of — right at the tips of our fingers. Online advertising spending, about $52 billion by recent estimates, has exceeded cable and television spending. We’re bombarded, and in many ways distracted, at every turn and every scroll.

But amidst all the noise, we still connect to stories, and we still relate brands to an experience or an emotion. That connection is still there, we still crave it, even in today’s shouting match that exists everywhere we look.

Experiences dominate concepts in marketing today. Maybe it’s through emotion (looking at you ASPCA and pulling at my heartstrings with your three minute long commercials). Maybe it’s through humor. Maybe it’s through a relatable or shared experience or memory. Our design and creative decisions aren’t based simply on the target audience and consumer demands, but on the experience and connection we want people to have with the brand we’re developing.

Because brands, largely, are figments of our imagination. Yes, there is a reality of something to look at, something to purchase, or something to support, but the story we tell about brands is largely our own. Good brands, the ones you remember, share a relatable narrative with their consumers, and equip them with this narrative to share with others as brand advocates. And, good brands evolve. They know that stangnancy is synonymous with failure. Your narrative as a brand today may not be what it was 10 years ago, and likely won’t be the story you tell 10 years from now.

The best solution for cutting through the clutter and drowning out the marketing noise is to connect, on a core level, with a story that is compelling and relatable. A story — your story — that gives your buyer ownership in the process and stake in the partnership.

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