The Storytelling Trend

Storytelling isn’t a new thing. Actually, it’s one of the oldest things there is. But the idea of harnessing story as a marketing and branding tool is relatively recent. Twenty years ago we were at the mercy of a single image on a billboard or the 30 seconds of a television commercial to reach the masses, now we have more dedicated and in-depth mediums with social networks, blogs, and websites.

Where a story was hard to communicate before, it’s easy to do now. And for the official record, this is important and necessary. If you’re still relying on gigantic images and quick pitches, let me assure you that people are learning to tune it out – if they haven’t already.

Stories captivate. When we hear a story, it’s human nature to become introspective. To relate. And then to share. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years.

But I’m going to advocate for taking it a step further. As often as we can, we need to do more than tell stories. We need to bring other people into them. We need to make our customers and supporters characters and give them a role.

This is why Kickstarter is excelling. In a recent Fast Company article, Robert Fabricant makes the following observation:

Consumers don’t just want to understand the story. Increasingly, they want to be part of it, which is something even Apple won’t let them do. … While people love their Apple products, they are looking for a stronger link to the products they use. They want to get closer to the source. Kickstarter offers anyone the opportunity to be the first to discover, invest, and share a new product concept within a circle of friends, which alone is worth some money down even if the product never actually makes it to you doorstep as promised.

You can have a great product. It can even be a brilliant product. But without a story that engages and involves the consumer, it will still leave them wanting more. This means something different for every brand. Those who utilize Kickstarter involve the consumer through financial support, but for your brand, that support might be attendance at an event, article submissions, or guest posts on your blog.

When people feel they’re a part of your story, they’ll be more likely to stay in the narrative over time.  That’s the beauty of reminding people they matter. 

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