Feb 25, 2019

The Do's And Don'ts For Success In Storytelling

Stories provide consumers with a context to the meaning of work, relationships and societal norms. This gives it the ability to shape societies and culture, a power that brands need to harness in order to give their consumers the best experience.

Stories have plots and characters that offer a reader the opportunity to relate, and as a result, when applied to marketing, can establish an emotional connection with the consumer. It has been proven to improve engagement and reach, with 83% of marketers commenting that video as a form of storytelling, gives them a good ROI.

Storytelling is increasing in relevance thanks to the audience desire for brands to provide meaning, emotion and authenticity.


1. Be real. 

According to the Co-Founder and CEO of Fabl, Taj Forer, the main reason for the lack of effective storytelling from brands is due to authenticity. He then goes onto discuss the results when authenticity is prioritised - the creation of an organic byproduct.

When marketers centre on authenticity, the ad will gain more than just visibility: it is seen, more credible and acted on. The consumers want to express their real self on social media platforms, and in turn, expect brands to do the same. Therefore, by utilising authenticity in your storytelling, not only will you create a subject matter that your audience can relate to, but one that they will trust.

2. Invest.

Marketers’ excuses for not using video: 23% said they do not have the time. 21% claim they do not know where to begin. 14% are unsure of the ROI of video. 12% think video might be too expensive.

This ‘do’ for storytelling here is very simple. You will get out what you put in. Invest the time and resources into your content strategy and brand narrative, and the results will speak for themselves.

3. Change your mindset.

Forer (CEO of Fabl) believes that to achieve true storytelling potential, marketers should change their mindset to think like a publisher. They build relationships based primarily on trust with their consumers and this is something that ads would benefit greatly from achieving. In order to do this, they must move past the current approach, for example, their focus on ROI, and channel this into the four pillars of storytelling: people, place, purpose, and plot.

Once focus lies on this, a premium level of storytelling will be achieved, and an increase in engagement will follow.  


1. Take your audience for granted.

Audience will always be a brand’s most valuable asset. All content produced by a brand is for the consumer, so marketers are at their mercy.

As described by David Beebe, “Marketing is like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second.”

To achieve this second date, and generate leads, marketers need to learn everything they can about their audience, including but not limited to: gender, location, family, occupation, salary, etc. Once this information is acquired, you are in the position to establish platforms this audience engages with the most and the type of content they want to receive on this platform.


2. Forget about mobile.

A very simple error brands are committing, is not optimising their storytelling content for mobile experience.

34% of users ‘mainly’ watch on mobile, with 17% ‘mainly’ on desktop, and 42% ‘pretty much equally’ on mobile and desktop.

The loss of reach and engagement by not optimising for mobile devices may as well take you back to square one, especially after investing the time to provide authentic stories.

3. Forget about images and videos.

Although storytelling dates back many years, the form of storytelling marketers are trying to harness, will rely far more on images and videos. Consumers are not expecting to read through 100+ pages to feel convinced about your brand, they want entertainment, aesthetic and fast information.

Much like getting to know your audience, a brand cannot expect to reach new generations, if they do not completely understand their wants and needs. And today’s generation learns primarily through images, music and other media, taking less interest in longer pieces. Do not underestimate the power of rich media.