In a time when customers increasingly distrust advertising, brands and businesses need a different approach to reach people. Big names in the creative industries recommend dropping the salesy voice/techniques. Instead, companies will gain much more by engaging customers with great storytelling.
The guys at The Futur phrased the matter very well in the form of a question. In one of their videos presenting tips for content marketing, they asked this:
“When was the last time you engaged with a piece of marketing?”
With the whole internet waiting at a click’s distance, customers today don’t really buy into advertising any longer. If a brand’s message doesn’t catch their attention, they will find at least 10 other similar ones in 30 seconds. Well, yes, that’s how much we estimate a person will take to type in something like “wireless headphones”, “non-stick wok” or “cordless hoover”, press enter, upload SERP.
But we don’t rely on hunches or even only on our own professional experience when we say this. Research data reveals growing customers’ distrust towards advertising and brands.This is not even a trend, new or not so new. In fact, it isn’t a trend at all. We describe it as a phenomenon closely linked to the changes triggered by social media platforms and their popularity with users worldwide.
What storytelling does which traditional advertising alone doesn’t do
So far, we discussed about the decline of traditional advertising, backed up by data in the industry. It might sound all gloom and doom, we know. But we come from a place of proactive, positive thinking. Such challenges only push and motivate creatives like ourselves to identify, test, and apply new, fresh, exciting solutions.
And if we are to pick one top solution to tackle consumers’ doubt towards advertising, we choose this one – storytelling.
True, even your TV adverts today use more and more storytelling. Remember the Elton John featuring Christmas ad put out by John Lewis last year? It touched viewers because it was produced as a lifeline story, from Elton’s first piano as a child to his huge stardom today.
However, just one story here and there will not suffice. Consumers want consistency. They follow and buy from brands they can engage with. With offers across industries so varied and easy to find, engaging stories and brand personality weigh heavier than ever.
We look at this broader picture and we see it as a direct result of recent digital development. From YouTube to Facebook and Instagram, from Reddit to your everyday website, tones of content await and cover almost everything you could be interested in. With so much published online not daily, but within every 60 seconds, around the clock, the major concern users have is around selection.
And if users have this concern, so should brands, companies and businesses.
Why social media storytelling appeals to consumers
Social media storytelling performs so well because it contributes both to authenticity and relatability. For internet users today, trusting the authenticity of the brand image, story and values makes all the difference. They need to believe in a company’s message in order to trust them.
But what does an authentic story, which you cannot relate to, really achieve? Not much, we would argue. So in order for the storytelling employed to drive interest, viewers or readers need to be able to relate to it. Then they gain an experience from following a brand’s content, and that’s what also matters massively today.
No matter what your company offers, be it services, or water fountains, or show insoles, publish engaging stories to attract attention and gauge interest. Some of the stories you will relate directly to your products, some will focus on the human interest factor.
Let us say you sell shoe insoles.
How are they made?
Who designs and tailors them?
Is there any scientific process, maybe in the way the formula for the foam is created, which could spark people’s curiosity?
But somebody produces those insoles. From designer to production to delivery, follow the whole process in a video. Or interview the founder of the company on how it all started. Why not create video content following the employee of the month?
Storytelling presents almost limitless possibilities. Or, just to use one of the most famous intros in the history of televised entertainment, it can take you “where no man has gone before”.
As a company, we prefer the gender inclusive version: “where no human has gone before”.