You NEED Storytelling for YOUR BRAND in 2023

Storytelling marketing, a concept we often hear, but have you ever truly grasped its power? Picture this: you’re searching for a new guitar and stumble upon Sweetwater, a renowned music equipment seller. Their exceptional customer service and attention to detail make you feel valued, and before you know it, you’re not just buying a pedal, but a brand. This remarkable encounter showcases the profound impact of storytelling marketing. But don’t worry, we’ll explore more than just Sweetwater’s sales tactics.

From the rise of video content to the authenticity of customer-led storytelling, join us as we uncover the secrets behind successful brand narratives and discover what story your brand is telling.

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Storytelling For Your Brand Transcript

Hello and welcome to the 1981 digital video blog. Today we’ll be talking about storytelling marketing in 2023.

Storytelling Marketing is an enormous concept. However, I’m sure you’re familiar with the idea that people don’t buy products. They buy brands. This idea is talked about by Coca-Cola’s European marketing director in this video from 1994.

Sometimes research gets it wrong because it fails to understand that people can only buy a complete brand. People don’t buy products. They don’t buy packages. They don’t buy brand names. They most certainly don’t buy advertising. They buy the sum total of all those things.

This phrase gets used in lots of different ways. Some people will say people don’t buy products they buy better versions of themselves or they buy the solutions to their problems. Or some people don’t buy products, they buy promises or the stories you tell. I like to think about the brands I enjoy shopping with regularly and why. For instance, I’ve shopped at Sweetwater in Fort Wayne, Indiana for about seven years now.

If you’re unaware Sweetwater is one of the largest musical instrument and equipment sellers in the entire music industry. Sweetwater has always made the buying process incredibly smooth and has been helpful along the way. I’d been shopping around for a new guitar pedal and after talking with the sales rep a few days earlier online, I got a call out of the blue from that sales rep at Sweetwater.

He was calling to check in and see if I was still interested in buying that pedal, you know, boilerplate sales stuff. And after spending 20 minutes on the phone and talking about music and guitar equipment, I ordered that pedal and went on with my day. But one singular day later, I had that pedal at my front door, which is perks of living one state away.

But in that box with the pedal was a set of my sales rep’s favorite pack of picks with a nice note attached. And to this day, anytime I make musical equipment purchases, I start with Sweetwater. That call happened years ago and I’m still Facebook friends with that same sales rep. Years after he’s left the company. But that day I chose to buy a brand and not a pedal.

Now I was probably going to buy that pedal one way or another. But that initial interaction and that attention to detail added a level of trust and comfortability with that brand that made me want to buy it from them. Up until this point, I wasn’t really loyal to anybody for my musical equipment purchasing decisions, but ever since then I have been. I choose Sweetwater almost every time I have to make a big purchase.

The by now, I’m sure you’re wondering. I thought this was about storytelling marketing in 2023, we’re getting a big story about Sweetwater. But the reason is that despite choosing a brand that day, I was still told a story first, I got my foot in the door. Sweetwater is known for this upper echelon level of customer service and getting a bag of candy in every purchase.

But after a very informative visit to their very detailed website and talking to an expert, I was shown just how knowledgeable and helpful they were. And when I thought that initial conversation was everything, I continued in my normal purchasing habits until again I was shown just how helpful and knowledgeable their staff was and bought the story and subsequently the brand.

This goes to show the power of storytelling marketing. Since 2016, I’ve spent more money than I would like to admit with the company because of that one set of interactions I had with them years ago and how they’ve proven ever since to be that same company over and over again. Not only are digital mediums changing, but also the accessibility of these mediums.

For instance, YouTube’s been around since 2005, but we see a huge influx in video in the marketing mix, and we see companies like Meta and TikTok focusing way more heavily on short form video content. These tools create opportunities for us to connect better with our consumer bases and tell them our brand story in a different, new, exciting way that’s accessible for all.

Data-backed storytelling is a valuable effort because of the context it creates. I always like being able to quantify or compare against empirical data, and this helps to create a real understanding of an issue. If your brand’s mission is to improve the state of the ocean and help eliminate garbage being dumped there, it’s far more powerful to quantify that.

If you were to say to your audience, there are loads of plastic and waste floating through the ocean right now, it just lacks a sense of authority. However, saying in 2015 NatGeo found there are 5.25 trillion of garbage floating through the ocean right now, we can quantify and create a sense of urgency surrounding this issue, and it creates an opportunity for your brand to say how you plan on improving such issues.

Despite my love and loyalty for Sweetwater I was not paid to tell you the above anecdote, unfortunately. However, you can use your customers experience to tell their stories. Customers yearn for authenticity, and one way to give them exactly that is by showing them other customers stories of working with your brand. We call this approach customer led storytelling. Story based advertising works best when customers can relate to it.

So knowing your audience helps to make sure you’re putting the most relevant stories forward for them.
If you’ve been on our blog at all, you know how big of a proponent we are of adding video to your mix. Storytelling through video creates an opportunity to put a face with the brand and the subsequent story. We love interacting with people. It’s part of what makes us human. And video storytelling gives your audience a base to create that interaction.

Beyond that video is the preferred method of connecting with brands, and your audience is more likely to convert because of it. Use this to highlight positive experiences and create a connection with this demographic.

Marketers like to have control over the keywords and language surrounding their products or services when working with influencers. However, the tides are turning on this. We’re seeing a change where storytelling will move towards more creator driven storytelling. And this is likely because influencers are viewed as an extension of the company. How the specific verbiage and tone standards, the genuine connection audiences crave seems a bit disingenuous and coming from someone held to these dictated standards.

The shift to creator driven storytelling opens a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to their own experience with your products or services. They control the narrative and express their feelings. This gives audiences a sense of their connection and a security to feel less like they’re being sold to. Storytelling, marketing will continue to be important, and it’s important to remember to focus on being the most authentic version of your brand so the true story can stand forward.

What story is your brand telling?

Storytelling Conclusions

Ready to unlock the potential of storytelling marketing in Springfield, Decatur, and Lincoln, Illinois? Let 1981 Digital be your trusted partner in crafting compelling brand narratives and captivating video content. Our team of experts will help you connect with your local audience, boost your online presence, and drive meaningful engagement. Take the first step towards success by contacting 1981 Digital today and discover how we can elevate your brand’s storytelling in Springfield, Decatur, and Lincoln, Illinois.

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