Clare Moorhouse

The power of storytelling in B2B marketing

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Once upon a time, there lived a heroic marketer called Stanley. He had been sent by the King of Cassington to create a compelling content idea that would encourage the people of Cassington to buy pots of Torpingtons – delicious fat free chocolate. The trouble was, the pots of Torpingtons were already being sold by Sid Bullwinkle – the sneakiest and greediest villain who ever lived!

Stanley knew that to truly engage with his audience, he needed to use a different tactic, one that Sid Bullwinkle didn’t know about. Then one day, Stanley remembered a magical secret that was as old as time – ‘storytelling’. He remembered its powerful magic, the way it commanded attention and created an emotional response from everyone who heard it. Stanley decided to use the power of storytelling to sell pots of Torpingtons. He created characters who the people of Cassington could relate to, and  let them know that unless they consumed pots and pots of Torpingtons they would never experience the taste of delicious chocolate ever again.

Within just three months, Stanley sold five million pots of Torpingtons, making the King of Cassington the richest king in the land. Stanley received a prize for the most innovative B2B marketer that ever lived, and everyone lived happily ever after.

 

Everyone remembers a good story. We can all remember our favourite fairytale from childhood, and some of the best advertisements have been those that have used storytelling. Stories have the power to engage and influence an audience, and trigger strong emotions. Whether sharing real life stories, creating interesting characters or using a visual piece of content to communicate a message, storytelling is about finding ways to integrate your brand’s story, values and audience into a compelling narrative. What’s great about storytelling is that it can be utilised in a range of diverse content types from video to animations, photographs, images and even presentations.

But what is it about storytelling that captures attention and pulls our heartstrings to take a desired action (like making a purchase, calling a sales person, downloading or subscribing)? We’ve identified several key components that make storytelling a powerful and popular content marketing tactic.

Emotional response
Some people buy for emotional reasons, rather than for logical reasons – which is why many stories win the hearts of their customers by eliciting an emotion response. This video we created on behalf of Novartis uses impactful narrative to instill the ‘fear factor’ during the peak flu season in order to encourage the entire family to be vaccinated against the potentially deadly flu virus.

Create characters
Characters are essential in storytelling because they bring a story to life. They also help us to remember stories. The more your audience can relate to the character, the more the story is likely to resonate with them – making them naturally want to take action. One of the most popular characters in recent years is the meerkat characters who established the compare the market brand, and brought to life a price comparison website.

Narrative first, product second
Good storytellers understand the importance of shifting the focus away from dry sales messages by using strong characters to tell a story – ideally a humorous or thought provoking one. They build a drama around a problem rather than focus purely on the product or service, and a good example of this is from Taulia – a cloud-based invoice and payment solution provider – who created a video that uses humour to get customers to connect with their brand.

Taulia – Early Payment Discounts from TeKino on Vimeo.

Tell your brand’s story
We’re more likely to connect with brands when we know their story. This infographic and animation we created on behalf of Adobe takes the audience on a journey by telling the chronological story of the Adobe Creative Cloud in an interactive and engaging way.

Creating powerful storytelling content requires creative skill, an insight into the target audience, as well as an understanding of the most appropriate channels that can effectively bring your story to life. For more insight into the power of storytelling, and how it can bring your brand to life, contact Torpedo.

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