Narrative Marketing - Tell Your Success Story
The ability of companies to create intriguing stories about objects is a difficult process, but in the long run it is an undoubted advantage. Listening to thrilling stories has become an inherent part of social preferences. All kinds of narratives can be seen in every area of life - literature, philosophy or politics - and recently it has also become an integral part of the marketing strategy. So what is the significance of narrative marketing for companies and how does it affect their success?
Narrative marketing - ordinary items, extraordinary stories
Narrative marketing allows you to breathe new life into ordinary objects and places. Imagine you are looking for a house in a mountain village that you want to buy for your vacation. The seller shows you around a nice, if slightly neglected, wooden hut. In short - nothing extraordinary. However, your guide knows how to convince the undecided: he tells you the story of this place. You learn about the interesting fate of the people who once lived here, you learn the story of the builder of these walls. Suddenly, an ordinary house takes on value in your eyes, you notice its character and you feel a certain bond with previous tenants ... You do not think any longer - you shake the seller's hand and finalize the transaction.
This is why you can see a lot of seemingly common items at online auctions, which sell well thanks to an interesting description from the seller. That is why there are more crowded eating places - cafes, restaurants, confectioneries - behind which there is a story. This may be, for example, an interesting figure of the founder or documented visits from famous people.
The principles of narrative marketing were perfectly used, albeit unknowingly, by one of the users of the auction sites. He put up for sale an engagement ring to give to his fiancée. There would be nothing surprising about it, if not for the intriguing description of the product and the whole story behind it. The seller described that he wants to get rid of the ring at all costs, because it reminds him of an unhappy love affair and betrayal of his partner, and the object itself weighs on him like a curse and brings bad luck. As a consequence, a ring worth around PLN 500 was auctioned off for over PLN 1,000, and the factors that determined the success of the sale were the authentic and dramatic story and arousing sympathy.
Why is it worth using narrative marketing?
There are many arguments in favor of using storytelling. The most important of them are limited to five issues:
The story works better on the imagination and emotions of the recipient, and often refers to their needs. Contrary to numbers or obvious facts, it is remembered and creates the image of the brand or product in the eyes of the customer.
A good story distinguishes the brand from the competition and makes it unique.
The message of the story includes the so-called "Call to action", which inspires and encourages, for example, to buy a given product.
The undoubted advantage of storytelling is the ability to tell and pass on this story. In the era of growing popularization of social media, such an advantage means that the message can reach a wide audience, and as a result, building brand awareness increases.
Narrative marketing inspires more trust than advertising, which increases the chance of its effectiveness.
Storytelling, or how to tell a story to make others listen? - examples
The power of narrative marketing is great. It is therefore not surprising that the measure with which a good narrative works is the basis for content marketing. And this is just a step towards gaining the customer's trust and loyalty. How did brands take advantage of the advantages of storytelling, thanks to which they not only became recognizable, but above all, were able to attract enough interest in the product, and then induce them to buy it and induce a desire to share information about it with others?
Nike - a determined hero
The best example of the use of storytelling is the story of Nike, in which the founders of the brand, Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, were united not only by business fervor, but above all by a passion for sports. Before the brand became recognizable and functioned under its current name, the owners were initially selling footwear imported from Japan from the Onitsuka Tiger brand. At that time, they operated as Blue Ribbon, and a small garage served as an office, warehouse and shop. A breakthrough moment in the company's history was the end of cooperation with the Japanese and the desire to start business on their own footwear line, which in turn was associated with the change of the company's name and logotype, and - most importantly - the creation of a new, unique footwear. The very name "Nike" owes its origin to one of the employees who dreamed of the Greek goddess of victory. The dream turned out to be prophetic and successfully corresponded with the company's message, i.e. motivation to never give up and overcome your own weaknesses at all costs. The logo is also not accidental, simple and memorable, whose shape simply resembles the wing of the goddess Nike. Interestingly, the company paid the author only 35 dollars for its creation. Back then, no one thought that it would become a symbol recognized all over the world, not only by athletes. The last element of the brand's new strategy, crowning the success, was the product - unique footwear that would provide athletes with greater speed and better results. The idea to create a "waffle" sole, which would be light and provide grip, was born ... during breakfast. Well, the footwear design was inspired by the waffles that his wife served to Bowerman in the morning.
Over the years, the product was developed and it was constantly improved. However, since the launch of the first collection on the market, the company's message has remained unchanged - the shoes are intended for people who are determined to work on themselves, constantly improve themselves and do not give up. They achieve their intended goals and set new ones, which they strive to achieve at all costs.
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Self-narration and image building
Narrative marketing is not only about stories about objects or places - it's also about people's stories. We are talking about the so-called faces of the brand, usually its bosses and founders. The stories of today's powerful Silicon Valley companies (HP, Apple, etc.), set up in garages by enthusiasts and hackers, have become legendary. We should also mention the eccentric billionaire Richard Branson - the story of his crazy life is the driving force and the building block of the image of the Virgin corporation, which he manages.
Have you worked hard for your company's success? Are you proud that you created something out of nothing? Tell others about yourself, introduce yourself to potential clients - use narrative marketing. The story of your road to victory will inspire those who wish to reach the top. And business people like you will more easily trust you, feeling connected and shared by fate. You can also choose a different narrative - for example, storytelling about an "ordinary person". If others consider you (and your business) haughty and distant from the problems of average people, show that you are actually like them. Just remember not to fall into the grotesque!
Does narrative marketing make sense? - summary
Creating and telling a story in a way that draws attention is not an easy challenge. In the era of strong competition, it is increasingly difficult to find ways that will distinguish a brand from the rest. There is no doubt that narrative marketing is an effective tool for this purpose. The customer who decides to buy a product wants to believe that the one who buys is unique, behind him, apart from the technical parameters, there is an interesting story. A story you want to identify with. A story that responds to his needs and dreams. And finally a story that he will want to tell others.