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2024 Trend series: Storytelling levels up

Storytelling is the strategic use of narratives to connect emotionally to your audience – conveying key messages, values, and offerings in a memorable way. The practice has been around forever, accelerated with the digital revolution, and in 2024 will again be front and centre.

Nike is pioneer of the Storytelling strategy

What is storytelling?


Storytelling has been part of the marketing and communication mix for decades, gaining prominence in the 2000s powered by the digital revolution.


Rather than bombarding audiences with product features and benefits, Storytelling involves crafting a compelling and engaging story that resonates emotionally with your target audience - connecting on a deeper level and cutting through the noise to establish a brand's unique identity.

Evolution of bombarding customers to connecting

Why Storytelling works


Storytelling helps marketers link one brand launch or product enhancement to the next, it gives your marketing activity context and coherence.


It also bypasses your customer's (somewhat overwhelmed) rational brain, and connects on an emotional level to interests, dreams, and attitudes – far more motivating!


Who does it well?


Nike, Coca-Cola, and Apple were among the first to use Storytelling as a core strategy to convey their brand values, mission, and product narratives to consumers. But there are also some B2B superstars in the Storytelling game.


The "Customer Success Platform" campaign by Salesforce focuses on customer stories to highlight how businesses have used their platform to achieve success. They leverage case studies, testimonials, and videos showcasing real businesses and their growth with Salesforce.


Adobe's "CMO.com" platform delivers content-rich stories about marketing trends, insights, and strategies. They provide valuable resources through articles, case studies, and interviews, positioning Adobe as a thought leader in the marketing space.


And the ‘OG’ of B2B marketing best practice in my book, Maersk, created a series of documentaries called "The Triple-E: The World's Largest Ship" that detailed the construction and launch of their largest container ships. This storytelling approach gave insight into the company's operations and technology.


Each example leverages storytelling to connect with an audience, showcase real-world applications, and position as industry leaders while humanizing their brand narratives.


How to level up in 2024?


Here are four practical ways to level up your Storytelling strategy in 2024.


Tell your story


Be clear on the story you want to tell by being clear on your audience. Then ask yourself the following questions:


· What matters to our clients?

· Where are we the expert?

· Where is our opinion sought?


Listen up! Audio is key


There are many, many ways to bring your story to life across your marketing channels. One area that will become increasingly important in 2024 is audio.


Giving the option of digesting thought pieces, white papers, and blogs via audio, means clients are more likely to engage there and then with your long-form content, rather than it sitting on one of hundreds of open tabs or the “I’ll read this later never” list.


If you have the time and budget and topics to consistently create audio content, you might consider starting a podcast.


Unlike corporate websites that experience huge drop off rates or marketing e-newsletters that go unopened, 65% of all downloaded podcasts are actually listened to.


A quicker win is simply to offer an audio option on your website. Check out AI voiceover generators Listen2it and WebsiteVoice,


Short form video


As the below chart shows, marketers doubled down on short-form video in 2023.

Source: Hubspot

Whether you are a consumer brand using TikTok, or a B2B exploring new ways to use video, short form is the way to go. Afterall, our brains are all overloaded so the quicker and easier you can convey information, the better.


Some tips on creating short form video:


· Don’t try to be too polished, real people make real video

· Consider a series to really build that Storytelling angle

· And remember to include a call to action


Excite your audience


For your top tier content, invest in creating really beautiful stories.


Use what you have – images, archival film, charts, audio clips, infographics quotes.


Newsgroups are unsurprisingly leading the way here. For example, I love how CNN have used moving image, maps and more to bring the story of climber, Elvira Shatayeva, to life, here.

If you'd like to discuss your 2024 marketing strategy, you can contact me.


This blog is part of the 2024 Marketing Leader's Guide. Explore the trends and download helpful planning tools, here: https://pinkmingo.co.uk/2024-marketing

 

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