There were times when advertising used to be an art form, instead of a series of annoying pop-ups like it is today. With that said, inspiring people into action has become increasingly difficult. It’s hard enough getting people’s attention when they’re constantly flooded with an endless stream of content, let alone making it deep into their hearts and minds. But there is a common denominator between inspiring others and effective communication, and that is emotional storytelling.
Leading with emotion doesn’t always make rational sense, but like all matters of the heart, you know it when you feel it. The key word here is “feel” because people don’t think their way into a meaningful connection but rather give into an emotion that compels them to action. A purposeful story, rather than a polished presentation that appeals to reason, can plant the seeds for such a connection. Equally important is that a story not only engages an audience but also gets them to commit to your mission.
To get people to be raving fans/brand ambassadors that are involved in your company’s mission beyond the “about us” page, here are some elements of storytelling that should not be overlooked:
We all know the pains of being automatically directed to a robot over the phone, when what we’re looking for is human interaction for our customer service needs. An Accenture survey showed that 83% of U.S. consumers prefer dealing with a human through digital channels when it comes to customer service issues and getting advice.
This extends beyond virtual experiences, as in-store experiences are also highly valued amongst consumers: 46% of consumers surveyed were more willing to purchase new products when receiving a face-to-face service compared to an online service. Ultimately, people relate to other dynamic people, not facts and figures. Remember to make your service personal because customers are not only searching for efficiency and quality, they are also searching for people with whom to connect and identify.
A key pillar of our culture at True Film Production is human connection, be it through empathizing, storytelling or learning from one another. This core value of empathy often comes up in subtle scenarios at our office: We spend extra time communicating with our clients to understand their needs, we get to know their preferences and make arrangements accordingly, we check in periodically throughout our service delivery to see where it might be falling short and, most importantly, we go above and beyond in making sure that every client gets a finished product that they’re happy with.
There’s a reason why reality TV has more word of mouth than a scientific publication. The reason is that a cheating boyfriend scandal tugs at a person’s heartstrings more than a new discovery in scientific research. Regardless of the actual merits of your content, it’s important to remember that what sticks with people is the emotional environment you put them in, not the picture-perfect stats you hit them with. Make sure your story creates a sense of awe or surprise in the audience — because if it’s moving, it’s memorable.
For example, we created a story for our inspirational content channel about Blake Leeper, a double-leg amputee who defied all odds to become a two-time world-record holder. The story we told inspired millions, and with over three million views, it was more effective than just another “follow your dreams” slogan.
Inclusivity is an essential part of engagement. People don’t want to be innocent bystanders in a story — they want to take an active part in shaping the course of the narrative. This means that a brand has to be clear on its purpose but flexible in having people interpret its true north. Ultimately, it comes down to audience interaction and participation, because if people are taking part in your mission, they’re taking ownership of it, too.
A big part of achieving this participation is simply alignment. Pick and choose the clients/companies that are mission/purpose driven and have similar ideologies to yours. We find ourselves working with companies whose core values align with us, and a perfect example is a story we created for our client Club Med. Club Med did not just want to be known for its all-inclusive holidays; instead, it sought to take clients through an “experiential travel” journey. Those at the company knew that the best way to communicate a message is through storytelling, and since that approach matched our beliefs, we worked together in parallel and the video story we produced for them was phenomenal.
It comes as no surprise that shared experiences have the ability to connect us to other people on a much deeper level than shared consumption can. With that said, a brand that can create a personal story-making experience undoubtedly has an edge in building stronger bonds with its audience over the long term.
Whether you want to launch an idea, spark a movement or simply get people talking about what you do, you have one shot
at delivering your message in a way that matters. Let’s make sure you do it right.