Marketing and advertising are not synonymous terms. Advertising is a subset of techniques that fall under the category of marketing.
However in virtually all cases, marketing is synonymous with storytelling.
In some cases it is telling the story of a product or service, but in its best form, it’s telling the customer a story about themselves.
The following 3 reasons for storytelling are all rooted in the belief that good marketing, good storytelling, is about making your audience part of the story.
One of the most obvious reasons to use a story is to inspire a belief in something, mainly a belief in who we are. When you can unite people around a cause, a social object or any other movement, you create an opportunity for people to express their beliefs through their buying habits.
If you are the brand that gives back, it allows people to support you, because they believe themselves to be the type of person that gives back.
If you can get your audience to believe in something, you can influence their behavior.
Stories allow us to not only believe something about ourselves, but to identify with something so deeply that we continually support it, in spite of a superior product or service. Once a story captures our imaginations to such a degree that we begin to identify ourselves with phrases like “I only wear Puma,” or “I’m a Starbucks guy,” or “I’m proud to say I’m an Apple fanboy,” it becomes very difficult for another brand to capture that mindshare without an even more compelling story that causes the customer to rethink who they are.
The most successful brands continually reinforce the positioning by extending those stories through every customer touch point including customer service, advertising, and in-store experience.
Successful ad campaigns can often create belief and loyalty by creation tension between two options. A great example is the Samsung Galaxy commercials.
By poking fun at a competitor, it allows every person watching to choose their side. If you are an Apple fan, you are irritated by the suggestion that you are some sort of sheep, waiting in line for an “inferior product.” Meanwhile, if you are an Android fan, or better yet, Anti-Apple, you identify with the advertisers and choose to side emotionally with Samsung. This tension has been used for decades in advertising to create a scenario where the audience needs to pick sides.
What story do you tell?
It’s not enough to just copy another company. It’s not enough to copy-paste a tactic into the marketing mix.
To truly succeed in marketing, understand your audience, and figure out what they believe about themselves, create tension between your own company and a competitor, and work toward building loyalty through consistent storytelling at every interaction.