Why Brands Are Switching to Narrative Marketing
Generic Burger Joint sells about 20% of the burgers in Anytown, USA.
Andrew Nemo started a tiny burger shack at 18 with a loan from his dad, George. Andrew claimed that a great burger is an art that you can’t automate. His burger chain now sells 50,000 burgers a day.
Okay, now count to ten in your head.
What do you remember about Generic Burger Joint? Probably nothing.
How about Andrew Nemo? Odds are good you can tell a fairly accurate version of his story.
That difference is a part of why brands are switching to narrative marketing. So let’s dig a little deeper.
Millenials Reject Traditional Marketing
Millenials are on their way to becoming a major power buying group. They also reject traditional marketing like ads.
If traditional approaches don’t work, brands need a new approach to capture millennial attention. Enter the value-added content, which is one angle on narrative marketing.
The idea behind value added content is that it’s inherently valuable. So let’s say a dish soap brand makes some value-added content in the form of a YouTube series.
Instead of making ads, the brand develops scripts and builds a legitimate story. People watch for the story and the brand can place its products in scenes. Alternately, they can front load the branding by saying, “Presented by AmazoClean Dish Soap,” at the beginning of each episode.
Narratives Create Emotional Responses
People invest emotionally in stories and stories can even shape emotional responses.
Say you own pest control websites. A traditional ad would show your product killing the pests. There’s one minor problem.
Pests revolt people and dead things revolt people. So showing people dead pests is probably going to overwhelm them with disgust.
What if you give people a story about how these pests showed up out of the blue and how much it disturbs Jenny, the devoted mom? Suddenly, people care about Jenny and her plight. If your product helps her resolve the infestation, we’re happy for her.
Those good feelings carry over to the brand.
It Humanizes Endorsement
Let’s say you talk someone famous into endorsing your brand. It can help sales.
Now let’s say your famous person endorses it by talking about how they use the product to improve their life. You get an instant two-for-one.
You get the power of the endorsement itself, but you also get the benefits of the story too. That combo becomes a permanent feature of your brand.
Parting Thoughts on Narrative Marketing
Brands have several good reasons for adopting narrative marketing.
Millenials dismiss traditional forms of marketing, so brands need new inroads with that buying group.
Stories evoke emotional responses from listeners or viewers. We invest in characters and stories. Brands can turn the investment into good feelings about the brand with the right story.
Stories can add a humanizing layer to celebrity endorsements. The brand gets the celeb boost and the emotional bonuses of a story.
If you’re struggling with how you might employ narrative marketing, there are other approaches. Take a look at this post on making data-driven content for some ideas.