digital marketing story

Storytelling is one of the founding concepts of marketing. Rather than just throwing products or prices at consumers, telling an impactful story is one of the best possible ways to truly make an impact. Not every brand is good at this practice, but it’s an integral skill and an element of any successful marketing campaign.

Let’s use the example of a recent Budweiser ad starring NBA player Dwayne Wade. Sure, the commercial is meant to advertise Budweiser, with a play on their time-tested slogan “This Bud’s for you”. However, this commercial told a story, going down in the books as yet another success story for the beer juggernaut.

The ad tells the story of the impact Wade has had on different people throughout his career. From his mother, whom he supported when he made it big in the NBA, to a girl who memorialized her brother whose life was taken in the Parkland school shooting, Wade was presented with mementos as a gesture of thanks.

The impact was felt far and wide as the video quickly went viral, reaching millions within hours. This form of storytelling could easily have been perceived as gratuitous or self-serving. But when done correctly, it has the opposite effect as it stirs an emotional response in the viewer.  Telling a story in marketing serves many purposes. First, it gives consumers the opportunity to consume content that isn’t just all about sales. Second, the story helps align consumers with the core values of the brand.

In Budweiser’s instance, they wanted to drive home the far-reaching impact that public figures can have, and how much others look up to them. This story makes far more sense than simply an ad showing a variety of beer which isn’t nearly as interesting nor as captivating.

So, then, how does a brand conceptualize a story that will make a lasting impact on consumers? Bearing in mind that the concept must be done in taste and with tact, it’s beneficial to do some digging into concepts that will resonate and that also align with the brand’s core values.

Developing a story can be simple, though. Fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A recently used a campaign that featured small, simple stories from customers who had a positive experience with an employee who went above and beyond their job description. This marketing campaign resulted in a simple yet impactful series of short stories that showed how much employees cared about making their customers’ experiences meaningful.

So it may not take too much guesswork to land on a story that will be a springboard for an impactful marketing campaign. If nothing else, finding a way to tell the story of why a business exists is often a successful choice. Perhaps the company’s founder saw a pain point in the market based on personal experiences. Telling this story brings the founder and, as a result, the company onto a more relatable field from the consumer’s perspective.

Finding a way to tell a story is a skill that most marketing professionals are constantly working to improve. After all, marketing isn’t just about making sales and telling people to purchase a product or service. Of course, that is one of the main goals, but the path to achieve this goal is often different. Get creative, think outside the box, and use past examples as precedent for great, impactful storytelling.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5W Public Relations

Ronn Torossian

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.