“Stories are how we think. They are how we make meaning of life. Call them schemes, scripts, cognitive maps, mental models, metaphors, or narratives. Stories are how we explain how things work, how we make decisions, how we justify our decisions, how we persuade others, how we understand our place in the world, create our identities, and define and teach social values.”
– Psychology Today
Storytelling is at the core of human existence. Ancestors hundreds and thousands of years ago passed down stories to younger generations of people hungry for an understanding of the past, and a lens through which to view the present and future. But why? What makes storytelling so important to us today – more specifically, to our businesses?
Stories connect and engage people on an intimate level. A real connection happens when someone says, “Really? Me too!” – whether happy or sad, an emotional connection draws people together and gives them something to stand behind, together.
But how would this apply in the business world – to your business specifically? How would making an emotional connection with a potential customer take them from simply browsing your site to making a purchase, and ultimately, a higher ROI?
1. Build an Emotional Connection
Storytelling allows consumers to connect with your brand. When a consumer emotionally connects to your brand, you’re selling more than a product – you’re selling a feeling, an experience.
Take Disney World, for example. When a consumer purchases a ticket to Disney World, they’re not just buying admission into a theme park: they’re buying an emotional experience. They get to feel like a kid again and reminisce over past visits with their families and friends, or reminisce over their favorite fairytales and daring adventures portrayed in Disney movies. Disney creates a place where consumers can be immersed in an experience that takes them back to some of the happiest moments in their lives (and allows them to create new ones), increasing the connection between the consumer and the company.
2. Build Meaning
In addition to giving consumers a chance to connect to your brand through experiences, telling a story also builds meaning around your brand. What makes a company like TOMS so successful? Consumers know that by buying a pair of shoes, they’re helping someone in need, which leads to feeling good, which leads to increased meaning in the lives of those who support TOMS.
Companies that implement storytelling will more effectively connect with consumers, leading to brand growth, and greater ROI. By using storytelling to create an experience and build meaning around your business, you will flourish and build an incredibly strong customer base that not only wants to do business with you, but who is invested in the mission of your company.
So… what story is your brand telling?
Jenna Sasala is a Marketing Account Manager & Designer at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about her, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the Sparq team today.