What Is Storytelling

Storytelling | 09th October 2017

“Content marketing is all about telling a compelling story”
– Joe Pulizzi 


The human being is a unique animal endowed with the ability to create stories. From the times we started to have the aptitude to register events, they became part of our culture. Even though these stories have evolved immensely, from the era of the fire flames in caves up to the light emitted by our screens, one thing is for sure: there is an art behind telling them, and so there is storytelling.

Storytelling can be simply summed up as a narrative, nonetheless this concept has much more profound and encompassing routes, since it requires a good story and, also, the ability to know how to tell it. In other words, storytelling joins the wisdom of building a narrative with the wisdom of showing it in a way that it is capable of attracting an audience.

We are in the presence of a good storytelling when we just want to read one more chapter (even if our eyes are already tired), when we just want to watch one more episode (even it is already early in the morning on a weekday) or when we want to look for and find other mediums in which an idea is continued (like, for instance, on a marketing and communication message).

Briefly put, storytelling is the art of knowing how to tell a story, adapting in the best way possible to fit its channel, in order to draw the attention of the target audience.

storytelling draws the attention of target audience

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The usual video marketing and the video marketing 2.0

As already mentioned, a narrative is much more effective with storytelling. If we decide to extrapolate this concept, we easily understand that a video becomes much more effective if it also relies on storytelling. In other words, we can turn the marketing tools into something much more effective if we complement those with the art of knowing how to tell a story.

When an institution conceives a video, sometimes it does not have the much-needed detachment to create an interesting narrative, capable of drawing the target audience’s attention. Storytelling inverts this situation by turning the content into something appealing. Actually, Google Analytics proves that there is a growing interest from the audience for this concept.

Storytelling in motion is a tool that uses motion design in order to attain a story that everyone wants to watch and listen to. It can be created from scratch, or it can be applied to an already existing video, making the digital marketing content more desirable.

We live in a digital era where communication marketing has a small time window to reach its destination. This moment is what determines if the contents end up as spam, or if they become viral messages. The difference between the two lies on the way we make the target audience deal with our message, in the short period we have to draw its attention.

a video becomes much more effective if it relies on storytelling

Marketing communication with soul

Nowadays, the bombardment of information is relentless in the interfaces we use, whether that is the phone, the computer, radio or TV. If we do not customize a message, probably the receiver will feel uninterested right away. Their defense against the constant barrage of information to which they are subjected is a quick filter of what is relevant or not. By making the communication more human, it is easier to create empathy between a brand and a person, as this shows the emotional facet of an institution.

All of us enjoy telling or listening to a good story. This sharing of information fosters an exchange of experiences which makes us learn, dream, laugh but, above all, they make us feel identified with the interlocutor.

By relying on storytelling, a company does not only tell a story, it shows it in all of its emotional dimensions. The interlocutor which, in this case, is the brand, creates proximity and harmony with the consumer, as explained by this article’s infographic.

Marketing communication, complemented with storytelling, opens the room for a humanization of the message. This way, it’s easier to draw the client’s attention as they will want to read one more chapter, watch one more episode, they will want to track your message, whatever the medium is.

Communication marketing creates empathy between a brand and a person

And they lived happily ever after

The world’s major brands are already taking advantage of storytelling in all its multiple shapes and traits. As already mentioned, storytelling has to be adapted to its medium and target audience, that is the only way it can have a guaranteed return. Lego is an example of a brand which used storytelling in a brilliant way. This company created a 90-minute ad, watched by children and adults without any breaks. We are talking about Lego movies, a set of stories and songs which were a tremendous success in terms of box office, brand positioning and, obviously, storytelling. This brand was able to create a plot around its product, ensuring that it reached the consumer’s home in a friendly manner.

Airbnb is another example of how smartly storytelling can be used. Known worldwide for providing a service where people can find accommodation in someone else’s house, this company used a segment of its British website, named “Stories from the Airbnb”, to share stories from the hosts who have their homes on this platform. Using short videos, we have access to a life of an unknown person. This way, we get acquainted with the life of individuals whom we did not know, but people that, in 5 minutes, become familiar. They are given a name, personal preferences, a full identity, but, even more important, they become people with a story.

This is the sort of storytelling that has been used throughout time to gather an audience. From Jesus Christ, who end up being immortalized and known for his speeches, loaded with parabolas and other figures of speech much to the delight of his listeners; to Hitler, whose public addresses were filled with passion in front of crowds that welcomed each word as an idea that had to be reached.

The existence of the human being goes hand in hand with the creation of stories, therefore one can easily reach the conclusion that marketing needs storytelling, and all of its art, to become a Story.

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