4 storytelling rules for your digital marketing team

This device isn’t a spaceship. It’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the Wheel. It’s called a Carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Around and around, and back home again to a place where we know we are loved.” Don Draper, Mad Men

We all remember the now iconic scene in the first season finale of Mad Men, in which Don Draper gives his marketing pitch to Kodak. In the midst of his own family crisis, Don sells Kodak’s product as a nostalgia device that lets people remember their loved ones. After the pitch, Kodak cancels its meetings with other agencies and gives Sterling Cooper its business.

Not only is this the quintessential Mad Men scene, it’s also the best example of how to use storytelling to sell products. Don forgoes intellectualism and instead situates the product within a relatable emotional context, getting to the heart of why people would want to buy it, and perhaps more importantly, why they would want to associate with Kodak. It’s not something they’ll think about, but something they’ll feel.

Storytelling is a proven marketing success that too many digital marketing teams aren’t taking seriously. As Dale Lovell, Chief Digital Officer at Adyoulike puts it, “One of the biggest mistakes marketing teams make when it comes to storytelling is not telling a story at all. They concentrate on price points, an offer proposal or standard product information, forgetting to tell any sort of story behind the product.” We asked Lovell to share his thoughts on storytelling with us, and he offers many insights that can be useful to digital marketing teams.

Expert: Dale Lovell

4 storytelling rules for your digital marketing team

Site: Adyoulike

So what makes an effective story? How can digital marketing teams ensure that their efforts are successful?Indeed, many of the same storytelling rules that apply to cinema and literature also apply to marketing. Below we highlight 4 storytelling rules that every digital marketing team should follow.

4 storytelling rules for your digital marketing team: 

1. Know your audience 

It’s important to know your audience so you understand the stories that will resonate with them. Which demographic are you trying to reach with your product or service? To whom do you want to establish your brand? Answer these questions before you come up with your story.

2. Understand your medium  

Digital technology has changed marketing practices and it’s also changed the way we tell stories. As you come up with your storytelling campaign, keep in mind that different mediums may require different approaches. You may reach one demographic on LinkedIn and another on Twitter. YouTube is good for audiovisual content, but blog posts require the written word.

3. Appeal to emotions 

The psychology for storytelling couldn’t be clearer: it works because it appeals to the audience’s emotions. According to Lovell, “the best creative ideas convey an emotional response,” and he highlights Coca-Cola as one brand that does this effectively. Is it any wonder, then, that Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men, chose to end the series with Coca-Cola’s iconic 1971 Hilltop ad? Weiner praises it as “the best ad ever made,” and points to his intense emotional response to the ad as a child for the reason why he never forgot it.

4. Embrace conflict and resolution 

Every story you create must have a beginning, a middle and an end. You must establish a perceived problem and then show how your business can solve the problem.

When digital marketing teams use storytelling, they establish a productive relationship with potential consumers. Lovell calls it “a golden time for the advent of storytelling in marketing,” but digital marketing teams can only take advantage of this if they comprehend the important relationship between marketing, creativity and emotion. We’d love to know: Does your digital marketing team use storytelling, and if so, what are the results?

Modern disruptors: Storytelling and engagement is incredibly important these days because technology is disrupting traditional marketing channels and the way we used to do things. Read more about New Technology Disrupting Digital Marketing here from Spiralytics.

About Dale Lovell: Lovell is Chief Digital Officer at Adyoulike. Prior to Adyoulike, Lovell was co-founder of Content Amp, a content marketing service that merged with Adyoulike in March 2014. Lovell is an experienced content marketer, online editor, publisher and media professional. 

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