13 Great Story and Storytelling Examples to Study
Do you like to hear a great story? How about telling stories? Employing awesome storytelling. Stories and storytelling examples are a great way to help spread ideas for creative marketing. Here we will share two great story and storytelling examples to illustrate the how’s and why of these techniques.
The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.
– Edwin Schlosberg
Have you noticed that facts are meaningless without a contextual story? Don’t tell facts to influence, tell stories. The more you improve storytelling, the more your influence … it is as simple as that.
Stories make it easier for people to understand. And therefore they are the best way, by far, to spread your ideas.
Great storytelling and stories are a very integral part of being persuasive. If you want to persuade your customers and create a memorable experience at the same time, you must master the psychology of storytelling.
Stories are a great means for sharing and interpreting experiences, and great experiences have this innate ability to change the way in which we view our world.
One of my favorite experts in storytelling is Karen Dietz. Earlier this year she wrote an interesting blog about fractal storytelling. Here is a short exerpt:
I know you are wondering, “What the heck is Fractal Storytelling!?” It’s the basic idea that stories people tell in organizations do not exist in isolation, they are always part of a larger shared story. Stories in an organization are linked together, parts of a greater whole.
Storytelling, when properly practiced, pulls people into a dialogue. It’s about engagement and interaction. The audience is just as active a participant as the storyteller. In contrast, many companies and brands still relentlessly push messages to their employees and into the marketplace without meaningful context or relevancy.
Here are two awesome story examples that illustrate many of the key points on stories and storytelling:
Story and storytelling examples … the Google reunion video
Have you seen the Google Reunion video where a story is told of long lost friends? The video was made by Google India, and the point, of course, is to promote Google Search. But it also reaches a new level of what can be done with the value of creative stories.
If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here …a short 3+ minutes.
The story is this: a man in Delhi tells his granddaughter about his childhood friend, Yusuf. He hasn’t seen Yusuf since the Partition of India in 1947, when India and Pakistan became separate countries and the two friends were forced to separate. The man’s granddaughter arranges for the two to meet again.
The story is simple and direct. It’s beautiful, and honest, and true. The photography is spectacular. The music adds to the very good acting.
Do you use stories in your customer engagement … or perhaps in marketing messages?
Creative story lessons
A lot of us are trying to figure out how to improve the use of storytelling as part of our marketing. Very few of us do it well. There are a several things to be learned from this excellent video:
This video is about as emotional as it gets. Stories like this provide a chance to experience a variety of emotions without the risk of those emotions themselves. Emotions like wonder, fear, courage, or love can be tested out in the minds of those as they listen to a story. You may remember the feelings of emotions which can trigger memories or create resolve as a result of hearing such stories. The experience of hearing stories can awaken portions of emotional lives that may have lain dormant or have not yet been explored.
Be dynamic with your stories like Google. Nothing is more important to narrative content than imagination, so give vivid descriptions and use emotional hooks and humor to get people fully engaged. This story definitely engages us, doesn’t it? Be creative, not only with words and images, but also with the methods you use to convey them. Like the music as well as the messages.
Well-told stories can help us to learn about other cultures, ideas and ways of thinking. They can provide opportunities to know how past generations responded to challenges. They can also let us know how new generations are encountering and dealing with similar opportunities or the new challenges they face. This video has some of each and then some. In the background is the partition of India, a painful episode in the history of India and Pakistan. These aren’t just two old friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time. This is a creative story that builds on some big forces: politics, religion, geography, nationalism.
If you really listen to your customers, like Google has, you can leverage their stories to drive your creativity. By analyzing their stories of how your products and services fit into their lives, you can gain valuable insight into their needs and desires, which can be hugely beneficial to other aspects of your business. Like product design and development and ongoing marketing strategy. The reunion has done that well don’t you think?
The brand can be central in the story
It’s obvious that this video is promoting Google. But the use of Google is woven into the narrative in a way that feels natural. It’s not intrusive, or forced. It works very effectively. Especially when it is not about Google but about Google customers. Simply about how people use Google products.
There are two messages in the video that are being driven home by Google. The first is that the work Google does is making a difference. It is making the world a better place by its search engine. But it’s not about technology. It’s about what people do with the technology. How they apply it to solve their problems.
The second message, while a definite subset of the first, is as important. That being the old world was one where people were driven apart. But there is a change in the old world where technology is ushering in a new world. This is a new world where people are brought together in a way that would not have existed a decade ago.
Guinness marketing strategy makes storytelling a big difference maker
Have you seen this Guinness marketing video? A significant change in the Guinness marketing strategy we believe. The strategy is using simple storytelling to gain our attention. Refreshing.
Let’s examine this video and strategy and what contributes to their strengths and weaknesses. We want to evaluate if it has the ability to influence and persuade with its storytelling.
Everyone hates TV commercials, and this is a well-known fact amongst the people who make TV commercials. Fortunately, a few brands and ad agencies are turning things around with genuine, heartfelt storytelling marketing. Guinness is trying to become one of these brands.
First, some comments about the video. Here is a link to the video to refresh you or for you to review in case you haven’t seen it.
As you can see, this Guinness ad veers away from the clichéd beer model and creates its own: beer-drinking, manly men that can be both strong and sensitive. It also creates an impactful and unique message promoting qualities like dedication, loyalty and friendship:
The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character.
Guinness is no stranger to effective video marketing. This new video reached three million views within four days of online release. A simple plot; a game of wheelchair basketball followed by a pint of Guinness. The twist is that only one of the men in the group is an actual wheelchair user – the rest, it seems, are his friends who are playing wheelchair basketball so that they can all play together.
Marketing or advertising, you need to create information that your customers find interesting and worth talking about and remembering. This video certainly achieves this goal, don’t you think?
Let’s evaluate other keys to this video and storytelling marketing strategy:
Ensure your story is relevant to the target market
Keep in mind that one message does not fit all. It starts with knowing your target market. Here the target market is young adults with a high focus on maturity. It focuses on the traits of friendship and sharing happiness. This video is certainly relevant to this market.
Grab and hold viewers’ attention
The Guinness goal is to hold the audience’s attention with interesting information. Keep in mind that people don’t watch ads … they watch what interests them. Your ad messages must be interesting to your target communities. This message certainly grabs and holds attention based on simple emotion.
Make your messages simple
Simple messages that the reader will quickly understand are the goal. Keep in mind that pictures are far more valuable than words. Videos, well, they do even better than pictures. Creating customer emotion does not get any simpler than this, does it?
This video from Guinness flips the switch by presenting a group of athletic, beer-drinking men who are defined as much by their kindness as their physical strength.
The spot’s “Made of More” message is refreshing, memorable and heartwarming—acting as a breath of fresh air within the beer industry.
Consider the end state values to your customers
Guinness’s marketing strategy has flipped traditional beer advertising on its head by getting rid of the template and telling a story – a real story – that connects with people.
The responses were overwhelmingly positive to customers and particularly the target customers who are looking for meaningful stories. The marketing strategy certainly is addressing this end state in our opinion.
Influence and persuasion
There is no better means of influence or persuasion than emotion. It is hands down the best, in our opinion. The video focuses on emotional appeal in grand fashion. They are saying that people who drink Guinness are decent people who are good to the core. This advert scores 10/10 for emotional engagement factor. It is the secret of this video’s message and story’s success.
Aaron Tube hit the nail on the head when he wrote:
“For the most part, [beer commercials] depict men as unfeeling doofuses who only want to hook up with hot women and watch sports without being bothered by their wives.
… Guinness flips the switch by presenting a group of athletic, beer-drinking men who are defined as much by their kindness as their physical strength.”
The reason I admire this story so much is simple: it’s different, thoughtful and has an unexpected ending. While many beer advertisements rely on slapstick humor, an overkill of masculinity and a simple message, “drink our beer,” this one takes a different approach. It is both effective and creative. The story’s “Made of More” message is refreshing, memorable and heartwarming—acting as a breath of fresh air within the beer industry.
Guinness has definitely taken advantage of this open opportunity in the beer marketplace—and they are doing it with style and class.
After looking over these enablers, we believe Guinness has created a very effective commercial. What do you think? Does this video story persuade you?
Key takeaways of these stories
Remember to watch for your own biases. We often see what we are looking for so don’t let that happen to you. And keep an open mind when you are working on the story.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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