Are You Sitting Comfortably? – Ruth Dutton
“And she pricked her finger on that spinning wheel as the fairy foretold and fell into a deep
sleep that would last for 100 years”.
Do you recognise the story? Unless you have young children, I’m sure that the last time you
heard it was many years ago, but I bet that you remember the tale of Sleeping Beauty and
her spinning wheel.
This is because stories are powerful. They evoke an emotional response from us – be it
laughter, tears, or horror – and a really good story leaves us wanting to find out more.
It is also why so many big brands use stories to sell their products. When you watch a TV
ad, look at how few of them feature the actual product they are advertising. Instead, they
weave a tale about a woman escaping from her life (usually perfume), people living out an
adventure (often cars), or a boy watching the snails in his garden (bizarrely, this one was for
A good storyline makes things relatable. Unbelievable situations or unattainable products
and lifestyles become a possibility as the storyline unfolds, helping us to imagine ourselves
in that idyllic situation. We picture ourselves as a powerful superhero, with the cleanest
house, or the most desirable partner, or with the fastest or most ecological car.
(Even proper neuroscientific research validates that stories can sway opinion and even
Make Stories an Integral Part of Your Marketing Arsenal:
The power of stories offers us business owners a fantastic way of emotionally connecting
with our customers. Instead of explaining the features of your products or services, why not
highlight the benefits of choosing your brand?
Use case studies, testimonials, and real-life examples to bring your products to life. And if it’s
not appropriate to use these – because of confidentiality or commercially sensitive
information – then create a fictional character that reflects your ideal customer (which, let’s
face it, is probably the most profitable customer) who tells their stories so there isn’t any
TOP TIP! Include Lots of Emotional Detail:
When you choose a story to tell, include lots of details that elicit an emotional response and
help your customers to relate to what you are saying.
For example, if you sell sofas don’t have your customer character say, “I couldn’t find a sofa
that I liked,” instead pique people’s interest by saying something like this:
“Like Goldilocks, every sofa I sat on wasn’t quite right. One was too hard but would be
perfect for a dentist’s waiting room, one was too soft and made my back ache, and one was
literally the colour of baby sick – yuk!”
It’s the detail that delivers the emotional pull to the story.
Use Your Imagination & Be Creative When Presenting Your Story:
You may choose to present your story in a written form such as in blogs or articles, but there
are many different ways to share a tale. You could create a video (remember, Google loves
video content!), an animation, an infographic, or if you’re feeling adventurous, in a song or
comic strip illustration! Each person absorbs information in different ways so the ultimate
would be a combination of all of these, building on one another to spread the benefits of your
Here’s your challenge:
So next time you hear someone say that you need more ‘content’ in relation to your
marketing – be a storyteller, a weaver of dreams, and watch your business soar!