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  • A smart storytelling marketing tactic

    Storytelling is fundamental to every culture. Stories work in marketing because everyone understands what a story is about.

    When the story is highly relevant to the needs and interests of the audience, it’s a powerful and persuasive way to convey information.

    Stories have a plot, characters, and a narrative point of view. The mostly highly viewed YouTube ads – the Volkswagen and T-Mobile spots combine these elements brilliantly.


    As a marketing strategist, I believe there are seven characteristics of a great marketing and advertising story:

    1. It’s engaging: The viewer is immediately drawn into the scenario. Something interesting is happening and you want to know what it is.
    2. It’s emotional: The best advertising stories make you feel something: Empathy, humor, joy, tension, excitement.
    3. It’s memorable: You get it and can’t forget it.
    4. It’s easy to retell: You can describe the basic scenario in one sentence.
    5. It has a plot: There’s a beginning, middle, and end.
    6. There’s an element of suspense: You have to stick with the ad to see how the story will turn out.
    7. Most important, the product plays a pivotal role: The product is woven into the story so well that the story couldn’t be told with it.

    Storytelling can be a smart marketing tactic  for almost any marketer and great stories don’t have to be told just on TV.

    To create dynamic marketing stories like these, I advise clients of my marketing consulting firm to think about the following:

    • How are your products or services used? What stories might your customers tell? Plot out the scenarios and explore how to make these scenarios interesting to prospects.
    • Who are your customers? What type of character is your customer? Use real-life case studies to showcase customers as themselves or create similar characters prospects can relate to.
    • What emotions do people feel when they use your products or services? Do your customers feel confident, safe, happy, relieved, excited, satisfied, proud? Capture these emotions in the stories you tell.
    • What is your product’s role? How does your product enable your customers to achieve success? Build your stories around the benefits of what you sell.

    A final tip: Don’t make the mistake of telling such a great story that the product gets lost in the narrative