We've heard it before: People remember stories, not messages. The classic children's stories we are all familiar with, such as "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," are often vehicles to deliver an important moral lesson. Wild and imaginative stories capture a child's attention, while subtly teaching them about how the world works. We remember the moral lessons through these stories, because we learn best when we have an emotional connection attached to the message.
Successful marketers understand this, and they incorporate storytelling into their campaigns. They know consumers will remember their brands through the stories they tell. However, simply stating marketers should incorporate storytelling into their marketing doesn't really get to the heart of the strategy. So let's break this concept down a little further to help marketers refine their approach.
When people talk about storytelling in the marketing context, they are generally referring to one of two types of treatments. One way is the linear treatment, where a story is told in a straightforward manner, and through which a great message is conveyed. The other method is a form of marketing through which we leverage the essence of storytelling.
1. Simple Storytelling—Linear Treatment
Let's discuss the linear treatment first. This is very straightforward: the message depends on the linear presentation of a complete story. The story is meant to stay with the audience long after the telling, so the full story in one viewing means maximum effect. The means of delivery must be fluid and cater to linear formats, so the obvious channels for this kind of storytelling are through video, TV or articles in the form of native ads (i.e. advertorials, such as The New York Time's Paid Posts like this one by Cole Hahn).
Linear storytelling is most effective to convey brand messaging or brand POVs, due to its effectiveness to evoke an emotional response and allow consumers to relate to your brand. To be clear, this method can deliver any type of message very effectively. But it may not be economical to produce a video for every one of your marketing initiatives or products (unless you are Vat19).