The Power of Storytelling in Marketing

Blog post by: Ashley Sledge, Baer Performance Marketing Intern

Everybody has a story and different experiences they face throughout their lifetime. The current world population is over 7 billion, and that means billions of stories—from various backgrounds, cultures, and religions—are waiting to be heard.

Storytelling can be an effective way to teach and help bring a sense of unity. When people share their stories, it helps others see life through a different lens—what many call “walking in someone else’s shoes.”

When a company gives details of its history, day-to-day operations, or customer experiences, perhaps even including hardships the organization or its employees have faced, it helps it grow closer with the audiences with whom it is communicating. Conveying a more vulnerable side of the brand and sharing stories with customers, prospective customers, and business partners will create more of an emotional connection and build trust.

Studies have shown the human brain responds to stories on a much deeper level than facts or data. This is called neutral coupling and can lead to a “mirroring effect,” promoting connection and empathy. These emotions can then, in turn, drive buying behavior. Plus, when consumers feel like they have things in common with a brand, they are more likely and willing to support a business.

Using research reported in the New York Times, Neil Patel wrote about the science of storytelling at KISSmetrics: “The human brain responds to the descriptive power of stories in deeply affecting ways, influencing both the sensory and motor cortex. To read a story is to feel an experience and to synchronize our minds with the subject of the story.”

Airbnb is a great example of a company that believes in the power of storytelling. To help them differentiate their brand in the industry, they introduced the philosophy of “belonging anywhere.”  The company explained that many people believed they were just focused on “renting houses,” but Airbnb aspires to be a company with customers who feel a sense of belonging wherever they go in the world. To that end, they launched an experience-focused campaign encouraging customers to share their personal travel stories with one another. Through the stories being shared, people see and feel that Airbnb wants to ensure its customers feel like they belong and can be themselves wherever they travel.

We encourage you to share a story related to your business on the Baer Performance Marketing Facebook Page or your own social media pages. You never know who you might empower, teach, and inspire to do the same.