At the beginning of the year, Forbes published an article, Social Media And Content Marketing Trends That Will Shape 2018, which presented not only the trends, but the challenges marketing teams are bound to face. One of the most foreseeable challenges is “oversaturation,” due to the massive amount of different platforms and potential ways for content to be presented to the consumer. Forbes states:

“The increased spending on gaining higher click-through rates both in search and video advertising on social media has grown to new heights, but has reached a considerable level of saturation in terms of content quality. The challenge of coming up with relevant but shareable and interesting content among a pool of video ads is now a challenge.”

Essentially, it is becoming more and more difficult for marketing teams to develop content that is worth watching, listening to, reading, etc. One of the most effective ways to gain attention from consumers who are accustomed to mindless advertising is by sharing a story they can connect to.

Storytelling has always been a crucial aspect of content marketing, but the content of the story and how it affects people is what truly distinguishes a successful campaign. In his TED Talk The Clues to a Great Story, Andrew Stanton states:

“The children’s television host Mr. Rogers always carried in his wallet a quote from a social worker that said, ‘Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.’ And the way I like to interpret that is probably the greatest story commandment, which is ‘Make me care’ – please, emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically, just make me care. We all know what it’s like to not care. You’ve gone through hundreds of TV channels, just switching channel after channel, and then suddenly you actually stop on one. It’s already halfway over, but something’s caught you and you’re drawn in and you care. That’s not by chance, that’s by design.”

A perfect example of this is Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign. One of the most memorable parts of the campaign is the Real Beauty Sketches video released in 2013. Multiple women enter a spacious, well-lit loft. From behind a crisp white curtain, the women describe themselves to a forensic sketch artist. Afterwards, the same women are asked to describe to the sketch artist a woman who they had met shortly prior. After the drawings are finished, the women are shown the drawing based on their own description of themselves, and the drawing based on the other woman’s description of them, side-by-side. Predictably, the drawings based on others’ descriptions are considerably more complimentary than the drawings based on their own descriptions of themselves. The moral of the story is clear: How we view ourselves is far more harsh and unforgiving than the way others view us.

Realistically, all you need to know about Dove is what products they offer, how much they cost, and where to purchase them. This isn’t nearly as appealing to the consumer, though. Consumers want to be sold an attitude and a way of life, not just a product. If you watch the video, you’ll notice that Dove’s brand is never mentioned. In fact, the brand logo is not even shown until the very end. This tactic is brilliant – by telling the story, feelings are evoked that consumers in turn associate with the brand. By producing a video like this, Dove is making a stance that they are motivated to revise the shallow norms of the media (and by buying their product, you are too).

In this way, storytelling is a remarkably effective method of marketing. As the following infographic created by OneSpot proves, there is a science behind storytelling that makes it so inherently effective:

(Source: https://www.onespot.com/resources/the-science-of-storytelling/)

Using storytelling allows marketing campaigns to reach their target audience on a far deeper and subconscious level. An engaging and emotional story keeps our attention and remains in our memory far longer than we realize. Consumers purchase products and services that align with their lifestyle or beliefs due to a story they have been sold – not a product.

To better understand the factors that most consistently contribute to success for content marketers and the businesses they support, download the report: Best-in-Class Content Marketing: Align, Acquire, Adapt.


Jessica Burns head shotJessica Burns is a blogger and communications professional.



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