Ian Rowden, chief marketing officer of Virgin Group, once said, “The best brands are built on great stories.”
Great journalists know they need to find the human angle to their stories to capture their audiences. Storytelling has become a buzzword in the marketing world for good reason. Strong narratives that prioritize customers’ needs and show—in an interesting and compelling way—how a product or service can make their lives better resonate strongly with audiences.
Connecting your story with a real person makes your content relatable and authentic. For example, if you’re writing about a common challenge your customers encounter, consider using one of their stories (with their permission, of course). REI, a brand that celebrates outdoor life, does this well on Facebook, Instagram and its blog through the people who use its products. During a social campaign, REI asked its Instagram followers to share what they love about the outdoors. Responders ranged from Appalachian Trail hikers to weekend warriors. The brand then shared the most powerful and heartfelt stories on its blog.
The “Living Proof” advertising campaign by Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network in 2016 used unscripted scenarios with real patients and doctors to relate to its audience. Crossing platforms from television and mobile to social media and digital billboards, the ambitious campaign delivered 30 short stories on television and the internet in 30 days to show medical treatments available in Pittsburg. Each ad ended with a social hashtag accompanying the words “Living Proof.” The campaign worked well because these stories put real patients at the center of story and related their real-life experiences along with valuable information their audience needed.