Stop Advertising and Start Telling Stories

PUBLISHED: June 1, 2017

You finally pulled the trigger and purchased a quarter page ad in a local newspaper or activated that Google AdWords account that has been dormant for months. You are bold and determined to get your brand seen by more eyeballs. Bravo.

But let’s back up a bit. What’s the hook? What are you going to say? What’s your story?

We all know the power of storytelling. Campfire ghost stories in the dark to well-crafted best man toasts at a wedding — a great story sparks emotion and captures the audience in a way only our imagination limits us. Stories create an emotional bond with your audience that penetrate deeper and more profoundly than the typical transactional connection.

Of course there is a catch. These poetic investments in storytelling are not always measured in conclusive ROI data versus the perpetual bidding of keywords in your AdWords account. I argue that the value storytelling is seemingly more valuable to the consumer than we can even imagine.

For example, a video posted on your website that speaks about an exceptional customer experience may have millions of YouTube views which don’t exactly correlate to sales via your lead generation system. However, your television commercial with a specific promo code that ran on the nightly news generated a nice up-tick in revenue. Was your YouTube testimonial influential in the buying process? Most likely yes, because consumers look for validation in their beliefs, a third-party endorsement, but there is no clear tractability to sales thru brand awareness campaigns.

In short, it’s a balance. Promote too hard and you alienate your foundation of believers. Don’t push enough and you will lose the new prospects.

A few tricks of the trade:

  1. Promote a lifestyle of your brand: Use imagery and copy that describe how your audience will engage with your product on an everyday, relatable level.
  2. Go 50/50: Whether you are advertising on Facebook with multiple campaigns or placing a single print ad, the rule of thumb is 50% brand awareness, 50% promotion. Devise two social media campaigns that are strategically founded in one or the other. Or visually split the ad – perhaps the image is focused on brand awareness but the copy is all about your differentiating factors.
  3. Watch the Trends: Analyze your sales data along with industry trends to align your messaging (and media buys) with peak seasonal buying periods. In the low season, focus on creating awareness for your brand.

In an ideal world, you want your brand to be recognized for the same words you use as your core values. Your marketing should be an extension of these fundamentals portrayed in a consumer-friendly manner. After all, the more recognizable your brand is in the marketplace, the more brand value it warrants.

Published online at Community Newspapers.

About Brand Poets

Founded by Tana M. Llinas, Brand Poets is a collective of strategists, storytellers, and digital artisans crafting smart, poignant campaigns that command attention.


Industry insights you won’t delete. Delivered to your inbox.

Thanks for contacting us!

Skip to content