We Turn the Page on the Art of Storytelling in Advertising
Like it or not, humans purchase products on ads based on emotion (mostly because we have hearts). And nothing pulls on the heartstrings of emotion like a killer story.
As a copywriter who came from a creative nonfiction writing background, I clung to the rungs of good story building and storytelling when it came to creating impactful ad messaging for a brand. The same basic things apply: you want your audience to identify with your story, to be impacted by your story and to never forget it. That’s how good stories sell – no matter if it’s perfect bound or digitally mastered.
Because, after all, statistics on a product can only reach your audience as far as the numbers reach in reality. Storytelling goes further to tell you why those numbers matter. Here are the fundamentals of strong ads storytelling:
Nothing sucks you into a story more than a main character that you believe in, and same goes for the heartbeat of your ad message. It won’t take long for your audience to connect to a protagonist who is true, who is believably struggling to overcome a challenge, celebrating a triumph, or recovering from defeat – not just gliding through life in stagnant lines of dialogue and backstory.
A great story should make your audience laugh or cry or feel inspired. Those universal emotions are, well, relatable. And the beauty of relatable characters, or the “who” in an ad story, are that they open the book to the “who cares?” for your audience – and your product.
Structure Your Plot
Just like any story, fiction or non, an ad’s story should be anchored in a plot that beautifully unfolds right before your eyes (or ears). The structure starts with a strong hook, continues with a hefty middle to sustain the weight of that powerful hook, and then ends with a bang. Nothing that will sustain injuries, but an ending that’s memorable. After all, that’s what gets people talking about it by word of mouth – your words, their mouths – and that’s the cheapest kind of advertising.
The plot elements that intermingle between the beginning and end that are some of the greatest in storytelling are the use of details and description. The more generalized your narrative, the less emotional association from your audience. For example, there’s a relatable statement like this, “My days are so busy as a mom.” Not bad, but to really make it pop, add in the details: “My days are so busy as a mom. From countless loads of laundry to carpools to soccer practice to cooking dinner to homework projects due tomorrow.” Those are details that resonate and pack more of a punch.
Your story plot focus on the one day that was different from the rest – the “once upon a time” effect until your product comes along to save the day. Your story plot is more than your mission statement. It has a pulse.
Give It Some Personality, Honestly
It’s not only important what you say but how you say it. Storytelling requires writing the kind of language and tonality that is truthful. If not, your audience will see right through the BS. And if your audience isn’t buying your story, they’re not going to buy your product. People these days are making ultra-conscious decisions on purchases, so honesty (and your brand value) pays.
Leave Them Wanting More
Your story shouldn’t end with the ad itself. Storytelling should live, breathe and move through all mediums, from TV to print to social media. If your story is a good one, it could even be one that lives on to be passed down from one generation to the next. That’s the ad story of legends.
If you’d like to us to help you tell your story, give us a call at 843.222.0605 to schedule an appointment.