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  • by Ilse House

The captive audience isn’t captivated anymore. Use storytelling to add meaning to your advertising.

I attended a seminar recently on storytelling and its impact in advertising. Storytelling has gained some traction recently in the marketing world. The new buzzword is not a new concept by any means. It has been around since the dawn of man. With the invention of TV and radio, there was a captive audience that could be easily influenced. I believe this encouraged advertisers to get a little lazy for a few decades. Success was all about the numbers. Throw enough money at it and you would get a return.

But times change. The captive audience isn’t so captivated anymore. More and more viewers are adamantly seeking to avoid any advertising whatsoever. Many pay extra for ads to go away. New eMarketer Report says ad blocking is expected to grow 34% this year to nearly 70 million U.S. web users. Premium programming subscriptions are without ads. Devices will record TV programming allowing audiences to fast forward through the commercials. People do not want unsolicited advertising. They want to have the freedom to come to you if you earn their attention and valuable time. Advertisers need to connect in a different way to be successful.

Storytelling is a powerful tool to connect to your audience. Some advertisers are rediscovering this strategy. Here are some key points I want to pass along for creating your story.

Find the why: Why do people care? Why would they care? Why do you make your thing-a-bob? Why do people buy your thing-a-bob? Why do people work for you to build your thing-a-bob? Why is your thing-a-bob special? And so on. Dig deep to discover meaningful answers. This is where you find the roots to your story. Take the points worth developing and create a story that resonates with your audience.

Embrace truth: Mamma taught you never to lie. People can tell when you are not being truthful. It is a survival trait built into us designed to keep us safe (‘cause liars hurt you.) And once you are caught being less that truthful, you’re done. Finished. Kaput. Very rarely do consumers give you a second try. They don’t have to. I would like to point out that if you have to lie to make your thing-a-bob special, maybe you need to rethink your thing-a-bob and remake it to be special.

Be Authentic: This is where the heart is. People will usually relate to those that come across honestly and show their human side. Just give it to them straight. The example the speaker used was awesome. He used the story of Goldie Blox. There is not enough female engineers in the industry and the inventor wanted to change that fact by creating a toy which sparks the love of engineering in young girls. She approach toy manufacturers and was shot down. Desperate to get this off the ground and determined to make a difference, she went to Kickstarter and let her heart show. The people responded and she has had mind-blowing success in a relatively short amount of time.

Engage your audience: So many advertisers are vying for a consumer’s attention. When you finally catch it, you need to make it worthwhile for your audience. Their time is precious. Reward them, entertain them, invite them and include them. Make them feel like they are doing something good or important. Most people want to feel like they are a part of something bigger so ask for their participation. Human beings have a deep need to connect. Fill that need.

Make the effort and captivate your audience. I love the Hopi proverb that was posted “Those who tell stories rule the world.”

© 2016

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