If you look back across the history of mankind, storytelling has played a vital role in propagating culture, from community to community, across generations. What is the bible if not an extensive collection of parable stories, and who could forgot the metaphoric tales of our childhood? You only have to look at the elaborate cave drawings from 35,000 years ago where the first stories began in pictorial form.
Picture Source www.macmillanmh.com
Interestingly does anybody know what Humpty Dumpty was actually about? (Large Cannon, used during the English Civil War in the Siege of Colchester 1648. Royalist had a canon on the city wall, a round head shot the wall down, as the canon was so heavy all the Kings’ horses and men (royalist) couldn’t get him on another wall)
There’s more to the story
The art of great storytelling in fact comes down to simple biology. By creating stories and narratives that stimulate the different parts of the brain, brands give themselves a unique opportunity to make a real, lasting connection with target audience. The average consumer buys with their heart and justifies their purchase with their head, thus campaigns that stimulate both the left (emotional) and the right (rational) side have greatest potential to succeed, “a fully rational human being is emotional”.
Every great story is one that we can easily connect with, entering our mind naturally because we live them, understand them, tell them, listen to them and repeat them every day.
A good story teller knows their brand
Now we come to the most important question for you – What does this mean for brands? “Humans crave stories, and advertising at its best has always been about the business of storytelling to build brands.” Simon Bond CMO BBDO
At the heart of storytelling is a value exchange, consumers are drawn to brands that reward them for their time. Stories give consumers something over and above brand messages. A great way to illustrate this is passion areas. In the strictest sense, a story has a narrative ark, a beginning, middle and end; however in advertising we can be looser in our definition. In my opinion this can be classified as great content creation.
The ad is in the past, content is the future
A bold statement I know, not to be disparaging about the role of traditional ads, however what cannot be denied is the power of content used to connect with audiences. For most people including myself, if my interest is peaked by a brands ad campaign, I’ll investigate it further online, shouldn’t there be some additional reward for me giving up my time and doing that? It doesn’t necessarily need to be an exclusive film or something that elaborate, but something that connects the passive (I saw an ad) to the active (I looked you up) experience in a satisfying way that rewards my effort.
So it should come as no surprise that storytelling and content is an essential and integral part to Microsoft Advertising solutions. Take our Sainsbury’s Food and Drink channel on MSN UK. The major point of difference for this campaign is the unprecedented level of commercial and editorial integration, which traditionally are often kept well apart. The campaign utilises “content modules” which surface contextual Sainsbury’s content within relevant editorial features. For example, see below a live editorial article on “Best of English food and drink” and note the complimentary “Best of British ingredients’ Sainsbury’s content module to the right.
This content module approach is a real game changer and offers an unparalleled media first. I genuinely believe this is a great example of the future of content partnerships, and one that significantly improves the users experience. Whereby users can read an editorial feature that inspire and excite them, followed seamlessly by a well-placed piece of relevant brand content that is useful and actionable. Read more on the Sainsbury’s Food and Drink channel.