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Tips & Tricks

Blurring the Lines Between Product and Story

Stories have been around for a long time as an intrinsic component of human nature. With a thoughtfully composed narrative, communicating values, mission and philosophy is a memorable way to engage an audience and increase brand loyalty.

What makes a good story?

First, consider who the story is for. Not every approach will have the same influence across all demographics—craft a story in a way that will engage and interest a specific audience. Good stories feel organic and connect more easily with the core values of the people they’re meant for. Originality is also important. Viewers, readers and listeners want to hear a unique voice.
Good stories are also relevant to their audience. Understanding what themes appeal to people of different ages and locations allows marketers to better craft their material. According to author Neil Gaimen, “They also have to come in an attractive enough package that we take pleasure from them and we want to help them propagate.” Haven’t people always remembered—and wanted to share—a good yarn?

Which themes are relatable?

In a recent survey by Nielsen, online consumers were asked which marketing themes they found “most impactful.” As may be expected, these numbers varied drastically when it came down to different generations and global regions.
The best ads share various attributes: They’re relatable, follow a buoyant and uncomplicated storyline and use vivid and impactful imagery to create an emotional connection, says Randall Beard, president of global innovation practices at Nielsen. “There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula. What’s effective in one country or region won’t necessarily work well in others. A deep understanding of local preferences is vital.”

Tapping into human emotion.

As revealed by the survey, celebrity and athlete endorsements appeal to only 9 percent of respondents in Latin America. In the same region, ads centered on health and real-life situations came in at 52 percent and 50 percent respectively. In Europe, humor-based advertising accounted for the interest of 51 percent, and in North America that number was 50 percent. Family-oriented ads were of particular interest in the Middle East and Africa, resonating with 42 percent of respondents.

The generation gap.

While many of the themes enumerated in the study have multi-regional appeal, preferences among participants were also shown to vary by generation. High-energy and action-fueled messages resonated with 28 percent of Gen Z respondents (aged 15-20), as well as Millennials (ages 21-34), while only accounting for 8 percent of the Silent Generation (age 65+). In a similar trend, animal- and pet-related themes held the interest of 24 percent of the Silent Gen, and only 13 percent of Gen Z.

Telling the right story.

Knowing an audience’s proclivities allows marketers to hit closer to home when it comes to delivering a message. The closer a brand can land to a demographic’s core values, the likelier they are to grab the desired attention and cement a story in memory—and that audience, in turn, is more likely to help the story grow. Good stories are a powerful thing, and people will always know that a good story is worth sharing.

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