Brands have been encouraged to make sure they have a compelling story behind any marketing campaign.
According to Jon Mowat, Managing Director of Hurricane Media, humans are ‘hardwired for stories’ using them to learn about the world, connect causes and effects and communicate values and beliefs.
This, he said, is why people are so receptive to marketing that drives emotional engagement and has a clear narrative.
“Marketing campaigns that drive emotional engagement deliver four times the uplift in purchase intent than those that don’t,” Mr Mowat observed.
“Consumers reject celebrity endorsements and direct sales messages; they prefer marketing content that is informative and to-the-point, makes them feel nostalgic, and tells a story.”
Mr Mowat said this another reason why the majority of people trust consumer reviews, as they are stories told about a product or service by somebody who has actually used it.
He described reviews as “especially powerful because it feels real'”
Indeed, Mr Mowat said they are stories told by relatable people, rather than rich and famous personalities who are “just reading words fed to them by marketers'”
“The best narrative marketing doesn’t feel like narrative marketing,” he observed.
“Obviously, a marketing campaign will have targets to meet. There’ll be a demographic to address and a desired outcome in terms of purchase intent, brand awareness, or consumer engagement. The important thing is that none of this can be obvious.”
Mr Mowat said the key element behind successful narrative content is a good story that sounds plausible and natural, as well as be able to convey the marketing message and call to action in a subtle way.
He argued that a story will not be heard if it contains clumsy product placement and sounds like a corporate presentation.
Instead, Mr Mowat said a campaign must offer something meaningful and affirmative.
“Don’t twist and turn to check a box, appeal to an analyst’s idea of what imaginary buyers want, or boldly state what you want people to think,” he continued.
“It’s obvious when you’re pandering to demographics and farming for clicks and you’ll achieve much better results by creating something that connects on a deeper level.”