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Throughout time there have been many kinds of advertising strategies, and as these practices evolve we have found out the things that work, and the things that do not. The tendency to make the consumer feel more worthy if they have a particular product, for example, has proved to be very effective.

At the same time, making a consumer feel bad about themselves has also been found to work very well, although the former of these two methods is more positive. When testing the effectiveness of selling a brand versus selling a story, we found that the latter of the two is much more efficient. Here are the reasons why.

Stories inspire people

Sell a Story, Not a Brand

Similar to praising customers, telling stories has a positive effect. If a story is well told, it can have the potential to touch many people. If a story is related to a cause or issue, then there is a high chance that those viewers will feel encouraged to share the information with anyone that they know. Word of mouth is still, in this day and age, one of the most powerful (if not the most powerful) methods to spread the word. Besides people buying the product, that’s the most important thing to your brand’s success.

People relate to stories

When you sell a story instead of a brand, people can relate to it much more. This is crucial to your brand’s success because when people relate to a story and the personalities in it they are emotionally connected, and when this occurs they are more likely to want to buy the product. People also need to feel like they need the product, and many times this need is subliminal. When they connect to the story, they can suddenly see how it will work in their lives and how it will improve their situation because it helps the characters or people in the story. Without knowing it, they’ll be persuaded of its logical uses while they have instead been persuaded emotionally. While brands don’t have faces, people do. People won’t care about your brand inherently. You have to make them care.

It makes them pay attention longer

When people are engaged in a story, they are more likely to pay attention for longer. This is particularly crucial in TV commercials where most people mute their television. If they see that a story is being told, instead of a blatant item being sold, they will be more curious to see what company is behind it all. If your story is engaging enough, they’ll be thinking about it later.

It makes you more believable

Any good story highlights life’s flaws and all of the different ways people are not perfect. If a brand is selling its name instead of the story, it is often that the brand is presenting itself as being perfect, which is something no one will believe. Plus, it takes an amount of trust for a consumer to try out a new product. Sell a story and people see you are more believable, and when you are believable, you are most trustworthy, and when you are more trustworthy, you’ll have more people buying your product.

It makes you less intimidating

As more modes of communication bring more enlightenment to the masses about how large companies and corporations often abuse their power in a number of ways, people become more skeptical. Some may even fear and be intimidated by these companies. Even if your brand does not try to evoke these feelings, other companies that do have generally made people a lot more wary of them. People are a lot savvier now, and they ask a lot more questions.

People feel more separate from companies now more than ever. However, if you tell a story, suddenly you are not a large corporation, or even a small one. You become a neighbor, a lover, a family member, or a friend. When people are not intimidated by advertisements and their related advertisers, they are much more open to the idea of consuming the product, pure and simple.

It looks like you care

Although this motive goes against the selflessness that stories are mostly meant to demonstrate, it is important to seem like a company who cares and wants to give back to the community. When people tie your company to a cause they forget your basic advertising motive, and whatever you do, you must never seem selfish. Even if you are a company that truly does wish to give back, which is certainly quite necessary where it really counts, portraying your brand as philanthropic only helps you at the end of the day.

Telling a story instead of selling a brand has been proven to be a much more effective advertising method. Apply this strategy today and your brand will be much more successful.

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Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos. Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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