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Storytelling Through Marketing: The Basics of a Good Story

January 6, 2022

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Have you ever read a good book, watched a great movie or heard an amazing story but you don’t know exactly what made it so good? Have you ever wanted to implement storytelling into your marketing or business but don’t know exactly how? Well, we are here to break it down and give you the building blocks for using storytelling in your marketing efforts. There are five basic elements of a good story. Having all five elements ensures you will have a story your audience will want to listen to.

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Characters

The first basic building block you need is characters. There are two main types of main characters:

  1. The protagonist is the main character of a story and the person that is in the center stage of the story.
  2. The antagonist is the person, thing, or idea that goes against the protagonist.

Characters are the “who” of your story. When you read a book or watch a movie, they usually start with “once upon a time, there was a…” Which makes establishing the main character the foundation for your tale.

In addition, character development is a very important element that reflects a character’s evolution as a person through their journey. It is how they were at the beginning, how they struggle throughout, and how they have evolved at the end.

Characters in Marketing

In marketing, the characters of your marketing story will be dictated by the products/services you’re going to market.

The protagonist will always be your target audience or your customer. The antagonist will always be your target audience or customer’s problems (not your competitors).

For example, if you are offering financial services for people looking to retire within 15 years, then those clients are the protagonist while time is their antagonist. Or if you are selling solar panels, the homeowners are the protagonists, and their high electricity bill (or you can make it their current electricity provider depending on how you want to set it up) would be their antagonist.

Theme

In marketing, the characters of your marketing story will be dictated by the products/services you’re going to market.

The theme is the idea that the story revolves around. Every story needs a central theme that every narrative intertwines. It is the central idea, topic, or message of your story.

This is considered the “what” of a story. The theme is a tricky concept because it’s one of the few intangible elements that can be just about anything. But it is necessary because it ties everything together. It’s a larger message that draws a connection between the story elements and the audience.

Examples of themes in modern-day books and movies are “love,” “war,” “revenge,” “forgiveness,” etc. The list can go on and on.

Themes in Marketing

In marketing, the theme is the topic or focus of your marketing campaigns. Using these themes, you will create a key takeaway you hope your target audience will get from the story. And it’s the driving force behind the “plot” of your marketing campaigns.

For example, going back to offering financial services, your theme is retiring within 15 years. All your marketing efforts will be around this message. When creating content, you need to educate your target audience on how to retire within their target time in mind. This is so all the “chapters” in your story, or the different marketing efforts in your campaign, are consistent and work together. And so they all flow down your marketing funnel to the end goal of making a sale.

There are just a couple of plot archetypes used to tell stories across media, movies, and marketing.

Storytelling is powerful. The way you tell your stories communicates your culture and values, who you are as a brand, and how you want to be perceived by the people you want to do business with.

The Story Archetype Quiz is an interactive tool that will:
◊ help you discover the story archetype for your brand
◊ show you how to develop great stories, the right way
◊ give you the tools to connect with your audience

Take the quiz

Discover Your Story Archetype

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