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Is Storytelling Overrated? Kevin Spacey Doesn’t Think So.

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“Storytelling” as it applies to content and inbound marketing is a hot buzzword and it's one that warrants a closer look. What’s it all about, and how can you apply the concepts of storytelling to your brand?


Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, sound, and/or images, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and instilling moral values.

Applying Storytelling to Brand Strategy

Storytelling in the aforementioned definition has been around since the dawn of man and began simply with pictures being drawn in the sand or illustrated on the walls of a cave for future generations to see. If you can think back to drawings on a cave wall, what would be more impactful: a marketing message / tagline or logo emblazoned on the wall, or a drawing of a story with characters experiencing something you can relate to?

When you take this ancient concept of storytelling and relate it to your brand, it can be a powerful concept. However it’s a difficult thing to do and must be well-thought-out before you begin.

The Importance of Target Personas

Before you start to talk about utilizing storytelling to tell your brand’s story or help to develop marketing messages, you have to first know some very detailed information about your target persona in order to achieve your objective. Understanding your audience is the best way to tell your story—and to even know what story you should be telling in the first place.

Videos Are a Storyteller’s Best Friend

It’s a well-proven fact that not everyone learns the same way. Some are more impacted by visual cues such as reading a blog post or seeing an infographic, while others prefer to listen to podcasts or the spoken word. It’s this blending of audio and visual cues that makes videos so impactful as a marketing and storytelling tool. This is one of the reasons why many storytellers have gone to video in order to convey a brand story… it simply creates more emotion and connection since it works for all types of learners.

Video storytelling can be thought of as simply telling a story. It might be a single short story, it might be a series of videos that are akin to a mini-series or short vignettes. However you decide to tell your brand story, a story is much more interesting than traditional marketing messages thrown at your audience. A story can do what most marketing messages can’t, and that’s connect at a deeper more personal level that creates brand loyalty and connection. Storytelling can also help convey a brand’s identity. Whether it’s fun and lighthearted or serious and all business, storytelling can help to give your audience a good understanding of what to expect from your brand and how you perceive yourself.

If you think storytelling is dead, overrated or not worth the time and effort to create, have a quick watch of this Keynote speech from Kevin Spacey at the Content Marketing World 2014 and see if he can change your mind.


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