March 13, 2015 / Melissa Faudree

Storytelling goes back for centuries. Frankly, not much has changed with the art of storytelling. Today we still love to hear and tell stories. However, what has seemed to change is the consumer and how satisfied they are with simply being told a story. They want more. They want to be involved in the experience. People are more affected from a personal experience than those stories that were told to them.

Think back for a moment and remember when you first learned to ride a bicycle. Do you remember how you felt when you finally could balance and steer without falling down? If someone told you about their first experience of riding a bike, it wouldn’t evoke the same feelings. Personal experiences are something that brands should try to connect with. Storytelling is one way brands have tried to connect with consumers. What is storytelling?

What is Storytelling?

Storytelling shares words, images, and sounds of an event or experience. It is an interactive experience between the person telling the story and the audience. We know that every story should be structured with a plot, characters, setting, and theme.

Storytelling is used in marketing and advertising to form a connection and spark an emotional response. It is meant to stimulate your mind and drive behavior. If you are able to provoke an emotional response with your story, the chances that your audience will remember you increase. As humans we are meant to recognize and retain stories. Agencies tend to lean towards storytelling because the approach has been done for years. They create compelling stories and then find a way to get their product in front of people in a unique way. Storytelling has become more about storyyelling where marketers tell consumers to do something from an advertisement. However, people are social and enjoy engaging and participating with brands. Not being pushed information about a product or service. The consumer has to be interested first.

Consumers have shifted in their thinking and behavior as technology has changed. Consumers are always connected. They have information at their fingertips 24/7. In order for brands to be successful, they have no choice but to always be online with their audience. Just being told a story does not fulfill consumers anymore. They actually want to be apart of the story now. Therefore, we must adapt and change our marketing strategy. This is where storytelling has evolved and become storyscraping.

What is Storyscraping?

Storyscraping is an approach that was created by SapientNitro’s Gaston Legorburu (worldwide chief creative officer) and Darren McColl (global chief strategy officer). The approach and methodology focuses on the consumer through experiences. Their New York Times Best Seller, StoryScraping: Stop creating ads, start creating worlds, defines storyscraping as an, “approach, which suggests brands create worlds — not just individual elements, like ads, sites or apps — that encourage, inspire, and foster interactions both from an emotional and an experiential level.”

Storyscraping should engage consumers in a world of connected experiences. It entails creating and delivering narrative stories in a way that consumers will actually engage with through communications, interactions, and consuming the product. Stories should connect with consumers, which will then allow the brand to become part of the consumer’s story. With storyscraping you must create an immersive experience for your consumers that will make them want to connect. Perhaps an easier way to understand this concept is making the customer become the hero and the brand a mentor.

5 Mechanics of Storyscraping

  1. Begin with an organizing idea
  2. The comma is king
  3. Connect with your audience
  4. It’s an always-on world
  5. People are social, be social

SapientNitro encourages brands to follow a few principles in order for better success. Brands need to define their purpose. You need to ask yourself how your brand makes the world better. You need to understand the participants. What are the interests of your customers? What do they need? Your brand should become a mentor to your customers. We need to shift our perspective away from acting as the hero to customers. You should create a world for your customers to interact. Your brand also needs to employ organizing ideas. Finally your brand should recognize the ripples. Your marketing focus doesn’t have to be large (like making a big splash) to make a difference in the lives of your customers. You can focus on the ripples of the splash instead.

Whether you believe in the approach and philosophy by Legorburu and McColl, consumers need to be connected to your brand and story. We need to evolve and make it about the consumer’s world. You can do so by experiential connections and emotional connections. Creating advertisements is simply not enough anymore.

Posted In: Blog, Marketing