Don’t just try to sell to your target audience. Take them on a journey that shows them first-hand how they can benefit from what you have to offer.
Storytelling is fundamental to how your target customer will interact with your brand online. There are thousands of products and services out there, each vying for the attention (and the money) of your audience, making it more challenging than ever to differentiate your business from the masses. But it can be done – and it all starts with applying storytelling techniques to your overall marketing efforts.
But what are the storytelling best practices you should be following? And how can they generate real, tangible results for your business?
These are the questions we will be answering in this article.
But before we get started, it’s important to understand what storytelling is, in relation to user experience and company branding.
The Structure of a Story
All stories share a similar framework, and company stories that are created to enhance a user’s experience are no different. To construct a memorable, engaging experience for your potential customers, be sure to develop stories that follow the below format:
1. The Purpose
All stories should begin by establishing why your business does what it does. What issue does your company aim to solve for its customers? Why do you feel it is important to resolve this issue? What values does your company uphold and why? The more you speak to your purpose, the more potential customers will be able to relate to your cause on a visceral, human level, making them more likely to develop loyalty to your brand.
2. The Protagonist
Just like the childhood fairytales you listened to as a child, all stories have a protagonist – the main character that the story is centered around. Typically, this person is the “good guy,” the person in the story that the reader relates to the most and wants to see succeed. When creating stories for user experience, it’s important to remember that your customer is always the protagonist. You want to create stories that focus on how life can be improved for your customers via the purchase or use of your product or service. Show them that they matter and that a solution is waiting for them at the end of their journey.
3. The “Aha” Moment
Every story you tell as a business should aim to provide your target audience with a “lightbulb moment,” that instant where they realize they have a need for your product or service and that they can trust you to help them solve their problem. This is often referred to as the awareness stage. You want your readers to come to a place of understanding, where they are educated about what you have to offer and see the value it can bring to their lives.
Now that we have discussed the prototypical structure of a story, it’s time to dive into how storytelling benefits businesses. After all, it takes time and brainstorming to develop branded stories that enhance your user experience. So, it makes sense that business owners want to know how storytelling can generate real, discernable results.
Here Are the Benefits of Using Storytelling in Your UX Design Guidelines:
1. It Improves Comprehension
Sure, in an ideal world every business would be simple, and the solutions you offer would be straightforward. But that isn’t always the case. Industries like engineering, information technology, research and development, and legal services (just to name a few) can involve complex issues and even more multi-faceted solutions. Thus making it difficult to pitch the value of what you do to customers who aren’t familiar with it. Thankfully, however, storytelling is the perfect way to break down complicated concepts and make them more human.
A great example of this is the Qualcomm 5G website. It isn’t easy to explain to the world why the 5G wireless internet is the future of connectivity. Which is why Qualcomm decided to use the powers of storytelling to convey their message in a user-friendly, comprehensible way. Their video featuring Dr. John Smee broke down why Qualcomm has invested in 5G technology, and how they believe it will change the world and bring new levels of capability to users everywhere. A great way to communicate a complicated service in a compelling, personable way!
2. It Increases Brand Recall
Ask any entrepreneur if they want their business to be more memorable in the minds of their target audience, and the answer would be a resounding “yes.” After all, it’s a bit of a no-brainer! But making your brand more memorable is almost always easier said than done.
Fortunately, the use of storytelling in your UX guidelines can have a drastic impact on how people think about your business. Messages that are delivered as stories are up to 22X more memorable than just data alone. Pretty impressive, right? When you combine this with the fact that 92 percent of consumers want brands to make more ads that feel like stories, you’ve got an extremely commanding case for implementing more storytelling into your user experience planning.
Messages that are delivered as stories are up to 22X more memorable than just data alone.
3. It Motivates Customers to Interact With You
One of the most detrimental user experience issues is having members of your target audience visit your website and leave without ever engaging. It’s the equivalent of having hundreds of fish swim past your hook without taking a bite. But don’t worry – this is yet another point of contention that storytelling can help you address.
To put things into perspective, 55 percent of consumers say they would be more likely to purchase a product if they loved the brand’s story, and 45 percent would be more likely to follow a company Facebook page.
So, the real question is this: why wouldn’t you want nearly half of your target audience to be more likely to engage with your brand?
Unless you’ve completely lost your mind, increasing engagement is always a desired outcome. So, why not brainstorm how you can incorporate more storytelling into your website, social media profiles, and other online collateral?
55 percent of consumers say they would be more likely to purchase a product if they loved the brand’s story.
Given the indisputable facts surrounding storytelling and its valuable influence on user experience and marketing outcomes, it is inevitable that we will see more time and energy dedicated to crafting brand stories in the upcoming years. With many businesses already reaping the rewards of storytelling, it’s only logical that an increased number of companies will begin utilizing storytelling strategies in their UX and marketing efforts.
By keeping the benefits of storytelling in mind, and following the proper storytelling structure, you, too, can capitalize on this trend and cultivate a stronger connection with your target market.