Well, for me, advertising is another form of story-telling. Yes, you read that right. I define advertising as story-telling. Don’t believe me? Try and recall some of the most memorable ads you saw as a kid in the 90s. What are the two things you can recall? I bet it would be the brand name and the main plot of the ad.
Even in recent times, if there’s one ad that has caught your attention, go back to it and ask yourself why you like it. Or ask yourself why you associate with a particular brand so much?
Unfortunately, as decades have passed, advertising has changed. With the dominance of digital marketing and mobile ads, I feel advertisers today are missing out on the most important aspect of advertising – “Story Telling”. We fail to connect the brand with the consumer by placing too much focus on products or services. Most marketers are bothered about the reach, number of clicks and post engagement.
With the mobile news feed being flooded with so many memes and jokes every minute, it is quite challenging to stand out and share a unique story. A story that can leave an impact, touch people’s hearts and yet associate with a brand. Hence, I’ve devised a unique formula (the MIME principle) that I personally believe can help you incorporate story-telling in your digital ads –
- Moments – Before you decide to share a story, understand your audience in terms of their moments. By moment, I mean an instant in the life of your target audience when they chose to connect with your brand. For example, at what moment does a Millennial chose to search for restaurants nearby? How do you reach out to them at that moment? Or consider this – at what moment does a couple consider to search for vacation packages for their next holiday. Once you understand these moments, you need to target them using your story. Your ad should motivate your audience to explore these moments.
- Intent – Intent is what is defined by the moment. It’s the call-to-action for every moment. What does your audience intend to do when they experience a particular moment? Do they search for you on google or call you using your Facebook page? Do they write a review for you or buy something online from your store? Understanding these intents help improve your ad’s content and what you are trying to say.
- Memory – How do you think your advertisement will create a mark in today’s world? Do you think people will remember your advertisement a few years from now? If you really want to hit it off on a good note, think about what you want your product/brand to be remembered for. Relate it to your audience, rather than just reaching out to them.
- Emotion – What do you want your audience to feel when they see your ad? Should they feel nostalgic? Or happy? Or angry? Or hopeful and inspired? You choose what your audience wants to feel based on how you want them to act. If you want them to sign a petition online, make them feel angry. If you want them to share something on their personal social media profiles, make them feel nostalgic or happy. If you want them to buy something, make them feel inspired.
Using the above four elements can help you create not just an interesting ad but also a memorable experience for your users.
Here are some interesting examples of ads on Social Media that incorporate storytelling and succeed in their efforts –
- Wendy’s uses the recently launched Canvas Ad format on Facebook to narrate the story behind their lip-smacking burgers (link)
- Toyota narrates a unique story to every visitor using 100 interchangeable clips (link)
- Fabletics, a sportswear brand in the UK used a phased approach through sequential Facebook posts (link)
- The best Carousel Ads on Instagram have all incorporated story-telling in their images (link)
The next time you are creating an ad, don’t forget “storytelling” and the MIME principle. Help your brand do something unique and memorable. Create something that this generation would speak about to the next.
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