Fairy Tales, Music School, and Why Storytelling in Marketing Matters – Part 1

By

Leah Bander

Good—nay—excellent marketing is at your fingertips, and you might not realize it.

So, what’s this extraordinary key to marketing success that could render marketing companies obsolete? It’s simpler than you think.

Storytelling.

I get it; “storytelling” might sound banal, invoking images of dwarves, Cinderella, and froggy kisses.

But hold on. Let me convince you.

Storytelling is the oldest form of knowledge transfer in the world. Humans have taught, theorized, influenced, and connected via stories for millennia. Our brains are wired to respond to stories because “stories create emotional connections that make recalling information and storing memories easier…You might laugh, cry, feel anxious or angry, but the outcome is the same: powerful learning experiences.”

From fairy tales to political campaigns, telling a compelling story is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reel people in.

Still don’t believe me?

Fine. Let me tell you a story.

I had a brief stint in music school, which was, by all measures, an unmitigated disaster. Ill-prepared for the musical rigor, I underestimated the level of technicality my degree would require. I struggled to meet the demands of a full course load and then some.

It didn’t help that I was coming out of an overseas gap year program that left little time to incorporate quality practice sessions. If you’re not a musician (and I hardly qualify to call myself one, but indulge me for a moment), then you might not know that keyboards are inferior to an actual lacquered-wood, steel-stringed, felt-hammered piano
.

There’s just nothing that compares to the realness of an actual piano. It’s like a living thing beneath your fingers, something that hums with vitality at every touch, and a plastic keyboard just…does not compare.

You use your entire body to play the piano. Your posture, arm and wrist position, bench height, and foot placement are essential to playing the piano effectively. So you might infer that my setup—a cheap 61-key keyboard perched on the bottom bed of a half-size bunk bed while sitting on a plastic lawn chair—was not ideal.

By the time I got to college the next year, my musical muscles had obviously atrophied. I’m sure my piano teacher thought about throwing the baby grand out the window at least once during our sessions.

But that was nothing compared to the end of the semester.

In lieu of final exams, music schools hold juries at the end of each semester. You prepare a piece or two, schedule your slot, and perform—under stage lights—for a panel of faculty members.

A musical jury is precisely as intimidating as it sounds.

So there I was: grossly underprepared, having spent the year trying to get back to baseline, failing miserably, and sitting before a panel of highly accomplished musicians tasked with judging my performance.

I sat down at the grand piano, feeling shaky and sick, and…

Actually, nope.

I’m not going to tell you what happened. Partially to spare myself from the indignity of the entire internet possibly reading this blog post, but also because you’re hooked, aren’t you?

You want to know what happens.

You want to see how the story ends.

This is why storytelling in marketing is ridiculously important. You want people to look at your brand. When they look, you want your brand to be compelling enough that they keep looking. You want to elicit an emotional reaction—whether it be hope, laughter, confidence, or something else.

Your most powerful option is to tell a story. To make emotion and knowledge connect.

How you do that depends on your audience, products or services, and the message you want to convey. Perhaps you want to tell people how your service has improved clients’ lives. Maybe you want to tell your brand’s history and how it has evolved over time. You may want to demonstrate your expertise or leadership in your field.

Whatever your goals, you can utilize stories to bring new customers in.

Stay tuned for part 2, where we’ll delve into storytelling strategies for small businesses. Can’t wait? Embark on your storytelling journey with Jennasis—email us at digitalmarketing@jennasis.com

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Jennasis & Associates is a full-suite digital marketing agency with a deep love for all things marketing, from brand strategy to social media management. (Don’t make us pick a favorite!) Our diverse, creative, agile team is united by a core passion: to help your business grow and thrive.

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