by Erin Schroeder

A good story. No matter what you’re selling – a simple trinket to the most sophisticated service – this is the one thing everyone can relate to.

Why so? Because stories have a tendency to grab our attention and draw us in. They provide a more personal connection and speak to our emotional side.  Plus, characters and plots are woven together in a memorable way that compels us to keep reading.

That’s not to say facts, figures and other typical elements of a more “hard sell” approach don’t have their place in marketing anymore. It’s just that marketers are starting to realize how successful storytelling can be, especially in the age of connectivity with digital, social and content marketing taking center stage.

Consider these findings from an infographic created by OneSpot:

– A staggering 92% of consumers say they’d prefer brands to create ads that feel like a story
– The average person in the U.S. consumes more than 100,000 digital words each day (proof that people are actually reading those stories!)

So if we look at some of the big brands out there, which ones have had some real success with storytelling? Nike is one that stands out as most obvious.

Consider the “If You Let Me Play” commercial that aired all the way back in 1995, and you’ll see that storytelling is nothing new to the brand. Nike’s marketing efforts have never been loaded with direct pleas to buy their shoes or wear their apparel. Instead, they’ve been built around stories of people that tie back to the legendary “Just Do It” tagline.

In a similar industry, Patagonia is another example. Check out the outdoor gear company’s website and the first thing you’ll find on the home page is a rotation of captivating stories – many of which feature the brand’s clothing and equipment in action.

Today, storytelling has become bigger than ever in marketing, and for good reason. It’s a way to make messages stick by being more memorable, engaging and, perhaps most importantly, relatable to the consumer.

How about your brand? Have you starting telling your story yet?