3 storytelling tactics to use in your next marketing campaign

By Ashlyn Korienek

At the surface, we are all different — personalities, interests, and much more. But there’s one commonality we share: Everyone has a story.

March 20 is World Storytelling Day, honoring the narratives we all tell, experience, and share throughout our lives. A story can take many forms — a written piece, a song, a film, or even a clever advertisement — the possibilities are truly endless.

To celebrate, we’re sharing three powerful works of storytelling (across different mediums), along with three tips to boost your storytelling craft.

Whether it’s for a marketing campaign, a brand refresh or your next blog post, these stories and tactics will inspire you to take action and create your next masterpiece.

Call to Action: The Conscious Closet By Elizabeth L. Cline

Elizabeth L. Cline has a problem and it starts with her shopping habits. In “The Conscious Closet,” Cline describes her journey into becoming a sustainable consumer, starting with her closet.

Her story is powerful, witty, and relatable, sharing details of how we all can reflect on our own habits and make small changes.

However, her story can be translated into other facets of life, inspiring others to look within themselves and take action. If actions speak louder than words, imagine how a powerful story can inspire others to take initiative.

Cline’s first sentence reads: “If you want to change the world, there’s no better place to start than the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet. I’m not being dramatic. I believe it to my core.”

Her words inspire us to listen — so, we keep turning the page.

Takeaway: Get personal and include one strong, simple call to action, directly telling the viewer or reader exactly what they need to do.

A personal and powerful story can ignite a spark within others, inspiring them to take action.

Maybe you’re launching a campaign for an advocacy organization, for example. In your email and social marketing materials, include a call to action — make it stand out by using bold graphics and punchy action words to grab readers’ attention.

A user-friendly platform to get you started on email marketing, Mailchimp allows you to create attractive, branded templates and add external links. There’s plenty of ways to tell a strong story about your business or organization. Try adding a “Donate here” or “Sign up now” button.

Imagery: “The Sun and Her Flowers” by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur has a way with words — short and sweet, yet packed with a punch. The simple yet descriptive poems, although at first seemingly unrelated, tell a larger story about healing, growth, and life, at even its rawest moments.

Poetry is all about imagery, casting a visual representation into the minds of readers, sparking emotion and deep thought. In the world of marketing and branding, using short phrases to cast a powerful image has endless potential.

In this specific poem, Kaur uses subtle imagery to talk about emotional healing:
“Like the rainbow
after the rain
joy will reveal itself
after sorrow.”

Takeaway: Use bold imagery in your marketing efforts — every detail counts. Vivid language brings a clear picture to mind.

In your next advertising campaign, think about the narrative you’re telling. Does the campaign deliver the message you are trying to send? Keep it simple, bold, and avoid overcomplicating the underlying message.

Let’s say you are selling a product. Instead of saying, “moisturize with our shea butter lotion,” try: “revive your skin with our ultra-hydrating cream.” It sounds more enticing, brings a picture to mind, and gives the customers every detail they need.

The power of music: Divide by Ed Sheeran

Don’t underestimate the power of song — a catchy jingle, tune, or instrumental can make a lasting impact.
A storytelling tactic that’s often overlooked, music has the power to influence others on an emotional and personal level. That’s why sound should be a priority in any video or digital campaign.

Take, for example, Ed Sheeran’s 2017 release “Divide,” which explores his family ties and Irish roots. One track, “Nancy Mulligan,” tells the tale of Sheeran’s grandparents who married despite their divided Irish Catholic and Protestant backgrounds.

His most popular track, “Shape of You,” which has a catchy and upbeat tone, was featured in a food advert for M&S. A slew of Sheeran’s songs have become a part of popular marketing campaigns — they’re catchy, sing-in-the-shower tunes. They trigger an emotional response, and we want to hear more.

Maybe you’re not going to compose a full-length album, but you can take inspiration from artists like Sheeran and consider how sound impacts your storytelling efforts.

Takeaway: A striking soundtrack, instrumental, or jingle can entirely change the tone of your digital campaign.

If you’ve ever seen a commercial on pet adoption, you might have noticed a touching piano soundtrack playing softly in the background — adding depth to the overall messaging. Viewers are moved to donate or adopt because they feel an emotional connection to one of the animals on screen.

Next time you’re creating a visual campaign, consider which types of sound you will add to enhance your overall storytelling efforts.

Do you have questions on how to boost your storytelling tactics? Want to discuss your marketing + branding strategy? Reach out to #TeamMoonsail!