Marketing Mythology: The ROI of Storytelling

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Recently the guys at Fanfara asked us to share our thoughts on the ROI of storytelling. So this got me thinking, do people really need to measure everything?

And I know the answer is yes. When you’re running a small business and you have to decide in what communication method to invest; when you’re handling your company’s marketing efforts and need to tell your boss how you’re progressing; when you’re living the hectic startup life and have five minutes for marketing… In all these cases, and many more, you just need a proof that storytelling works.

So, if you’ve been wondering how to measure the ROI of your storytelling marketing, you’re not alone.

Because that’s the current paradigm. We’re all fixated on numbers, productivity, sales, and often the essence of actions remains in the background.

That’s why storytelling marketing offers a subtle revolution.

A good story knows no numbers

You can’t use a mathematical equation to create a good brand story. Maybe it can give help with structure and proportions, but the content needs to be unique, creative, unexpected. Otherwise you just have a certain number of words – or pictures, stacked together for no apparent reason.

And for the same reason, you cannot really have a precise recipe for making a good story – and for measuring how it performs. You can only judge by the signs.

And actually, measuring a story defeats its purpose: to be spontaneous and unlimited, to take people’s imaginations beyond this world.

Numbers are rarely emotional

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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about a story?

Well, the likely answer is the emotion that the narrative left in you. And here lies the strength of storytelling – to light up emotions in people. To lead them on mental journeys, to allow them to explore their own worlds.

So can you image measuring your internal universe? Me neither.

Emotions are emotions because they are illogical and irrational, even uncontrollable. While we are all trying to get a hold of them, they are probably the most disturbing and interesting part of being a human being. And it’s difficult to measure an emotion when sometimes you don’t even have a name for it.

It’s all about the deeper impact

People have told stories throughout the ages for a variety of reasons: survival, entertainment, psychological coping, and of course, manipulation.

Why? Because it simply works. Stories leave a deeper trace in people’s minds than any other information presentation method. And we’ve known this instinctively.

But storytelling is not a hit-and-run approach. It’s a long-term, elaborate strategy for shaping the core of your business. You can’t expect it to flourish in a day, but when it does, it’s for real.

But if you really need the numbers…

There is research that touches upon the impact of storytelling, in numbers. Yes, when you have a brand story, your revenue grows four times faster.

Ready to start your own storytelling journey, then? Try out Edgar’s Detective Brand Story Canvas.

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