Once Upon A Time There Was An Ancient Art Called Storytelling

Language and the Machine


“Although analytics are fundamentally important and persuasive, they are not compelling, authentic, nor do they make a lasting impression.”

“Mommy, Mommy can you please read me the Princess story?” I can remember clearly asking my mother every night to read me stories before bed. The vivid memory is forever programmed in my head.

As human beings we crave the emotional experience that comes with a story. In this digital age, storytelling is used as a powerful marketing strategy.

Brands must recognize this and transition into using storytelling. The use of storytelling allows brands to target audiences with effective messages. Brands more than ever need to be aware of the relationship between human communication and consumer behavior. 

Numerous studies over the years have proven that our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than the cold, hard facts.

Top brands like LinkedIn, Airbnb, and GoPro (to name a few) have encountered this science. Recently, Reebok has demonstrated an exemplary example of storytelling with their “Be More Human” campaign which gives its audience an emotional connection that makes a lasting memory.


Reebok’s “25,915” video highlights one woman’s progress in reverse. It starts out with her participation in the Reebok Spartan race as a senior and ends the day she was born. We see her at various stages in her life and the video demonstrates how being more human is a lifelong commitment to better yourself.

The campaign shows a woman’s journey as she shows us her passion for running and embracing the best of herself. It’s mission is to associate fitness with practicality. This type of digital storytelling sends a powerful message about real people who truly embody the brand and maintain the authenticity. An authentic compelling story is one that people will remember, especially in a world where brands can show the product in use by a real-life consumer.

This kind of emotional experience that is being accomplished by storytelling will produce a trust between the brand and customer. It goes to show that by producing creative content it builds an enduring relationship between the customer and brand. Ultimately, leaving a meaningful imprint of the brand itself.

From a Millennial’s Perspective: The Power of Storytelling

Storytelling isn’t something new. In fact, it has been around for years. In today’s technologically driven world, brand storytelling is revolutionizing marketing. A product isn’t simply just hardware or software anymore- it is part of our community.

Through social media we enable story making and we connect with our world. Let’s be real- marketing in the 21st century happens in minutes and what makes storytelling so rich and significant is that it too happens within minutes and even seconds.

So what does this mean for companies that stick to old marketing strategies? It means that percentages and facts are good for social content, but they are not memorable and do not form a relationship with the consumer.

What makes good storytelling and marketing is creating a lasting memory. Although analytics are fundamentally important and persuasive they are not compelling, authentic, nor do they make a lasting impression. Like I mentioned earlier, they are needed for the social content but not as a tool for engagement. Let’s take a look at this brand:


Google’s “Reunion”

Google clearly tells an emotional story that highlights the use of its search engine. We see the product being used in action by people across the world. This ad is compelling and leaves an emotional imprint on the audience. It is evident that Google provides creative content rather than numbers.

This video shows us the connection and empathy people feel when using the search engine. People don’t connect with statistics as much as they do with personal stories. Something memorable, unique, and enriching. Absolutely, storytelling is powerful and should be used more by brands to build stronger relationships with consumers. Here are a few tips to do so:

1. Be Authentic

Every brand has something unique to offer. Embracing authenticity is what is going to make companies stand out. People can sense from a mile when companies are trying to hard for their brand.

Intel did a great job with their Ebola-proof Tablet by sharing with viewers their values and company’s culture. Creating new brand experiences to benefit fans is probably one of the most imperative strategies.

2. Envision Inspiration

It is important to think inspirational for your brand. Every brand has its purpose and storytelling works best when customer’s identify and feel inspired with the story. This creates a strong relationship with the consumer and instigates trust.

Airbnb does an excellent job at this with their inspirational storytelling. Before I even remotely knew how Airbnb worked, I thought “woah this is totally creepy- staying with a stranger.” However, I was wrong and Airbnb alternated my view on this by providing inspirational stories and taglines #belonganywhere.

It is simply beautiful how Airbnb allows their users to be the storytellers. After all, marketing works best when it is told from the customer’s perspective.

3. Have Fun

This is your brand – do whatever aligns most with your company’s culture. It is 21st century marketing. This is the era of innovation. Do not be afraid to have fun and get your brand’s personality out there.

Organic Valley’s ongoing #SavetheBros campaign does a stellar job creating a brand story that is fun and provokes laughter. By entertaining the audience, this campaign delivers a message that is impossible to forget.

As a millennial, I love seeing new and exciting things especially in digital media. Adapting creative and fun content is what makes storytelling so powerful and every brand should embrace this.

Storytelling in a Nutshell

Reebok and Google are among few brands that have leveraged storytelling to engage with customers. Storytelling is pretty rad and it definitely gives your brand an edge. It is an ancient art that is the underlying narrative behind every brand, even if companies know it or not. 

This form of marketing is powerful because consumers are now engaged with content that creates a lasting memory.  Indeed, the art of this so-called storytelling in marketing is the best way to hit that emotional chord with customers. After all, humans have always loved good stories. “The end”

If you want to learn from one of the world’s best storytellers, sign up to attend Social Media Week London and hear National Geographic explore visually compelling, factual, and entertaining storytelling, and how a 128 year-old brand has become one of the most successful publishers in a fragmented media landscape.

Newsletter Subscription

Get the latest insights, trends and best practices from today's leading industry voices.

Learn More

Watch keynote speaker Seth Godin

Bestselling Author and Entrepreneur, Seth Godin spoke at #SMWNYC. Watch his talk + hundreds of others on SMW Insider.

View Talk

Watch SMW Live

SMW Insider is a premium video platform that streams more than 300+ hours of talks, presentations, and interviews from leading industry experts.

Subscribe Now

Write for Us

Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.

Apply Here