3 Steps to Authentic Product Storytelling

Emily Lamunyan
Sr. Digital Strategist

Storytelling enriches every stage of our lives.

Storytelling is ingrained in our DNA. As a child we beg for just one more story at bedtime. As adults we share stories around the campfire, at the pub, or at work around the water cooler. As old-timers we tell stories of the good ol’ days. Storytelling allows us to form connections with one another and creates memories that last a lifetime.

So why is this familiar, engaging communication style lost in other aspects of life? Mainstream media like television, movies and music use storytelling to sell, so why is it that advertising rarely implements this tactic? With such a saturated product market, brands that stand out are the ones that successfully share a larger story, in turn fostering a relationship between brand and consumer.

How to create successful, revenue-driving product storytelling:

step one.
Identify what makes this product unique. Why does it stand apart; what makes it more desirable than it’s competitors? I like to start with the basics. Think through the who, what, when, where, why and how of what truly makes this product different. More to come on this below.
step two.
Choose the most unique storyline that has the best chance of making a connection with the consumer; which story will touch the consumer emotionally and allow them to create a distinct memory of your product.
step three.
Pinpoint the authentic connection between your story and your product. This step is key and where too many brands fail. Brands might tell a great story but do a horrible job building an authentic connection to the product. In this case, the story will be remembered but it will leave the consumer unable to remember the product. Think of the countless Super Bowl commercials we spend almost the entire time watching while trying to guess the product. The next day at work, we talk about the story of the commercial but rarely do we remember what it was actually selling. Successful storytelling does not simply tag the product to the end, but rather authentically incorporates the product throughout.

examples of successful product storytelling:

“This is not just a regular basketball shoe; this shoe was designed by LeBron James with the inspiration of his favorite aunt after she battled cancer.”
This story uses the WHO to tap into the emotional connection between famous athlete and consumer.
Laura Dern on the set of Jurassic Park.
“This jeep is the the same jeep that Laura Dern used to escape the T-Rex in Jurassic Park.”
This story uses the WHEN to showcase the safety and durability of the jeep. If this jeep can help you escape dinosaurs, it will surely get you out of any sticky situation.
Cool hat from TenTree.
“Purchasing this hat will ensure ten trees are planted in a country in need.”
This story uses the WHY to showcase the added humanitarian value consumers get by purchasing this product over another.
A chocolate bar from Alter Eco.
“This is not any chocolate; it is from beans plucked from organic trees in the Peruvian Amazon and then sent, through fair trade, to the finest chocolatiers of Switzerland.”

This story uses the WHERE to give the consumer all they need to know about where the product was made and allows them to feel good about supporting an environmentally friendly brand.

To reiterate, storytelling is important. Equally important is creating an authentic connection between your product and your story. This tactic will ensure that both story and product will be remembered by the consumer, just like they remember the Budweiser horses or how to get away with robbing a bank if you own a Prius.

Don’t settle for boring product messaging! Share your story, connect with your consumer and be memorable.

Emily Lamunyan
Emily Lamunyan, Sr. Digital Strategist at eROI.