Storytelling Marketing: When Brand Stories DON’T Work

These are the 3 instances storytelling marketing isn’t effective.

These are the 3 instances marketing storytelling won't work.

A little secret about marketing and storytelling

Marketing and storytelling go hand in hand. In fact, storytelling is one of the most powerful communication strategies a brand can employ. But let me bring you in on a secret: Storytelling marketing isn’t always effective. It’s important you know when that might be the case.

Brand storytelling doesn’t work when…

1. The facts or data are strong.

Here’s why: Instead of digesting important facts / data, the reader is focused on the narrative. We concentrate on processing things like plot and the ‘characters’ involved. That means we aren’t as attentive to the facts be they positive or negative.

Using stories to convey information can therefore be less effective if the product, service, or idea is supported by strong data—data that you want to highlight.

Takeaway: Stories can get in the way of the facts—that’s not something you want when the facts are great and beneficial to your brand.

2. When it’s simply not believable.

Here’s why: Consumers are inherently cynical. They just know when a narrative has been dressed up for PR purposes—when a story isn’t true. They know when a story doesn’t match the company’s reputation or image and when the story is too generic or too perfect.

You know the kind I’m referring to because we’ve all come across a branding story that made us scoff in disbelief or say, “Yeah right!”

Takeaway: There’s really no need for storytelling marketing if what you’re writing is inauthentic, made up, or rooted in lies.

3. When the story is uninteresting.

Here’s why: We’re less likely to be interested if the story is an iteration of someone else’s story. We’re unlikely to be drawn in if the ‘hero’ and circumstances are not relatable. And we’re unlikely to remember a story if it’s long and boring. If we don’t care, what are the chances we’ll make a purchase, send an inquiry, or take any sort of action?

Takeaway: For a business story to be effective and brings results, it must first grab attention then engage readers and inspire action.