5 Steps To A Mouth-Watering Storytelling Marketing Campaign

In an age where the market changes before product launches, people are time-poor and information-rich, and everyone is fist-fighting for your customer’s short attention, you must bridge the “psychic gap” between you and your target audience.  

You need to look for ways to send your marketing messages straight to the customer’s brain without distortion, noise, or the need to overthink it.

So, how can you cut through the “lookalikes” and differentiate your campaigns from others?

More importantly, how can you start strengthening relationships with customers through a well-thought-out marketing strategy? 

The answer is simple: Storytelling.

Storytelling is the secret ingredient to jaw-dropping marketing campaigns. It is the strategy that overhauls all of your marketing tactics. 

But before we dive into the details of storytelling, let’s go through deadly mistakes that can break your campaign so you can avoid them. 

4 Things to avoid when running your storytelling campaign

Numerous marketing campaigns have gone wrong by ignoring storytelling’s simple but critical aspects. Let’s go through some of the things we need to avoid. 

1) Message Dilution: Getting off track and diverting from your Core Messages

One of the common mistakes when deploying a storytelling campaign is that people break from the main narrative. This will send your customer mixed signals about your brand and might hurt your business reputation

2) Brand storytelling is different in closely regulated industries

Conducting brand storytelling differs from one industry to another. If you’re a SaaS startup, you’ll have an easier time marketing your products than in closely regulated industries like law firms or healthcare.

For example, suppose you’re a medical business owner and want to launch a branding campaign. In that case, you have to pay close attention to the language used, visuals, and implications, As everything must pass the FDA test and should not file any complaints.

3) Not conducting proper research on your audience

Your customers are the ones who will perceive your stories. If your messages are misaligned with the values and beliefs of your audience, your campaign will fall flat. Before starting the campaign, a critical part is conducting interviews with stakeholders and getting insights into what makes them tick.

4) Trying to do too much in one campaign

Another trap is to spread your messages too thin. Trying to be all things to everybody will only lessen the impact of your storytelling efforts and lead to unwanted results. When conducting the campaign, ensure your messages are laser-focused on one subject. 

5. Failing to Leverage Technology

When executing your campaigns, you must get set up with the right marketing campaign management tools. These days, campaigns are often complex and multi-faceted. Social media, email, digital advertising, and so much more. With all that flying around, you need the right technology in your corner.

The five steps to brand storytelling 

Now that you know what to avoid before starting your marketing efforts, let’s go through the five steps that make up an excellent storytelling strategy. 

1) Develop Your business’s Brand DNA

Your story messages are as good as the people it inspires. And to inspire people, your messages need to be purpose-driven, emotionally infused, and meaningful. For this reason, you’ll need to develop a Brand DNA.

A Brand DNA is the backbone of your company. It consists of three major components: business vision, mission, and purpose.  Brand DNA should be part of your overall branding strategy and an integral part of your business. 

These three elements are the bedrock for a great storytelling campaign and will add a dash of personality to your marketing. 

Establishing a Brand DNA ensures that your marketing is not ad hoc, random or inauthentic. Indeed, marketing should be trust-inducing and build relationships between your customer and your business.

2) Form Your Core Messages (CM)

Core messages (CM) are all you need your audience to know about your business, how it can benefit them, and what makes it different.

Think of Core Messages as the general theme that holds essential attributes of your business.  This “them” should be prominent throughout your touchpoints and will give your marketing a unique flavor. 

The goal of this step is to highlight the following points about your brand: 

  • Differentiators
      • What makes your business different from other competitors?
  • Key Benefits
      • What are the main benefits you want to highlight in your marketing messages?
  •  Audience
      • Who is the audience you’re trying to reach and what do we know about them?
  • Pain-Points
    • What keeps your audience up at night? What are their challenges and fears? 

These key elements will then be embedded into your marketing. This will make sure that your marketing is conveying your positioning in the market and differentiating you from the rest.

After you mark these points down and decide on a general message for your campaign, it’s time for the next step, Secondary Messages.

3) Extracting Secondary Messages

Your business probably has multiple touchpoints, from website, blog, social media, reviews, and ads.  This diversity of contact points will need more than one message across it. For example, if you keep repeating the same thing over these channels, it will only fill customers with repetitive and dull messages. 

You need more than one message to distribute across all of these channels. And for this reason, we need to dissect your Core Messages into Secondary Messages

Secondary Messages are the supporting marketing ideas that need to accompany your campaign. They act as derivatives for your main marketing narrative.  

Here’s an example of Core Messages and Secondary Messages for a chiropractic business

Example of Core Messages and Secondary Messages
Image: Example of Core Messages & Secondary Messages

4) Establish Communication Framework

Communication Framework (CF) is the formula with which you will distribute your marketing messages. This formula follows storytelling guidelines used to tell stories for centuries and are now used by expert marketers and seasoned advertisers. 

CF consists of 2 elements: 

  • Message Blocks – This section holds you your Core Messages and Secondary Messages
  • Story Blocks – This section holds the story formula we will use to deploy our marketing campaign. 
Brand Communication Framework
Image: Brand marketing communication framework – Source

This framework will be used to deploy new marketing messages or campaigns. Let’s illustrate this with a real-world example. 

Let’s say you’re a SaaS company and your software helps people be more productive and organized. 

Using this framework, you can start your storytelling campaign by tapping into your audience’s challenges and how your product can solve their issues. 

Example of storytelling
Image: SaaS startup storytelling example

As you can see, we’re tapping into your audience’s challenges and speaking to them directly. This will not only make sure that your messages are conveyed but also make deeper connections. 

All is left now to start distributing the campaign across multiple media channels. 

5) Distribute Your Storytelling campaign

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a vast budget or production studio to run your storytelling campaigns. You will need a set of 3-4 channels to sprinkle the marketing stories on. 

However, choosing marketing channels differs from one business to another. So, to help you find the right channel for your marketing efforts, I’ve designed a diagram that categorizes all strategies depending on impact/difficulty. 

Marketing channels diagram
Image: marketing channel diagram

To Recap

Despite the fierce competition and market clutter, storytelling gives your business a resilient way to reach your audience. It makes marketing more inspiring, relatable, and meaningful. 

A storytelling campaign consists of 5 steps, developing Brand DNA, forming your core messages, extracting secondary messages, establishing a communication framework, and distributing your campaign. 

These five steps are the fundamentals of any marketing campaign. Although straightforward in concept, they are a bit challenging when applied. However, your marketing effort will be fruitful by staying on track, being focused, and conducting proper research. 

Sliman Baghouri
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4 thoughts on “5 Steps To A Mouth-Watering Storytelling Marketing Campaign”

  1. Hi Sliman & Anthony,

    Great tips and insights you have here. Staying on track helps build credibility, and that cannot happen if you get swayed along the way. A good story excites the listener, keeps him glued to his seat, makes the brain light up. So, an effective brand story must focus on the reader or listener’s pain point. Keep in mind that your business won’t exist without your target customers. Therefore, failing to tailor your story or content to your audience persona will make your story ineffective. So, shifting the focus from your brand’s self-importance to the audience’s needs is a remarkable storytelling hack. By telling user-focused brand stories, you indicate that you care about their interests. Sch brand storytelling is proven to drive results.

  2. We definitely need to avoid getting off track with our brand message Sliman. Business owners often try to appeal to people outside of their audience. Or others want to tell stories not based on their brand message, but based on ego wants, etc. Get clear. Tell one story resonant with your brand. Keep at it.


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