Stories are powerful tools.

Humans are hardwired to tell stories and to want to hear them. Successful brands recognize the power of telling their story. Storytelling gives brands the opportunity to connect with their audience on an emotional level, such as this current viral ad from Gillette about a father showing his transgender son how to shave. While the number of views might not translate into direct sales, the content gives viewers a reason to connect with the brand. And that’s important because Millennials, and others, consider a company’s values when making key purchasing decisions.

So we have to ask: Is brand-focused storytelling the foundation of your digital marketing strategy?

Is your marketing team focused on telling engaging stories or are they focused on promoting your key selling points?  Do they have a strategy? Do they leverage the power of authentic customer-focused content or are they following the same path as every other brand? Are they telling your story?

If you’re a senior living community, you recognize the increasing number of challenges in your industry. Occupancy is at its lowest rate in seven years according to the 2019 State of the Industry Report by G5. Baby Boomer demand for senior living is at least a decade away based on the average age of current residents. Skilled workers are also in short supply. Given this landscape, can you afford to fail at telling your story?

Effective storytelling engages the audience and transforms their perceptions of your brand through shared emotional connections. Apple’s memorable 1984 ad connected with its audience because we all want to be seen as bold and brave. On the other hand, the often emotional reasons behind the need to move to senior housing are noticeably absent in the majority of marketing directed toward seniors and their families. Senior living communities are presented in golden light with upscale amenities. It’s a positive story, but is it the right story?

Effective storytelling is unforgettable because the audience identifies with the central character and their challenges. Atticus Finch is heroic in a world that doesn’t recognize his heroism. Readers who voted To Kill a Mockingbird as America’s best-loved novel recognize the struggle he faces in order to do the right thing. It’s what we all hope we would do. But when you look at senior living marketing, challenges are nonexistent and no one appears to be facing real issues. Everyone is happy and smiling, thrilled to be living their best life amid upscale settings. It’s difficult to care about those characters.

Effective storytelling makes a brand appear more human. When BP was tasked with repairing its reputation after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, they focused on telling positive stories about their commitment to the Gulf of Mexico and local communities by highlighting individual people. While many critics derided the $100 million effort as greenwashing, it’s clear the strategy contributed to the company’s eventual return to profitability. Is your marketing talking about individuals or does it suggest your residents are all alike?

Telling a story effectively isn’t easy. And storytelling shouldn’t be a substitute for a comprehensive and holistic marketing strategy. If you’re interested in learning how EnVeritas Group’s storytelling experts can share your stories more effectively, contact us today.

Kathleen Gossman – Account Manager

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