The art of storytelling in advertising: connecting with your audience

Symone Edited

Stories have an incredible ability to captivate our imagination and resonate with our emotions. From childhood fairytales to gripping novels, narratives transport us to different worlds.

The power of storytelling extends to the realm of advertising, offering businesses a unique opportunity to connect with their audiences on a deeper level.

Here, our Creative Executive Symone Slater explores the art of storytelling in advertising and how it can leave a lasting impact that sets a brand apart from the rest.

What is storytelling in advertising?

In a world where the average person is exposed to over 100 ads per day, the challenge for advertisers is to stand out amidst the overwhelming information.

Telling a compelling story allows brands to cut through the noise, making their message not just about a product or service but a meaningful narrative that resonates with the audience on an emotional level.

Traditional advertising often focuses on product features and benefits. However, storytelling enables brands to go beyond these conventional approaches.

By weaving in values, mission and a unique selling proposition through a well-crafted story, a brand can create a distinct personality that deeply connects with its audience.

Elements of a compelling advertising story

1. Characters

It all starts with the characters. Every great story needs compelling characters.

In advertising, this means creating protagonists that resonate with your target audience. These characters should face challenges or conflicts that the audience can relate to.

2. Conflict and resolution

A good story needs tension and resolution.

Present your characters with obstacles to overcome and provide a satisfying resolution that leaves the audience feeling fulfilled.

But don’t leave your audience waiting. They need the resolution to feel like they have been on a journey with your brand.

3. Simplicity with surprise

While simplicity is key, the story should also carry an element of surprise.

Whether tugging at heartstrings or evoking laughter, the goal is to make the story memorable and capture your target audience’s attention.

The impact of storytelling

Using storytelling in your advertising can have a real impact on your brand. Here’s some of the biggest ways it can help:

Increase engagement

Storytelling can captivate audiences and create a deeper level of engagement with customers.

By sharing relatable and memorable stories, brands can spark an emotional response from their audience, leading to increased interest and engagement.

Example: Tiny Dancer – John Lewis Home Insurance

The ‘Tiny Dancer’ advert was produced to promote John Lewis' line of insurance. The brand humanised something dull (insurance) by portraying a charming example of why you’d want insurance.

The story follows a little girl dancing around her home, endangering a vase, a potted tree and many other household possessions as she goes.

The advert communicates the magic of childhood is something that should be treasured and protected. Parents can feel free to allow their child’s expression without worry if they have John Lewis Insurance on their side.

The advert is relatable because it plays on something we’ve all experienced. Whether or not the audience has children, everyone was once a child and children love to imagine.

Brand loyalty

Storytelling can foster long-term brand loyalty by creating a personal connection with customers.

By sharing stories that align with their values and interests, brands can build trust and establish a stronger relationship with their audience.

When consumers connect emotionally with your brand story, they are more likely to develop loyalty and become brand advocates, thereby fostering long-term relationships.

Example: Get Ready – Apple

To build hype around Apple's new Vision Pro they released a short video advert.

Apple takes viewers on a journey through the ages of cinema and TV to build hype around their new Vision Pro headset.

Featuring iconic moments from Young Frankenstein to Star Wars and Marvel movies, the power of nostalgia and trust is at the heart of this advert. The clips from well-known films and TV series evoke positive emotions and create trust, which is important when introducing a new product to a market and differentiate it from competitors such as Meta.

The clever use of various film clips depicting the device being placed on the eyes doesn't just build excitement for the new product—it also taps into our shared experiences and memories. It's a brilliant way to connect with consumers on a personal level and create lasting impressions.

Apple is also paying homage to its own history in the ad. Remember the 'Hello' clip from the original iPhone launch? The Vision Pro ad follows a similar structure, creating a consistent brand story and reinforcing our identification with the Apple brand.

By modelling the advertising structure on the first iPhone commercial, Apple achieves a consistent brand story and strengthens consumer identification with the brand and the trust so many of us have placed in it since.

Fostering connections

Advertisers can forge emotional connections with their audience and play on these emotions to craft a compelling narrative around their brand.

Storytelling taps into human psychology to build emotional connections with audiences. A well-crafted narrative can tug at heartstrings, evoke memories, and activate parts of the brain that facts and figures cannot.

Brands that tell compelling stories have a profound impact on their customers, connecting people to brands on a deeper, more emotional level.

Ultimately the advert will become easier to recall in the future as your target audience has associated a particular feeling with your advert and brand.

Example: Kia’s robot dog

Kia wanted consumers to associate electric cars with feelings of togetherness and familial love. They achieved this by telling the story of an electric car owner adopting a little robot doggo.

The advert follows the story of a robot dog stuck on display in an electronics store, longing to be free and live like a real dog.

The dog falls in love with a man with a Kia EV6 who was charging in front of the store.

The dog takes the opportunity and runs away to find the man. The dog sprints across the city and just as he nears his goal of meeting the man, his battery dies.

But all is not lost. The man takes pity and plugs in the dog to his EV6 and they go home together. Soon, he's all better and sitting in the passenger side, sticking his head out the window and barking.

The aim of this advert was to subtly makes viewers think: “If a robotic dog can be just as sweet as a real one, maybe electric cars are just as good as their traditional fuel cars?”

Ready to tell your story?

The power of storytelling in advertising should not be underestimated.

Ready to start advertising your story? We can help. Contact us today to start your chapter.

Share this article:share on twitter share on facebook