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Indianapolis Chapter of the American Marketing Association

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Storytelling: A Marketer's Secret Weapon

Written by Laura Neidig

What on earth do Taylor Swift and Paul Harvey have in common? They’re master storytellers.

The late radio host Paul Harvey became known to millions of Americans for his mantra, “And now you know, the rest of the story.” He poignantly weaved details from history into stories many of us had to sit in a car — even after we reached our destination — just so we could hear how the story ended. And Swift? She connects with her audience through laser-focused lyrics, and she has the first platinum album this year (“1989”) to show for it.

Storytelling is paramount to marketing professionals – and Kindra Hall, the November guest of the Indianapolis Chapter of the American Marketing Association drove that message home last week. Her topic, “Storytelling: Every Marketer’s Secret Weapon,” took this popular buzzword in today’s marketing playbook and gave the audience plenty of concrete marketing applications.

Hall told the audience how she gravitated to the world of storytelling, (as an 11-year old she first attended the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN) and how she used storytelling in school to not only draw teachers in, but as a theme for her master’s thesis.

“Humans are attracted to stories, and we fit them into our own narrative,” she said. “So the connection between storytelling and connecting to people makes perfect sense. We HAVE to draw our customers, audiences and donors into our story, as that is where the strongest connections are made. Storytelling does such a good job of this because we are wired to respond.”

The right stories, Hall says, create action, and she offered a few real life examples from her own work to illustrate that point. Here is where the marketing application comes in: Honing in on emotions and the unique selling aspect, told by a story, can make our products and services stand out. We become different, and different is precisely what we, as marketers, need to be.

Hall stressed that every story should have a point — so what’s the point of this one?

The Indy Chapter of the AMA consistently offers incredible professional development opportunities. Wherever you are coming from in the marketing landscape — advertising, copywriting, branding, creating visual or written content, social media, traditional media — you will be in for a treat!

Learn more about Kindra Hall at kindrahall.com.