The Power of Story in Marketing

by Ruth Dibble

Seth Godin, a writer, thinker, and former business executive, explains marketing best. Godin writes, “If you need to persuade someone to take action, you’re doing marketing.”  A common misconception is that marketing is a department within a company where the artists, writers, and trend-setters get together and promote anything and everything for the company, but that the entire company is not involved in its marketing endeavors. Godin sets many straight with his one-liner: “persuade someone to take action.” With this definition in mind, it becomes difficult to not see marketing actions in every facet of our lives. 

Show Don’t Tell

The best advice I’ve received for creating anything from a social media graphic to a painting is to show, don’t tell. It can be easy to want to throw in all the details for an upcoming partnership, new client, or anything else. However, from a design perspective, less is more. You don’t want to connect every dot for your viewer. Instead, the goal is to give them an engaging piece and have them interpret meaning. Another crucial aspect that goes with this mantra is that you are trying to get someone to take action–signing a contract with your business, buying your product, reading a story, tagging your business, and so on and so forth. To get someone to take action, a critical aspect is to keep the target audience engaged, but more importantly, curious. 

The Power of a Story

While telling a story on social media isn’t the easiest task, stories are persuasive. Stories are so convincing because they typically portray humans and create an emotional connection. This idea goes back to Godin’s thinking that everyone tells a story, so you in fact are already a marketer. Stories can be applied to your organization too. We have to remember that not every story will be a success story. When scrolling through LinkedIn these days, you’ll notice that it’s the stories that involve failure and reflecting on that moment of failure that elicit the greatest reactions. People like to see a change and reflections in times of growth. Because after all, we all want to continue to grow and ground ourselves in life in some shape or form. However, I’d be remiss not to mention that organizational storytelling is not only about sharing success stories, but also stating who you are as an organization, how you came to be, what you value, and at the end of the day describing what you do. 

Reflecting on My Time at Plaid

My time at Plaid has been entirely remote, yet I feel completely a part of the team. The entire team has both welcomed me and challenged me. As the Plaid Marketing Intern since October, Plaid Consultant, Meghan Grace, has served as my manager. We meet every week to discuss the plan for the upcoming week and set goals for Plaid’s marketing as a whole, which is to share the Plaid story with readers, clients, and partners. Meghan’s guidance and drive have inspired me to explore social media in ways that I hadn’t considered before–to be thoughtful in how we share about the Plaid story. I have three major takeaways from this experience with Plaid. One has been that stories are everywhere, but sometimes you have to dig and take time to reflect to find them. My second takeaway has been that while new trends and social media apps are always emerging, your organization doesn’t have to be the first to jump on the bandwagon if it doesn’t feel like it can authentically tell your story. My third takeaway is that you can never stop learning. There is always more that I can learn about graphic design, copywriting, and even just layout rules in general. In addition to social media, we updated the layout and look of our newsletter, The Stitch, to connect with readers on a monthly basis to share recent news and updates. As I’ve worked with Plaid, I’ve been able to explore many ways to tell a story and think creatively how we show our readers, friends, and clients how we fulfill our mission to help others be better.

Further Reading: Beginner’s Guide to Marketing by the Morning Brew

Source: “What is Marketing”

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