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The power of a good story

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It is the coordinated symbiosis of visual language, music, mood, emotions, light, editing - and: a story. 

Goosebump moments, tears in the eyes from laughter or emotion, melancholy, joy. The best films are timeless and are characterized, among other things, by the fact that they bring a change in our lives - even if it is only for a brief moment and we think about what we have seen and process it intensively. 
⁠It is the coordinated symbiosis of visual language, music, mood, emotions, light, editing - and: a story. 

Titanic, Gladiator, The Dark Knight, E.T. or even thrilling classics like Psycho or Scarface are true masterpieces that exhibit exactly this coordinated symbiosis and captivate us so much that we are willing to watch and experience the story again and again - even if we already know it. 

Stories have "power" - welcome to storytelling.

What is Storytelling?

In summary, storytelling is the art of telling really good stories. It is a method that is used in marketing, among other things, to convey information, as well as emotions. Storytelling can be used to add some color and life to dry, boring numbers. 
⁠Storytelling - who would have thought it - has its origins in literature, in movies, in fairy tales, in journalism and - in political speeches. 
⁠A story or history usually consists of three parts: Beginning or introduction, main part and the conclusion or summary. Sounds trivial? But it isn't. There is always a character who is in a situation that needs to be changed - and by the end of the story, that's what happens. So we have 3 parts: Initial situation, complication and finally the resolution. 
⁠We tell stories to entertain others, to impart knowledge, or perhaps to achieve a goal of our own, to make ourselves look better, or to distract us from other things. Stories define our lives, shape our day. They have been around since - yes, that long - the dawn of time.
⁠Storytelling is also used as a method in marketing and advertising. It follows the same rules as storytelling in movies or books. It is mainly used to attract attention, to persuade people to do something, to convince people. It is always about action, because: Every story used in marketing, for example, pursues a goal. 

Clear so far? Okay, let's take a closer look at the advantages of storytelling for companies. 

Advantages of Storytelling 

It certainly takes some practice before you feel comfortable with storytelling via Instagram, for example. But the effort is worth it - here's an overview of some of the advantages of storytelling: 

1. Sympathy: Stories can be used to arouse sympathy in the target group. Likeability can be the starting point for building trust - and ultimately for customers to become attached to a brand or company. 

2. Absorption and retention: It has been scientifically proven that information is better absorbed and processed when several senses are addressed simultaneously. Not only hearing and seeing, but also the emotional level, for example. In addition, we process images faster than text. A good story is remembered. 

3. Differentiation: Stories are remembered - and also when they are used to clearly differentiate oneself from others. To the point and focused, presented in a story - the comprehensibility for differentiation from the competition can be strengthened in this way. 

4. Attention through creativity: Stories that appeal to multiple senses and are creatively designed can generate attention and thus stand out among all the other content. 

5. Focus: With a story, you focus on one topic to be told. This also draws the target audience's attention to what is most important, rather than overwhelming them with facts and figures.

Besides these 5 aspects, there are still points that clearly speak for using storytelling in content marketing or in the whole company. It can improve credibility, it can surprise and fascinate, we learn from stories, we escape everyday life in stories (audio books, Netflix, etc.), stories can provide orientation in the information overload of our world. 

Now that we have learned why storytelling is such a great method in marketing or communication, let's take a closer look at how to write good stories. 

Tips for good stories 

Every story has a few ingredients - whether in marketing, audiobooks or film. 

First of all, every story needs a main character, a hero. The audience should identify with this character. This character shines through sympathy - or by being an underdog. Everyone likes underdogs. 

We now spice up this character with ingredient 2: the goal. Before you conceive a story, you should always ask yourself the question: What do I want to achieve with it? When that is clarified, the character of the main character also changes, for example. 

Now we need a conflict. This 3rd ingredient comes from resistances and challenges that the main character (and also his friends, his team, a company, a family, etc. - there can be many characters, of course), has to deal with and which prevent him from reaching his goal. 

Seasoning number 4: Dramaturgy. Every story needs a climax that has developed. You need a starting situation, a complication, a resolution. This is also where you can use the different plots, such as the comedy or tragedy, the quest, the rebirth. If you want to know more about the Basic Plots, just have a look here. 

Last but not least: the resolution. Every good story leads us to resolve the inner tension we experienced at the end. Through a happy ending, more information, a plot twist. No matter how, but at the end of every story there is a resolution that has at least led to something being learned. 

In addition to these 5 main ingredients, it is of course also important that the images or videos fit the core of the story, that the appropriate music has been chosen for e.g. a commercial and that in written stories the choice of words is varied. 

Hm, aren't there any real-life examples that you can use as a guide and learn from? Of course there are! 

Best Practice

Storytelling - a method in marketing to draw people into the spell of a story. And there are many practical examples of this method that show how it works. Let's take a look at various commercials that trigger the full package of emotions - through a story. 

EDEKA #coming home

The Christmas campaign of the retailer Edeka has moved many to tears and stimulated just as many discussions. 

The protagonist of this 2015 story by Edeka is an elderly gentleman who tries every year to invite his children to join him for Christmas. So much for our problem and challenge. The protagonist fails at this one over and over again. 
⁠The climax of this story emerges when the children receive letters informing them of the death of their father. Now the children all set out to pay their last respects to their father. Lo and behold, our protagonist has not passed away (twist) and surprises his children by saying, "How else could I have gotten you all together?" 
⁠The denouement shows the happy family now all sitting together at the table and eating together at Christmas. The message of Edeka's story is clear: family is important and so is getting together and taking time for each other (at Christmas, for example). "Macabre," say some, "Heartwarming and timeless," say others. One can argue whether the message and story could have been told in a different way. However, in terms of storytelling, this 1.5 minute clip from Edeka is a true masterpiece. 

For starters, you are captivated by pity for the protagonist, tension is created by the letter, and the resolution is touching. With this campaign, EDEKA conveys the values that are important to the company - and thus creates sympathy. Without putting products in the focus, a connection to the company can be created.

EDEKA always shines with their storytelling and creative commercials. Chapeau!

Johnnie Walker - Dear Brother 

Johnnie Walker, the maker of single malt Scotch whisky, absolutely captivates us with the story of two brothers. 

Our protagonist is on a journey through his homeland and the place of his childhood. He tells about his childhood and that "he" was always by his side, protecting and supporting him, so that our protagonist was free and felt free. The journey takes our protagonist along all the places where he shared different moments with "him" and created memories. The tension grows from second to second. This journey in itself is the challenge that the protagonist must face. Why? That's what the resolution shows us.

And Johnnie Walker creates that resolution in a beautiful, sad way: The protagonist scatters the ashes of "him" - his brother - over the sea, in his home. Accompanied by the words "Never let your memories die" and "Keep walking", Johnnie Walker shows us in this story the importance of memories and appreciation of others. 

The good glass of single malt Scotch whisky is shown discreetly placed as the brothers toast in the (presumably) family home. Minimal product focus, big impact. Johnnie Walker shows us the importance of memories. More than a great piece of work.

Storytelling is used a lot in marketing and advertising, among other things, and there are many great storytellers who captivate us every day. Besides Johnnie Walker and EDEKA, there are many other great examples: 

These examples and many, many more show us the "power" of stories, the possibilities and also the potential. 


Storytelling - a method of marketing, which is deliberately used to attract attention, to surprise us, to make us think, to bring topics into focus. Stories can breathe life into our lives - the results of storytelling, e.g. in the form of commercials, show us this time and again. 

So where do we go from here? All that remains for us to say is: Let's write stories. 

You can find more from us here, of course.

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