Story Driven Marketing – Marketing that Connects

With guest contribution from Sasha Damjanovski – Communicator and Coach:

Ditch the Pitch

Let me ask you a question. Why are you on social media? Is it to connect with friends and family? Is it to connect with work colleagues? Is it for business or pleasure? What makes you stop scrolling? Do you ever click on your favourite social media platform with the specific intention of finding a product or service?

I bet the answers to the above are that you use social media to ‘stay in touch’ and keep connected and you rarely go directly to a social media platform to buy something. This is important if you want a successful marketing strategy for your business using social media. It’s equally important when you are planning media to stream on these platforms.

I have teamed up with colleague Sasha Damjanovski to explore how to create story driven marketing that delivers the right message.

What makes you stop scrolling?

So what makes you stop scrolling?  It’s likely to be a post from a friend or a colleague, an update or something they’ve shared, and you will re-share if it’s relevant to you. So if you are marketing your business, how do you create an advertisement that works? How do you create an advert that will stop clients from scrolling?

Any marketeer will tell you that one of the key questions they ask is who is the campaign targeting and where is it going to be seen. If you want your marketing seen and shared on social media, start thinking about what makes YOU pause and stop.

I asked Sasha why is it that some marketing works better than others social media?

Sasha on Advertising

“Isn’t it strange how most of us fall somewhere between jaded and outright anti – when it comes to advertising and yet, every December, we all go mad loving and sharing/forwarding a particular type of commercials – the Christmas ads. And another thing – how much media and public attention have certain brands gained (especially in the last year or two) by whipping up storms with their race positive or LGBTQ+ positive commercials. That is free advertising that paid slots alone would have never given them, with passionate engagement from consumers. The reason for both phenomenas is the same – we’re talking about story-driven advertising. Ads with scripted moving/poignant stories, and ads that represent a strong message the brand wants to share with the world, e.g. ‘black lives matter’, ’love is love’ and more.   

The days of shouting ‘we’re the best’ and beating consumers on the head with incessant ‘buy this’ messaging are truly gone. As capitalism is forced to move with the times towards responsible, ethical growth, so are smart brands. More and more, consumers do care whose products they wear and whose services they engage with. The result is that brands have to A) look deeper into their own identity, their values and examine are they being current and relevant (profit alone is no longer enough), and B) use these values as the basis of all their messaging. Ultimately, its about finding ways to connect with consumers and build lasting, mutually rewarding relationships. And how does that happen? Same as with our personal and professional lives. We only really make an effort to build relationships with people we consider to be authentic and with shared values. We try to get to know people, and we do this by sharing our stories. ” Sasha Damjanovski

Doves “Reverse Selfie Campaign”

Take a moment to watch and consider this new video released by Dove. Dove and agency Ogilvy have built a marketing strategy focused on the fight against unrealistic beauty standards, this  started over 15 years ago with the Dove Self Esteem Project. The new ‘Reverse Selfie’ video is beautifully simple in it’s concept, and taps into current concerns about the dangers of social media, the harm over retouching apps and current to our post-pandemic climate; the concerns around increased screen time during the pandemic. This is not marketing with an aggressive and obvious sales pitch. It touches hearts, it’s designed to shock but equally it delivers hope asking viewers at the end to have the ‘selfie talk’.



Building Relationships and Shared Values

Finding a way to market your product or service to engage on social media platforms is still fairly new.  Rather than selling your product, start planning your media around a marketing strategy that tells valuable and relevant stories, that touch on current themes, fears and concerns. At Firetree, we were asked to create a promotional video for a local Market after the first lockdown to encourage shoppers back to the high street. Rather than creating a video showcasing the features and benefits of the Market, we worked on a marketing strategy to connect with the local community. To give a face to the market traders and to tell an engaging and heartwarming story about the Market and its place in the community during the pandemic.

A video that had a hard-sell would not have been received well, with local fears about coronavirus and returning to shop. The final video was shared widely in the local community and had a very positive response and the market saw a significant increase in footfall over the following months. The success of the video was as much to do with its script and concept as it was to do with filming and the production.

Re-Think Your Strategy

If you have a clear idea as to what you need to market, consider what story you can create around your product or service. Think of a strategy that connects with your community or touches on current global issues like climate.  Stories that are interesting and engaging and most importantly add value to those that see it will be shared. Tap into current mood; if it is fearful – give reassurance, if it is confident – encourage and congratulate, if it’s angry – calm and diffuse. Over time these multiple stories will encourage others to follow you and like Dove and it’s ‘Self-Esteem Project’ you will build a following which will of course lead to a greater return on your marketing investment.

Once your connections recognise your brand, they will recommend and remember you, and the next time your content pops up in their news feed, they may just stop scrolling to read or listen.

I hope you found that interesting. If you need engaging and relevant media production to support your marketing strategy get in touch:

Get in touch with Firetree Here. – Business Media Production

Thanks for reading. If you enjoy our blogs please feedback and we always welcome guest contributors with expertise in communication.


About Sasha:

Sasha is a pitching coach and an exceptional script writer. He’s also an award winning producer, director and writer with over 25 years experience in film and TV and in business communications and an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins.