Mistakes to Avoid When You Market Through Storytelling

Storytelling is an age-old concept, but the concept is relatively new in marketing. This can be attributable to the fact that marketers did not see its scalability worthiness. However, the growth of the internet has changed everything – it has become easy for your target audience to follow up any story that you share, and second, it is not a must for marketers to tell a whole story in one go.

In spite of this, people have mastered the art of ignoring anything that does not excite them. As such, it is necessary for marketers to avoid certain mistakes that might cost their effort in marketing through storytelling. This article highlights some of the common mistakes that you should be aware of when adopting storytelling as a marketing approach.

1. Too Much Focus On The Features

A great brand story does not focus on the bells and whistles related to the features of an offer. The best brand stories are based on benefits, interests, values, wants, and needs of the customer, which enhance their life in some way. App.net emphasizes offering clients a solution to some problems they were experiencing such as mistreatment, inadequate or lack of privacy, and challenge the status quo.

Therefore, avoid focusing too much on your brand’s feature, what it can do and instead share a story that is relatable to the target audience.

2. Tell A Story That Does Not Interest Your Customers

Have you ever told a child a bedtime story then over all a sudden he jumped in to control it to direct the story? The same case is similar to businesses and customers. The audience you are targeting has a story that they would love to hear. The implication is that should you deviate from the story; you are likely to experience reduced engagement and low response or none to the call to action. Avoid persuading people to believe a story that they do not connect with; it will not work.

3. Telling A Story That Does Not Evoke Emotions

How emotional your story is determines its possibility of going viral. Several types of emotions such as anger, excitement, happiness, or sadness trigger your audience to share your content. The best story should be more than just an explanation piece and evoke the emotions that align with the current situation and the message you are passing.

4. Letting Facts Ruin A Good Story

It sounds controversial. We are not implying that your story should be about lies. The gist is that you need to select what information goes in your story as well as how to present it. For example, sharing a press release on Saturday because you just hit a million users may not draw the attention you need so wouldn’t it be better if you did it on Monday and let the excitement flow during the entire week?

5. Inconsistency

Most start-ups and even big corporates make the mistake of inconsistency. Do not promise anything in a story if you are sure you will not honor it. It is advisable to stop the whole idea of storytelling if what you say in a story is extremely different from what you are doing. Your words and actions should align in passing the intended message.

Having a clear concept about your brand’s story makes your marketing quite easy and achievable. Any company focusing on leveraging brand storytelling should plan to overcome the listed mistakes. Do you have a start-up story to share?

Examples of Brand Storytelling That Work

A brand story is not just another asset for marketing. It is a guiding principle that the brand should follow and has a significant impact on all organizational aspects. It’s a perfect roadmap and sales pitch. One person might find the answer to the ‘who are you’ question complex, while another might find it simple. The answer depends on how you approach the question.

However, coming up with the appropriate answer should be the sole focus before you think of presenting a product or service to consumers. Let’s look at some businesses and learn more about their brand storytelling to give you insight into things you may want to use to tell your brand’s story effectively.


Airbnb’s focus is firmly on one thing – customers. It understands the importance of customers in sustaining a great product. In the case of Airbnb, the brand is the guests and hosts. This company tells its stories through their gusts and hosts, where the customers share their experiences about the areas that they visit. This focus is so essential for the company that it created a section where they specifically share Stories from the Airbnb Community.


It can be a challenge for big brands with long, rich histories like Minnetonka to share their stories. They make things easier and better by taking an approach is different from most other brands. It has proven to be a winner for them. In their brand storytelling, they suggest high quality and longevity by associating it with the words, ‘quintessential American brand.’ This is an idea that the company has kept, despite moving into the global arena. Holding on to its grass-roots history is a great way to maintain brand building and is what makes Minnetonka timeless.


Founded in 1964, the company known as Nike, today, has learned a lot over the years and has obviously mastered the art of storytelling and giving back to the audiences’ communities, no matter where the customers are globally.

One example of their brand storytelling can be seen in their Equality campaign. Nike stands out as an advocate for equality, mentoring, and many more things based on the trail-blazing values of Oregon settlers. This is easily seen via the stories they share about community programs and events they sponsor. Many of these inspire kids and adults through sports, while also bringing people together for personal and social change.

Zendesk Campaign

Zendesk, which is known for effective customer support software, created an ingenious yet hilarious marketing campaign that helped boost the company’s interests, among its target audience. The brand’s ‘anti-storytelling’ approach earns them trust among its users, by having a very human impression, a thing that is not so common with SaaS providers.

In the Zendesk “Alternative” Campaign, the company created a story about a fictional indie rock band that was frustrated by the supposed ‘stealing’ of their band name by a customer support company. Zendesk finishes the video with the brand writing a cheesy jingle on how vital customer service should be to brands.

Data and statistics can help inform and convince the reader of facts. However, when it comes to a compelling brand story, the secret is to tell a relevant story that moves your audience emotionally and capitalizes on a meaningful or inspiring situation or predicament.

Additionally, focus on being clear and to the point, adding examples or other elements when needed. You also want to encourage 2-way conversations, as well as adopt the right tone and voice. Create the right environment to connect with the audience and tell a brand story that keeps them wanting more.

Why Marketing Through Storytelling Works

How businesses get customer’s attention has changed significantly. There is a shift, among consumers and decision-makers, from the overreliance on old-fashioned sales promises and standard banner ads. With the rate at which competition is rising, it is becoming extremely hard for businesses to draw customers’ attention through television ads or shiny billboards.

Modern consumers are interested in your brand ‘narrative’, which apparently, is more than your USP or even a sales pitch. It is your brand’s voice, your background and identity. The right narrative will help prospects and customers understand your brand from a different perspective, and that is why modern marketers are considering storytelling as a marketing tool. However, what are the benefits? Read on to learn why marketing through storytelling works.

Reasons Why Storytelling is a great Marketing tool

Marketing through storytelling, of course, is not a new concept. Brands such as BrewDog, Marks and Spencer, and even Coca Cola have benefitted from this approach for years. With the average individual consuming over 100,000 digital words daily, research shows that about 92% of these people would benefit from such words if they were in a story format. So, what’s in for brands that use storytelling as a marketing tool?

1. Customer Motivation

Probably, you can remember an advert back in the day. The chances are high that whatever the advert was, it had a story that lingered in your mind. Marketing through storytelling is a great way to draw customer’s attention using a fascinating tale prior to the introduction of a call to action. As such, the brand builds an emotional connection with its prospects and customers such that it is hard to turn down their call to action.

2. Makes Brands Memorable

While customers can remember your brand because of numerous marketing aspects such as a catchy headline, professional photos, or even a fantastic video, nothing beats them all than a great and captivating story. However, of course, the story should resonate with the tastes, preferences, or needs. Can you remember a headline in a book in your kindergarten? We bet, you can remember fables and still hum along most of the rhymes you were taught during preschool. That’s it –the power of storytelling in enhancing memorability.

3. Attitude, Opinion, and Brain Chemistry

It is unlikely that a bunch of statistics or a list of facts will change your prospects’ opinion and attitude towards your brand. This is especially true where there is bias or strong objection to the brand. Research carried out by Berkeley showed the potential of stories in changing people’s behaviors, opinions, and attitudes, as well as brain chemistry. You can incorporate stories in your PRs, opinion pieces, or even in the sales pages to persuade your audience to taken action.

4. Build Trust and Relationships

A report by Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages Survey indicated that 92% of consumers build trust in brands through earned media (media mentions, referrals, word of mouth, etc.). How does it apply? You could be sharing clients’ testimonials, media mention, anecdotes, or even stories with your audience to build trust and strengthen relationships.

5. Creating Neuro-Associations

Storytelling not only makes your target audience remember your brand, but it also adds a more tangible element to its value. There is no doubt that good stories impact our memories. For example, there is a strong connection between Coke and Christmas, which is attributable to Coke’s Christmas advert where Santa uses a brightly lit branded truck to deliver presents on Christmas day. As such, many people in the United Kingdom know is Christmas when they see the truck on their TVs. Using stories to create such associations can transform your brand significantly.

While it is agreeable that storytelling is a powerful tool, it can only be successful if you have a brilliant brand narrative, understand your audience, and use the right channels to reach your target audience.

Regards, James F. Polk

Setup a webhook from your form to your Zapier or Zap using the Direct Zapier Connection. You can Zap to Gmail or ActiveCampaign!

Our Direct Zapier Connection is up and operational and you no longer have to webhook to Zapier, but you still can.  It is FREE on our end to use Zapier and to use Webhooks.  Zapier is a FREE External Integration Program and with their Upgraded Subscriptions you can create Webhooks.

You can setup a Zap inside of your Upgraded Zapier Account to connect a Webhook by Zapier from your DocupletionForms Contact Form to your Gmail or your ActiveCampaign.  Just connect the Webhook URL inside of the program Add-ons tab to the form you want it connected to.  This is a great way to make certain that your confirmation email sent out to your client/person leaving you a message through your contact form will receive the message in their inbox and not in their spam folder.  You can connect with 2000+ different Online Software Programs via Zapier in any number of connection patterns.  Check Zapier out!  Don’t forget to read our FREE eBook on Zapier, and take a look at the Integration Instructions below:

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Disable a Hidden Field that is Required When Shown!

1. If you have a checkbox that you want checked so that people filling out your form, you have to uncheck to deselect it rather than check it to select it, type the following:   


Right after the selection in the checkbox just like the illustration below.

2. Then in the field that you want shown if somebody leaves the checkbox checked, click required so that we can then go to the conditional logic to show you how to properly conditionally disable and enable the required field.

3. Check to disable the field in the add action when the checkbox is not checked.  then make sure to make a second rule (at the very bottom) that hides the field is the checkbox is not checked.  This way you do not set the field to be required and when it is hidden have a form that cannot be submitted because there is a hidden yet still required field.  fun, fun, fun.  

Link to the form so you can see the disabled element be required and enabled when selected and shown.


Confirmation, Notification and Embed/Link Settings

1. Click the settings tab in the actions drop down menu in the form tab.
2. Click the circled elements and make sure to enter the appropriate information so that the person submitting their form receives a confirmation email.  I circled the redirect to another page setting, but you can select the two options that give the person submitting the form a message rather than redirecting them anywhere.

3. Click the circled elements and make sure to enter the appropriate information so that you yourself receive a preset notification email.

4. Click the publish & share tab in the actions drop down menu in the form tab.

5. Click either the embed full form tab (gives you an html code to embed into your page where you want to embed the form.  Our name will not appear at the top of your form), the embed pop up form tab (gives you an html code and it is really nice looking the way it makes the form pop over the page where you embed it.  It can cause problems with the spacing on your desktop viewed website pages and it can also interfere with smartphones.  You just have to fiddle with it.  It is super nice looking.  Our name will not appear at the top of your form), or the share link tab (leave the without box checkbox unchecked at the bottom friendly link section and our name will show at the top of your form, check it and it will not show, but it will be a full page).

How to set conditional logic rules in a form.

1. Made a simple contact form with 3 fields we do not need to show unless the answer to the previous question indicates that the person filling out the form has one or more of the following: phone number, website or Facebook.

2. So then we save the form and click the 3rd option at the bottom so that you can use the Form Manager to set the conditional logic rules.  

3. In the Form Manager click actions and conditional rules.

4.  Then click add rule, condition and action 3 times or however many times you need to set as many rules as you want.  These are simple rules for showing a text field question if the person has indicated in the check box that they have any of the following: phone, website, Facebook. Simple. 

The link to this form is: https://docupletionforms.com/formbuilder/forms/example-conditional-logic-form

Hope this helps.  – James

How to signup to use the FREE Form Editor inside of DocupletionForms.com

This is a quick tutorial with pictures of how to setup a conditional logic form.  At the end there is a link to an article on our our professional association site NAOLDP on how to use the Data-Merge.  Thanks for reading.  – James

1. Go to www.DocupletionForms.com, click to signup for the FREE Form Editor.

2. Enter an email and a password.

3. Login.

4. Click create form.

5. Drag, drop & customize as many contact form elements as you want to inside of the form editor screen.  make sure to add a submit button, and click save.

6. You have 3 options, but we are going to click the 3rd finished option that says take me to the form manager so that we can set conditional logic rules.  conditional logic rules are what tell your form to ask different next questions of the people filling out your form based on their answers to the previous questions in the form.  

7. To the right of the form you are working on, click the action button and select the conditional rules tab from the drop down menu.

8. Click add rule.

9. Set a condition and set an action.  make sure to click the green save button.

10. Go back to the forms screen and select the submissions tab from the drop down menu.

11. Click the eye button to the right to see the submission.

12. i wrote a neo-irish blessing for fun.

13. Below is the form reader that can be accessed by paying $5 for the Paid Data-Merge on the front page of DocupletionForms.com.  


 14. Click Here for a link to an instructional on how to use the Data-Merge.  

Thanks for checking out the free form editor.  



James F. Polk, Founder of DocupletionForms


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