How to Harness the Power of Storytelling in Event Marketing

Let’s be honest… it takes a lot of time, attention, and energy to plan and execute an event. The last thing you want is to waste your resources on an event that falls flat. After planning and executing dozens of events for clients over the years, we’ve learned some of the most important best practices for creating an effective and unforgettable event. Harnessing the power of storytelling is one of the foundational pillars of effective event marketing.   

Building your event around a compelling story is beneficial for several reasons. It makes promoting your event easier by creating a more intriguing hook for guests or media outlets. It unlocks creative ideas and opportunities to engage attendees. It is easier to promote, and it creates a more memorable experience for attendees. Ultimately, it enables you to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

How to Harness the Power of Storytelling in Event Marketing

Here are some specific tips and ideas that marketers can use to harness the power of storytelling in event marketing:

Start with a Strong Story

The first step is to come up with a strong story that will resonate with your audience. You need to decide on the core idea behind your event. The “story” of your event should be relevant to your brand, your values, and your overall blueprint for your brand story.

Here are a few questions to consider: 

  • What is the overall purpose of the event? What messages or emotions do you want to convey to the attendees?
  • What are the core themes or ideas associated with your brand or organization?
  • Are there any key moments or events in your company’s history that could be used to tell a story?

Make it Personal for Your Audience

Helping your audience see themselves in the story is an important factor. The events that resonate the most are ones that allow you to connect with the audience on an emotional level. When your attendees can see themselves in the story, they’re more likely to remember and enjoy the event.  

Creating an event that resonates with your audience can be challenging because so much of your attention is focused on your marketing goals. Taking time to ask these questions can help create an event that personally resonates with attendees: 

  • What is the target audience for the event? What are their interests and pain points?
  • What could make it a must-attend experience for your target audience?
  • How can you improve their experience or their life through the event.

Engage All the Senses

Visuals can be a powerful way to tell a story, but it’s equally important to think beyond visuals and incorporate elements that appeal to sight, sound, touch, taste, and even smell. In the iconic words of Marshall McLuhan, “The medium is the message.” The way you deliver your story determines its impact on your participants, so have fun with it! 

Here are a few ways you can create an “immersive experience” that supports the story you want to tell:

  • What emotions do you want attendees to feel during the event? 
  • How can you evoke these emotions using sound and lighting design or visual elements?
Real-World Examples of Storytelling in Event Marketing

Over the past few months, we’ve been able to design and implement several event marketing strategies for our Green Apple clients. Here are some examples of how storytelling has been used in their event marketing plans:

The Skylight Grand Opening Event: Sip & Sample 

After months of renovation, The Factory at Franklin wanted to create an opportunity for guests to explore the reimagined space and celebrate the grand opening of The Skylight—the new bar at The Factory at Franklin. We designed an event called Sip & Sample that highlighted The Skylight’s narrative of being a space for the community. We brought together new and current vendors of The Factory and invited the community to join us for this exclusive grand opening event.  

Crain Construction’s 90th Anniversary Celebration

Known for building relationships and structures that last a lifetime, Crain Construction wanted to celebrate their 90th anniversary alongside team members, former employees, customers, and industry partners who supported their growth over the years. By hosting the event at Prancing Horse of Nashville Ferrari Dealership—one of their most recent projects—we were able to create an immersive experience that celebrated the past while generating excitement for the company’s future. 

United Communication’s Project UNITE Celebration

United Communications is a local internet company making tremendous strides in providing high-speed internet access to rural communities across Middle Tennessee. They came to Green Apple Strategy looking for a way to celebrate a state-funded grant for their Project UNITE initiative. Every aspect of the event, including the location, speaker list, and food choices, was designed to demonstrate the company’s commitment as a local provider.

Let Green Apple Plan Your Next Event

Special events are a powerful tool that can be used to enhance your marketing goals. If you’re ready to develop a compelling story or theme for your upcoming event, ensuring a memorable and impactful experience for your attendees, we’d love to talk. Reach out to us for a consultation.

5 Books to Read When Looking for Your “Why” in Marketing

Discovering your why when marketing your business should always be step one. It’s the foundation upon which you can build your entire brand—because people don’t create a business without a reason. They create a business because they are passionate about providing something to their audience or solving a problem.  This is especially important for your marketing strategy because when you fully understand what drives you and your company, you can explain it to others. Marketing is primarily storytelling, and you need a story to share with your audience. So, when you’re discovering your why, especially as you inform your marketing direction, where do you start? If you’re a bibliophile, we recommend these five books to find the true drive behind your company’s efforts.

1. Robots Make Bad Fundraisers: How Nonprofits Can Maintain the Heart in the Digital Age

For the nonprofit organizations that live on fundraising, your why is essential. People give their time and their money because they feel good about where those resources are going, and they want to make a difference. By discovering the heart of your organization and telling that story in the strongest way possible, you can insight passion in others and boost your fundraising goals.  In Steven Shattuck’s book, Robots Make Bad Fundraisers: How Nonprofits Can Maintain the Heart in the Digital Age, he ventures to answer an important question: Has technology actually gotten in the way of building a personal connection with our supporters? He would argue that, yes, the more digital our world becomes, the less our hearts are in it, and the further we stray from our purpose. We rely on these technologies to fuel our growth, but, in reality, they are allowing us to lose focus, and we aren’t telling the passionate story of purpose these organizations were founded on. This nonprofit-focused marketing book actually has an interesting lesson to teach us all, even in the for-profit sector—how to keep the donors you have, inspire new donors to give, and maintain your team members’ sanity.

2. Brand Storytelling: Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story

A business’s purpose always circles back around to the most important person: the customer. We build these businesses because we want to help our audience overcome a challenge or feel a certain way. It’s only right, then, that we keep our customer at the heart of the brand story. Miri Rodriguez’s book, Brand Storytelling: Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story, helps us do just that.  Rodriguez guides the reader to use storytelling to trigger the emotions that humans are driven by. She explains how to analyze, pull apart, and rebuild your brand’s story in a way that focuses the business as the “sidekick,” putting the control in the customer’s hands, allowing them to be the key influencer.

3. This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See

“Great marketers don’t use consumers to solve their company’s problem; they use marketing to solve other people’s problems,” says Seth Goldin, Author of This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See. This book description could stop here, as that’s the perfect way to describe what it means to discover the reason behind why you do what you do.  Goldin draws upon his many years in marketing to explain how marketers can make the world a better place through powerful marketing elements: empathy, generosity, and emotional labor. He walks the reader through identifying their viable audience, drawing on the signals to position their offering, building trust, telling a meaningful story, and giving people what they need to achieve their goals. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. Right?

4. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Does your message matter if your audience isn’t listening? In his book Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, author Donald Miller shares his method for connecting with customers—helping them understand the benefits of using a brand’s products, ideas, or services. By simplifying your brand message, your audience will grasp it more quickly and be motivated to move forward. Miller helps readers do this through seven universal story points that all humans respond to.  When building our messages, we must keep our messages clear and engaging. And where does that message begin? You guessed it: your why. Your understanding of your purpose allows you to build a clear message. Miller can help you get there.

5. Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers

We search for our why because we want to matter to our customers. That moment when you think, “I have this great service. Why is no one taking advantage of it?” It’s because you know how great it is, and your audience doesn’t. In her book, Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers, Bernadette Jiwa explains that we “have no shortage of ideas, but we struggle to tell the story of how they are going to be useful in the world.” We couldn’t agree more. By posing a series of thought-provoking questions, Jiwa helps the reader dive into what about their brand will resonate and how to craft a message that will matter Are you looking to take your marketing to the next level? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

What You Should Know About Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z

By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?  This statistic shines a bright light on how our marketing lens should shift as generations age. Before we knew it, Millennials will be three-quarters of the workforce, and in the blink of an eye, Gen Z will be right behind them. So, how do we market to these audiences? What makes them tick? In this article, we share what you should know about appealing to these two age groups.  But first…

Is generational marketing worth it?

Though many brands are hoping to attract an audience of any age, some are surprised to find that they are only seeing individuals who fit the same profile. Of course, one may think, “Well, that’s the audience that is attracted to our business.” While, yes, there is some validity to that, you may be missing entire generations of people who would be interested in what you have to offer.  If you’ve noticed that you aren’t attracting the younger Millennial and Gen Z generations, consider these tips. 

5 Things You Should Know About Marketing to Millennial and Gen Z Audiences

1. Your brand story should be authentic.  
Your audience can spot “fluffy” marketing campaigns from a mile away, especially Millennials and Gen Z. They have grown up with a surplus of information on their computers or at their fingertips, giving them years of practice at filtering out what isn’t worth their time. Tell a story that speaks to their motivations and their needs. Provide them with a practical reason to engage with your business because, trust us, this audience wants to feel good about the companies they support. You can allow them to feel connected to your message by crafting an authentic story they can care about.
2. Email marketing is still effective, even for Gen Z. 
Most people assume that Gen Z’s attachment to social media makes it the best, or only, way to reach them. However, according to a recent study by Campaign Monitor, 58% of those surveyed check their email multiple times per day—so there is very little competition for space in their inboxes. Don’t be too quick to assume that traditional marketing tactics are lost on younger generations—those may just be the avenues we need to grab their attention. 
3. Use your limited time wisely.
Make your marketing count. A widely-used and often disputed marketing statistic is that Millennials have a 12-second attention span, whereas Gen Z has eight seconds. Many believe that the issue is less about the ability to pay attention and more about an overwhelming amount of options. Whichever you feel is true, the goal is the same: your time is limited, so use it wisely. Let’s imagine that you only have eight to 12 seconds to make these younger audiences notice you. How are you going to stand out from the countless competitors vying for their attention? 
4. Hone in your customer experience. 
As we discuss the importance of authenticity and helping your audience feel connected to your brand, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention customer experience. Millennials and Gen Z have higher expectations than generations before them—not in a way that feels demanding, but rather they want to feel taken care of by the brands they’re trusting with their hard-earned money. Younger generations are more selective and want to believe that you want to help them solve a problem or meet a need. Analyze your customer experience to ensure ease of use and that each customer feels special and supported throughout the process. After all, who wouldn’t want that in a buying experience? 
5. Focus on diversity, inclusivity, and equality. 
Millennials and Gen Z help us identify areas in our society that need to be more diverse, inclusive, and equal. Though these challenges have long been fought for by many generations, these two age groups are using their social platforms to raise awareness about these issues—and it’s changing our expectations for the companies we support.  Take brands like Aerie and Target, for example. They identified that their customer base wanted to see more representation. These brands answered society’s call—embracing the idea that humans are diverse, and we deserve to see that in the brands we support. Both retail chains have begun to show greater representation in their marketing, including more diversity in body shape, race, and gender. You’ll notice this change in other areas as well, such as mannequin sizes and clothing options.  Though these are specific examples, we can learn from Aerie and Target when considering how to speak to our Millennial and Gen Z audiences—through supporting causes they care about and making a genuine difference in the world. 

We Can Help You Reach New Demographics

If you take one lesson from this article, let it be this: these generations want to feel good about where they spend their money. So, let’s do everything we can to show them we’re worth the effort. Do you need help finding the missing pieces to your marketing demographic? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.