7 Superb Storytelling Examples to Inspire Your Marketing Campaigns
Think about the last story you read, heard, or saw that truly resonated with you.
Did it tug at your heartstrings? Inspire you to take action? Make you forget about everything else going on around you?
Good stories keep you reading, watching, or listening. Great stories suck you in and transport you to another world—even if it’s only for a few minutes while you read a fantastic email or watch a captivating video ad.
But using storytelling in your marketing campaigns poses a challenge. Not only do your stories need to be creative, captivating, and engaging, but they also need to tell your customers more about your products, brand, and brand values.
Succeed at this challenge, though, and customers will see your brand as authentic, personable, and memorable—not to mention a brand worth following on email and social media.
So, do you want to tell more stories via your marketing campaigns? Keep reading to discover seven ecommerce storytelling examples to inspire your own story-led marketing campaigns.
Brand story examples to inspire you
Brand storytelling involves using a narrative—think characters, conflict, conclusion, etc—to connect customers with your brand, products, and what your brand stands for (i.e. your values.)
Think about why your brand exists and what makes it feel personal and more human. This is your brand story, and it’s one of the best differentiators you can have since your competitors can’t copy it—at least not authentically, anyway.
When coming up with your own brand story, imagine it’s a compass. Your core brand story will help guide all the other stories you want to tell throughout your marketing, ensuring all your communications are consistent and aligned with your brand and vision.
Not sure where to start? Take a look at these brand storytelling examples to inspire your own brand story.
There are lots of company founders and solopreneurs who use their past experiences to inspire their businesses, products, and brand story.
If this sounds like you or the business you work for, then sharing these experiences with your customers as stories is an easy and fast way to instantly inject more personality into your brand to inspire more genuine connections.
PURELEI, a Hawaiian-inspired jewelry and lifestyle brand based in Germany, is one of my favorite examples of storytelling in marketing in action. (I’m also in love with Hawaii, so they get my vote straight away just for that!)
In all seriousness, though, PURELEI’s stunning jewelry collections are inspired by the brand’s co-founder’s experiences in Hawaii, which they never let their customers forget.
From reading their “Inspired by Hawaii” brand story on their website, to seeing how they style their products on Instagram—think sun-kissed skin, beaches, waves, and Hawaiian flowers—to even watching their fourth birthday video, which also features in one of their current welcome emails, many consumers will feel like they want to hop on a plane straight to Hawaii—or wear PURELEI’s jewelry as the next best thing.
Remember I said stories can help your customers feel something in connection with your brand? Well, I think it’s safe to say that in PURELEI’s case, customers feel a sense of wanderlust and tranquility when they think of this Hawaiian-inspired jewelry brand.
Your task when crafting your core brand story is simple: stay laser-focused on what your brand’s mission is.
Because your brand story inspires all other stories you create, it’s only right that each story fits in with an element of your brand vision, values, or mission.
Take Bombinate, for example. They showcase a variety of artisanal brands and products on their website and have four key brand pillars: quality, craft, story, and ethics.
Alessandra Russo, head of content at Bombinate recently shared how their brand focuses on a sense of community. And what’s one surefire way to engage their community and get their audience more involved with the brand? By sharing stories, of course!
“Your community will organically come to you and start interacting with you because they know that there is someone behind the picture posted or that story,” said Alessandra.
"Your community will organically come to you and start interacting with you because they know that there is someone behind the picture posted or that story."
Alessandra Russo, head of content, Bombinate
Bombinate uses many stories within their marketing campaigns, but their recent Valentine’s Day campaign is a fantastic example to take notes from.
This one saw them sharing love stories about people who are both partners in life and business as a unique way of showcasing the different brands and products Bombinate features on its website.
While stories are often based on words, they don’t have to be. Videos and images, for example, both have the power to tell great stories—even if you don’t use any words at all!
Grass-Fields, a supremely popular African-inspired fashion brand, evokes their “made in Africa” brand messaging throughout their marketing.
Thanks to a superb music choice and captivating behind-the-scenes look at how their clothes are made—and by who—the video at the top of Grass-Fields’ “meet the makers” webpage really drives this message home.
The best bit? You can easily understand the “made in Africa” vibe in the video—even despite no one saying anything. No actors. No voice-overs. Just their brand, clothes, and an honest look at their production process.
Story-led marketing campaigns to spark your creativity
While your brand story will underpin everything you do, it’s not the only story you can tell.
You can also use storytelling throughout your marketing, like email drip campaigns, social media posts, and website copy.
Remember: The best stories evoke emotion and empathy. After all, your customers will remember how you made them feel, not necessarily what you’ve said or how you’ve said it.
The aim across all your marketing stories is to make your customers feel strongly enough to take action—whether that’s buying from you, subscribing to your email list, pledging to support a cause you and your team care about, or any other action that makes sense for your brand and business growth.
Want to see how this looks in action? Here are four fantastic examples of storytelling in marketing to spark your creativity.
Stories are a lot of fun to tell. Whether you’re sharing funny anecdotes or inspirational and uplifting stories, there’s so much room to allow your creativity to shine through.
One brand that tells unique stories is the US-based apparel brand, Chubbies Shorts.
Choose almost any email, social media post, webpage, or Youtube video that the Chubbies team creates and you’ll find a story to make you laugh and smile.
One example is the time they shared their Marvel collection via email, which started with a story about the writer letting spiders bite them when they were younger in the hopes they’d turn into Spiderman:
Even the brand’s back-in-stock emails sometimes start with a weird or wacky anecdote—like this one where the writer admits they got lost in the woods for 72 hours while wearing some Chubbies shorts:
These are just two examples of storytelling from Chubbies Shorts, but they also show that interesting stories don’t have to be 1000-word essays.
These mini-stories from Chubbies Shorts are just a couple of paragraphs long and are super effective at grabbing a reader’s attention—even those with a short attention span—while humanizing this fun apparel brand at the same time.
Sharing honest and relatable stories in your marketing campaigns enables you to get up close and personal with your audience, which also helps them to relate better to your brand and what it stands for.
I’m sure you’re like me and can think of dozens of brands who excel at transparency. Beardbrand, a men’s grooming products brand is one of my top go-to’s.
Part of their brand persona comes from the company’s founder, Eric Bandholz sharing his thoughts about the Beardbrand products and other issues their audience cares about or can learn from.
A few years ago, Eric shared a video in which he told a personal story about the fertility issues he and his wife were having. He also shared how they overcame their struggles, so men facing similar issues or just general upset in their daily lives can learn from this personal experience while feeling closer to the Beardbrand company.
This video also currently appears in one of Beardbrand’s automated welcome emails, which is a powerful and empathetic nod to wellbeing issues that many of their audience may be facing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Captivating stories give you the freedom to talk about issues and values that are close to your brand’s heart.
Better yet, stories give you the freedom to get your audience excited about the stuff you’re passionate about, too.
While it’s easy for your core brand story and values to influence your marketing campaigns, it also works the other way around.
Take Skinnydip London, a trendy lifestyle brand, for example. Back in 2017, they launched a campaign called #HateSucks, which was focused on supporting the LGBTQ part of their community.
Throughout the campaign, this trendy brand’s marketing team used multiple different channels to get their story out there—from podcasts and video to social media and email campaigns, and even a product tie-in!
While the Skinnydip team may have once thought this was just a one-off campaign, they’ve since folded that same campaign up into their brand story and core values to show it’s still something they care about as a brand and want to continue supporting.
If your brand voice supports them—and your audience enjoys them—why not try sharing a shocking story for extra impact?
While I was writing this blog post, an email popped up in my inbox from a transcription service I use called Rev.com—and it’s a perfect example of shocking storytelling at play:
At first, I didn’t notice the “issue” with the subject line: “The Perfect Speech-to-Text Newsletter Doesn’t Exi—.”
But I certainly noticed the featured image and opening paragraph, which was written as if a hacker had written it.
What was Rev.com promoting? Their new security update. I’d say they did a good job of doing so in a unique, memorable, and highly engaging way. Do you agree?
What’s your story?
And—just as all great stories must end—I must now leave you with a few final words because it’s your turn to craft some compelling stories. Be creative with them and have fun!
Once your stories align with your brand, your customers will love the personal and human touch you’ve given your marketing campaigns—and you will surely wow them.
So, what’s your story?
Do you want to tell more stories through your marketing campaigns? Gain even more inspiration from these top ten email campaigns of 2020.
Are you ready to wow your customers with stories via email?