Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsMADELINE PATERSON: People remember stories. They can have a real impact. And the story can be the thing that you remember when everything else just goes from your memory.

Skip to 0 minutes and 19 secondsThey can persuade, influence, they can deceive you. You remember the highlights of a stories as well because its got a beginning, and the middle, and the end. And stories have characters as well, that can have a big impact on you. You can identify with those characters or identify with the situation. And that's how marketing makes use of stories. So it helps you to create a picture in your mind that might influence your choice, influence your decision. And I think that's why we've decided to use storytelling as a theme for our course in a way, because it helps us understand our own respective positions in a story.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 secondsAnd I think we're seeing these days real stories from real people being used in marketing, whether it's stories from the people that are working in a company and sort of express the values of the company sometimes if they're interviewed, and if their stories are told. And companies now are also sharing the stories of their own customers, so that new customers can see how their products or services are being used.

Introduction to storytelling

We remember stories. We identify with them. We are intrigued. We wonder what else there is to know. We understand the characters’ dilemmas. We can believe a story, or we may disbelieve.

Stories are powerful. They can justify our beliefs, validate us or dash our hopes. They can uplift us, challenge us or embolden us to take action. Stories capture us and we are transformed - if only for a moment.

In this video Madeline explains why we are using storytelling as a theme for this course.


We like to share stories with other people. When we share stories with the person we know (the people we are connected to), as well as saying something about us, which is a strong motivator for sharing, it is in effect a personal recommendation.

As we discuss later in the course, if consumers share a brand story with their connections that brand story holds greater value.

We are all affected by the marketing and advertising around us, however sophisticated we consider ourselves to be. We are all consumers – and some of us on the course are also marketers.

So, what is marketing - if not a way to intrigue, involve and capture people’s interest? In marketing, we first need consumers to take notice of our communication. We have to make an impact so that they pay attention.

As marketers, we have a purpose for our communication. It might be to surprise, delight or amuse. It could be to inform - to have the consumer remember just one thing.

Or we may want the consumer to get a sense of what the brand stands for and, by implication, what it means to be someone that ‘buys that brand’ or ‘shops at that store’.

What is digital marketing - if not a way to communicate with, potentially, massive numbers of people who may be interested in the stories that we have to share? If, as digital marketers, we ‘create content’ that people want to share, we can increase our impact massively.

We can show people what our brand is all about, what we do, what we value, who we are and what our brand ‘stands for’. Increasingly, consumers are interested in what a company or a brand believes in.


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This video is from the free online course:

Digital Marketing: Challenges and Insights

University of Southampton