From the time that we are children and all through our lives, human beings are drawn to stories and storytelling. Our ancestors were documenting and describing events way back in early civilization, before the mythological time of the Ancient Greeks. Indeed, the way we trace the history of humankind is thanks to the stories and illustrations our ancestors etched and painted onto walls.
Stories are still a central part of our lives, including in advertising. Human beings long ago discovered that a story can be a potent tool when wielded correctly. Storytelling is the ultimate invoker of emotion; it has been psychologically proven that customers make buying decisions based primarily on their feelings; logical reasoning comes second. According to researchers, the human mind is significantly more likely to remember information from an anecdote than when facts and figures are simply put forth. In light of this, branding teams and marketers globally spend billions of dollars constructing narratives and illustrating stories designed to captivate, intrigue and ultimately “win over” their audiences.
For any company, telling its story is critical to building a brand. It helps to shape how people view them and enables consumers to begin forging a connection with the business. The annual A+Product Awards by Architizer gives brands, big and small, an opportunity to tell the stories behind the products they are most proud of and provides a powerful platform to share those stories with the world.
Forust Vine 3D Wood Collection by fuseproject | Jury Winner, 2021 A+Product Awards, Furnishings, Accessories
Entrants to the A+Product Awards will be given a powerful platform to share their story with Architizer’s larger community. First, your entry will be put in front of an illustrious Jury that includes architects from a remarkable array of renowned firms such as AECOM, Adjaye Associates, Gensler, Handel Architects, HDR, LMN Architects, Mecanoo, Olson Kundig, Perkins + Will, The Rockwell Group, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Woods Bagot and ZGF Architects. Then, you’ll have the chance to tell your story and to win over the tens of thousands of architects and design enthusiasts who will be casting their ballots in the Public Vote.
Meanwhile, winners of the A+Product Awards will be given a spread in the The World’s Best Building Products ebook. Distributed to 17,000+ member firms, this ebook is a seriously raised platform from which you can shout your brand’s story to the world. Winners with strong visual and written stories, as well as captivating videos, can also expect to see their products on the pages of Architizer Journal — and therefore in front of our community of over 7+ million architects and designers.
Sticks designed by Arik Levy for Vibia | Jury Winner, 2021 A+Product Awards, Decorative & Free Standing Lighting
Selling a product by adopting the storytelling process doesn’t need to cost billions of dollars nor requires a large marketing team — though, admittedly it can be helpful, it’s not always necessary. Today, all it takes to sell a product is honesty. The current generation of buyers is hyper-aware of what they are being sold and how they are sold. The digital natives of this era are savvy and unlikely to fall for the cliches, gimmicks and inflated figures of the past. With a quick search, they can almost always find the truth. Transparency and authenticity reign supreme, and so do those who can master the art of transcribing it.
In our oversaturated markets, consumers want and need to know why they should choose one product over the others. Very few ideas are unique; if they are, they don’t stay that way for long. Designers and manufacturers are tasked with expressing why what they bring to the market is the best choice, and a powerfully engaging story can swing the vote.
There are many examples of brands stepping away from the hard sell and adopting a more oblique, passive or conversational narrative to their communications, targeting audience empathy and familiarity. Increasingly we are seeing product videos and advertisements that introduce us directly to the development teams behind the scenes. This seemingly open line of communication creates a sense that they are being invited into the fold to witness the insider secrets. It appeals to the naturally voyeuristic side of human beings while also emphasizing authenticity and transparency. We are hearing it straight “from the horse’s mouth,” as it were.
N037 by Nero Cucine, Jury Winner, 2021 A+Product Awards, Cabinetry & Millwork
Of all the ways to showcase innovation, employing storytelling to demonstrate a product is by far the most common. Introducing consumers to the functionality of a product while using a relatable narrative and compelling characters is a great way to accentuate a brand’s voice, as it is essential to understand who you are speaking to. For a demonstration narrative to be successful, you must be acutely aware of the target market for the product. When executed well, we, as the audience, can easily see ourselves using or experiencing the product. We are more likely to buy an item if we can imagine how it fits into our lives successfully.
However successful a strategy, storytelling for a product doesn’t always need to be a demonstration of function. Indeed, technology has changed how we consume stories; they have become part of the essence of our real and virtual lives. Every day we recount our activities, delve into our experiences and what we have learned; we meet people and make emotional connections by swapping tales of our past and our dreams for the future. Inventors, designers, brands and manufacturers tap into these same emotions in an attempt to build their own connections, in essence, to understand their audiences and provide them with products and services that aim to improve their lives.
For this reason, brands are increasingly embracing the video format — now more than ever before. Interviews with designers can help users connect with your product; and videos panning over your piece in action can help users to visualize it in their space. This method of storytelling builds over time, first establishing and then nurturing a relationship with the potential users, who feels more personally connected to the product that they are specifying.
If you think you have a product with a story to tell — any kind of story — apply now for Architizer’s A+Product Awards and share your brand’s tale with our architectural community:
Top image: Adell by Arper | Jury Winner, 2021 A+Product Awards, Contract Seating
The post Story Time: Why Product Manufacturers Need to Craft Stronger Narratives appeared first on Journal.