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Creative Services|October 12, 2023

How to Make Your Ads More Effective through Storytelling

Learn five important tips for producing marketing creative that resonates with your customers.

camera recording video of man speaking

    In this article:

  1. Define your objective.
  2. Know your audience.
  3. Tailor your message to the screen.
  4. Maximize the impact of your story.
  5. Drive specific action.


Creating powerful, engaging marketing creative is more important than ever, now that audience attention is increasingly divided across devices.

Check out this short video for tips on creating impactful ad creative that drives customer action.

The right ad creative is crucial to your success, and no element of creative is more important than storytelling. Read below to go further in depth on how to take your creative storytelling to the next level.


The 5 Principles of Impactful Storytelling


If you’re marketing your small business or brand, then you’re a storyteller. The story you’re telling is the story of your business and your brand—who you are, and how you can help your customer.

Storytelling isn’t easy, but we can help. Kernel, Spectrum Reach’s full-service internal creative agency, produces thousands of commercials annually for clients all over the country. With access to cutting edge technology and privacy-compliant customer data, Kernel teams living and working across the country collaborate with our clients to produce compelling ad creative that drives results.

Kernel can help translate your brand’s story into a message that will resonate with your intended audience. Whether you are working with us or developing creative on your own, keep these 5 Strategic Principles in mind to inspire the customer engagement you need.


Define your objective.

Think about your creative like a screenwriter or novelist. Is your objective to make viewers laugh? Tug at their heartstrings? It’s important to decide what you want to accomplish with your marketing campaign, and figure out what part of your brand’s story you want to convey to your audience to meet that objective.

After you determine what you want your marketing campaign to accomplish, you’ll design a creative story around that objective. Consider the difference between longer-term business goals and shorter-term campaign objectives. A business goal is all about your business, whereas a marketing objective is more specific.

To create a marketing objective that supports your business goal, answer the Classic Ws used by news reporters: Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

For example, if your business goal is to sign up more customers for an in-home cleaning service, then your marketing objective might be: “Persuade homeowners ages 35-44 within a five-mile radius to visit to sign up for a free trial cleaning before the end of September.” The Who is family-age homeowners; the What is having your house cleaned; the Where is within five miles of your business; When is before the end of September; and Why? Because it’s free!

Once you know what story you want to tell, you need to be sure you’re telling it to the right people.


Know your audience.

Creative should be tailored to the specific audience you’re trying to reach. You wouldn’t tell a story the same way to a child as to an adult, for instance. In marketing, you need to understand your target audience’s demographics and geographics. You need market information, spending habits, household income, age, and what they are concerned about.

People want to recognize themselves in ads. Make your creative bespoke to the needs of the specific community you’re addressing, while still in line with your desired marketing outcome.

But even when you know your audience well, you need to know your medium.


Tailor your message to the screen.

Ever wonder why the movie is so different from the book? That’s because books and films are different media, with different rules and different needs. It is for this same reason that you need to tailor your marketing story to the screen on which it will appear—traditional TV, streaming TV, laptop, smartphone, etc.

Where and when consumers watch video affects what action they take afterward. So, think critically about what platforms your audiences are watching on. For example, the difference between raising general awareness of your brand to someone relaxing at home watching TV at night from their sofa, and retargeting them the next day online at their stressful job, is pretty big. But a viewer doesn’t click through to a website unless they already have some interest; and two separate tailored ads can work together to motivate that customer to click.

There are technical considerations as well. Is your customer watching your ad on their cell phone? If so, your creative needs to work without audio. Text that might be legible on a TV screen may not be on a tablet or smartphone. Think not just about who is watching, but where, when, and how.

But even if you target the right audience at the right time, in the right place, how do you make them remember your ad?


Maximize the impact of your story.

Emotion increases impact. Audiences may not remember all the details about your product or service from your ads, but they will remember how your campaign made them feel. And if your ad made them experience strong, positive emotions, they will begin to remember your brand. Be funny. Be heartwarming. Be surprising.

Think critically about how to resonate with your customers. Consider who they are, what is important in their daily lives, what is going on in their community. How can you connect your brand story to their lives?

So now the customer remembers your ad. Do they know what to do next?


Drive specific action.

Make sure to include a single, clear, and simple call-to-action in your story. What specifically are you telling people to do? Go to your website? Visit a product launch or sale? Make a phone call? Be very clear in your instructions. Keep it brief and to the point. Include a verb, like “Call now!”


Make your campaign count


Keep these fundamentals in mind to guide your creative storytelling and make your campaign memorable and compelling.

Spectrum Reach can help you no matter your budget. We offer DIY or full-scale creative services to create the best ads possible.