Growing companies are great storytellers. We can prove this with data that measures storytelling proficiency. The results are compelling and your brand can be measured too.
We measure brand storytelling on 3 dimensions:
1.) Storytelling presence: the number of storytelling elements, on average, we find per content piece that we process. This speaks to the storytelling density and “richness” of the content.
2.) Storytelling consistency: the percent of the total content offered that has 3 or more storytelling elements present. This tests whether or not the story is extended to all content regardless of format and channel, or if storytelling is only present in certain areas (we’ve encountered several clients that have very storytelling-rich blog content, but a much lower presence in content of other types).
3.) Storytelling balance: this measures how evenly distributed the story is across the storytelling arc. If your brand story presents your offer 5 times more than any other part of the story, you’re likely putting off buyers early in the buying process. If you disproportionately present market dynamics, you may be having trouble moving buyers along the journey. So perfect balance is not necessarily the objective, gross imbalances are usually detrimental to the experience you are offering.
Up to this point, we have processed close to 600 brands and their respective content offerings. Those 600 represent a mix of B2B, B2C and B2B/B2C brands. From those brands collectively, we have analyzed over 1.3M pieces of content and climbing.
Growing companies have good storytelling scores
We have a unique view on content marketing and some strong opinions on many fronts. Here is one truth that we can quantify: the presence of rich brand storytelling is correlated with strong financial performance.
Some of the top scoring storytelling B2C brands include: Disney, Farmers Insurance, Chevy, Expedia, Nissan & AT&T. These brands all have demonstrated recent growth. For Chevy, we used statements by GM corporate citing Chevy cars (we ran the Chevy Malibu) as the strongest contributor to recent growth (9%).
The biggest anomalies were Apple, which has posted recent financial decline. Most, I think, would agree this decline is due to product issues. Avon is an interesting outlier, as their content marketing scores are very strong with slight top-line declines (4%).
Storytelling works for B2B
We had to get a bit more creative for some B2B brands. We used self-reported customer or contract growth as a proxy for some of the private B2B brands we have run. The result are even more dramatic for B2B marketers.
Some of the top-scoring storytelling B2B brands included: Sage Software, Amazon Web Services, Netsuite, Workfront, ion Interactive, Cintas, and Akamai, all of which reported recent financial growth.
For anyone thinking, “well everyone knows that good storytelling drives revenue.” I have 2 comments:
1.) That may be true, —maybe most marketers intuitively know good storytelling drives revenue. My challenge is, who decides the definition of good storytelling? Sure, we all recognize a great story told in a Coke commercial, but what about the brand selling industrial cleaning products? Can you quantify the presence of strong storytelling for your brand? You can now.
2.) 8-Point Arc can tell the storytelling strength of your brand and the brands with which you compete. We can tell you if your content has a strong storytelling presence before you actually publish. So if we agree that great storytelling drives performance, and now we can measure great storytelling, it begs the question, what are you going to do now?