Storytelling is a universal theme among human societies. It ranges from ancient cave paintings and handed-down oral tales and parables to convey events and truths, through to our popular modern-day methods of telling stories such as films, television and print and electronic media.
No matter the era or culture, we humans are drawn to storytelling from a very early age – something that is embodied in small children’s requests for a bedtime story, even when it’s the same one night after night!
It certainly appears that storytelling is something that is hard-wired into our DNA. Some studies show that more areas of the brain are stimulated from hearing engaging stories than is the case when we merely hear or read lists of facts, and that it also leads to better recall of information and sustained attention. In addition, when we hear stories that particularly touch our emotions, it can almost be as if another person’s experience becomes our own, and it may even motivate us to act in certain ways in response.
The place of storytelling in Chinese culture
Storytelling in Chinese culture has long been an important way for people to communicate and share information about China’s cultural history and identity. Traditional storytelling in China – known as ‘Pingshu’ – has also come in various forms, including oral testimony, written forms, drama, and music.
China’s strong background in storytelling makes it important for marketers to China to go beyond simply advertising, and to find ways of engaging their target audiences through story and narrative. Brands and products that use storytelling in China to convey messages may be better able to gain people’s attention and to engage with them for longer, and may also be able to facilitate better recall and memory.
Brand storytelling in the China market may also help overcome language and cultural barriers, especially as it can be done using strong imagery as well as through words.
So how can you use storytelling?
Some of the ways that storytelling can boost your branding in China include:
- A history of how your business began, including the risks, obstacles and struggles that had to be overcome to achieve success.
- If you own a family business, you could talk about your family’s history through both words and images.
- The use of imagery and design – such as your product labelling and packaging – to convey messages about your brand.
Your stories do not need to be filled with heroes and dragons to be engaging, but should be relevant and interesting enough to resonate with your target audiences, and to facilitate memory and encourage a deeper recognition of your brand.
So why not consider how you can tell a great story about your brand in China? If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with our team. We can help you come up with ideas and also assist you with any other aspect of online marketing to China.