Storytelling has long been a part of the human experience. A special kind of engagement happens when people read, watch or listen to stories. It’s an emotional connection, which makes them perfect for local ad campaigns.

Bringing these to life requires some direction for your advertisers. They lean on you for advice on what ad content and creative will make the most impact. Guiding them to tell stories can improve campaign performance and demonstrate your value to them.

We’ve collected some great ideas that apply to a variety of tactics, including radio, digital and TV.

The Power of Storytelling

Our ancestors passed traditions and memories through storytelling thousands of years ago. They also used it to explain the world around them. Those stories still exist all this time later, and that’s precisely the approach to take when thinking about ad campaigns.

Businesses often look at heart vs. mind when they want to appeal to their audience. Facts and figures are logical. When you take in this information, your brain begins processing it. It can influence attracting customers, but there is no emotion behind it.

Stories speak to the heart. When you read or hear a story, your brain reacts differently. Neuroscientist Paul Zak, Ph.D., and his team discovered that stories literally make our brains “light up” with the release of oxytocin. It’s a biological indicator that the story had an emotional impact.

Stories begin to imprint in your brain, leaving a stronger recall. According to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of purchase decisions are subconscious. So, with this emotional hook, people will gravitate toward brands that tell great stories.

5 Storytelling Ideas for Local Ad Campaigns

Ad formats are short and sweet, but you can still tell a story with these tactics. Here are some ideas to suggest to your advertisers.

Employee Stories Are Great for Recruitment Ads

Many businesses need employees more than new customers. Instead of standard job posts and ads, encourage them to spotlight employees and their personalities. This could work for video ads on OTT/CTV, display or social media, as well as TV ads. The concept would be to bring the experiences of their staff simply from them talking about what they do and why they love it.

Customers Are Also Great for Story-Focused Local Ad Campaigns

Nothing builds credibility and trust like the words of customers. It’s not a new approach to ads, but there are more ways to spin this than simply having the customer give a testimonial. A fresh take would be to capture the customer with the product or service.

For example, local car dealers need some help moving electric vehicles (EVs), and many consumers are interested but have reservations. A new EV owner could be the campaign’s focus, showing how easy it is to drive, charge and maintain them. These would be great for TV, OTT/CTV and video geofencing. (Fence competitors to get the attention of probable buyers.)

Stories Can Tie to Unique Holidays or National Days

There are many niche holidays and national days deserving of storytelling ad campaigns. These days can represent very industry-specific observances. Many of them involve food, so there are opportunities to show the history of this with fun animation. There are days for cheeseburgers, beer, french fries, pumpkin spice and more. Animated videos or GIF display ads can offer fun facts and a promo code.

They could do something similar with a radio spot on the day by giving a bit of history about the particular food everyone’s celebrating.

Storytelling Can Push Consumers to Get Involved

Many advertisers want people to take action. Nonprofits need volunteers and donations. Political groups and candidates have similar needs. They are also attempting to drive people to vote. Public and government entities want people to know what’s happening in your city.

Going to that emotional core can produce great results for these types of customers. They can focus on concerning issues by weaving in data with impactful imagery. For example, local food banks could showcase the happiness and relief of families that receive their services, along with statistics on how many people go hungry in your community.

Laughter and Levity Are Always Great Focal Points for Stories

The last idea is to talk to customers about being fun and light with how they position their business. If they already have a quirky brand, all the better. Making people laugh also means they are likely to remember the company. Think about local restaurants in your city and all the questionable reviews they get online. You can’t help but chuckle at some of these, so that’s an interesting story to tell that turns a negative into a positive. These would be great for a social media campaign.

Local Ad Campaigns Are Perfect for Storytelling

Sharing what you’ve learned about the emotional connection of stories and these ideas is a great way to brainstorm with advertisers. They’ll appreciate that you don’t say the same thing as every other media seller. You and they will stand out with stories!

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