At MBOIndy, an Indianapolis conference geared at helping digital marketers understand current trends in their industry, Shane Snow discussed the importance of storytelling in building a meaningful interaction for your prospective clients. Snow, Founder of Contently, focused on the way storytelling impacts decision-making and ultimately influences consumer habits by evoking emotional responses like compassion and empathy.

Here’s what we know:

  • Trust matters. According to Constant Contact, 90% of online shoppers use reviews as a factor in their decision to buy.
  • Information is secondary to emotion. We are more likely to react to the emotion of an advertisement than to its actual content. In fact, fMRI-neuro imagery shows that when considering brands, emotions trump information.
  • We look forward to an exciting future. Research suggests that individuals are more comfortable choosing calm moments for the present and exciting moments when focused on the future.

So, which companies should we look to for inspiration in the way we use emotion in advertising? Without further ado, here are the storytellers:

PFLAG Canada – Nobody’s Memories
PFLAG Canada provides “support, education and resources on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.” In the video, they show all of the things that gay people will not be able to experience if legislation remains as it currently stands. The ad shows happy couples enjoying moments at their weddings, sharing the cake, leaving the ceremony with rice being thrown, and holding hands as the car pulls away with the “Just Married” sign displayed on the bumper.

  • The Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to combine conflicting emotions. Happiness and sadness can bridge together to form a unique message of understanding.
  • Creative: FCB Toronto; FCB Chicago

Apple Watch – Rise
It’s no secret that Apple products are some of the most sought-after in the world. In the world of technology, one of the biggest fears consumers have is that the product will be too difficult to learn how to use. Here, we see individuals with an Apple Watch waking up, getting dressed, exercising, and commuting. Here, Apple is sending the message that this product will enhance your life—not make it harder.

  • The Takeaway: Don’t shy away from the ordinary. Especially in the tech industry, prospective buyers are not interested in spending hours learning how to use your product. Show how it fits in their daily lives, not the other way around.
  • Creative: Apple In-House Creative

Nike – Better For It
Women everywhere can relate to this commercial. The struggle of getting excited about exercising and the feeling when you are so ready to give up—and then you realize “holy sh*t, I did it!” The commercial shows women fighting their way through a spin class, a yoga class, and even a half marathon. Nike has made these women completely relatable—something sport-fashion companies often overlook.

  • The Takeaway: Be human. Showing the insecurities, doubts, and fears in your ad makes the characters more believable. We love the ultra-strong athletes, but we love the story about how we can get there even more.
  • Creative: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Oregon

WWF – #LastSelfie
WWF used its “#LastSelfie” campaign to introduce younger generations to the plight of endangered animals. It produced images of the animals (gorillas, tigers, etc.) and used them to create a story on Snapchat, where the image only lives for a few seconds. The images were partnered with the simple, yet effective message of: “Don’t let this be my #LastSelfie.” They then encouraged the viewers to tweet about WWF’s mission to avoid these animals’ #LastSelfie.

  • The Takeaway: Know your audience and meet them where they’re at. When WWF sought to connect with younger audiences in order to encourage them to be the next generation of conservationists, they went straight to Snapchat. The hashtag was used in 40,000 tweets within one week and WWF reached its monthly fundraising goal within three days.
  • Creative: 41? 29!