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Story-Driven Marketing in the Post-Advertising World


15 min read
9 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Telling great stories can bring you new customers and help you build a meaningful, successful brand.

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Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples


As traditional advertising wanes, branding and marketing experts Robert McKee and Thomas Gerace show how a well-crafted, purpose-driven story grabs customer attention. Stories engage consumers emotionally and motivate them to buy. Using software tools and platforms, businesses can track the effectiveness of their storytelling techniques to determine which approaches provide the best outcomes.


Marketing through traditional advertising is waning.

Advertising that interrupts the experience of the reader, viewer or listener – once the universal staple of marketing – is vanishing. Television advertising, which used to dominate marketing, came up against DVRs, TiVo and ultimately ad-free subscriber services like Netflix. In print media, such as newspapers, circulation fell off a cliff between 1990 and 2016, with a corresponding drop in advertising revenue.

Consumers resist online advertising that models itself after traditional marketing by developing “banner blindness” – the ability to read a web page without looking at the ads – and deploying ad-blocking software. Purely emotion-based pitches, likewise, are unpersuasive, as modern-day consumers find them manipulative.

Stories tame chaos and create order. They show the connection between cause and effect, and bring people together.

Stories offer matched sets of positive and negative values – love/hate, winning/losing, loyalty/betrayal. Meaning and emotions arise as those opposing values shift from one pole to the other.

The emotional payload delivered...

About the Authors

Brand storytelling expert Robert McKee’s articles and interviews have appeared in The New Yorker and the Harvard Business Review. Thomas Gerace is a pioneer in digital marketing and the founder of the content marketing platform Skyword.

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