Here’s a little story about what brand story telling is all about. The short and succinct version is in essence just as Jeff Charles put it in his Huffington Post blog: 4 Fantastic Examples of Brand Storytelling; “Brand storytelling is the most effective way to connect with your audience. It involves the many types of stories you tell your audience. It’s what helps you appeal to the emotions of your customers and prospects”. A brand story is given the breath of life not only through the narrative cleverly weaved together in house but just as impressively and certainly as significantly through:
- The stories that are shared between consumers;
- The stories that consumers tell themselves;
- The stories engendered in the culture and media weave; and
- The stories the company gravitates towards
Every brand has a story to tell but telling that story well shouldn’t be a convoluted endeavor. With the exponential growth of mobile usage, social media and, content marketing, the opportunities to reach target audiences via storytelling, as part of a direct and an indirect brand marketing initiative, have virtually become a tactical requirement to succeed.
According to the author of “Beginners Guide to Internet Marketing” Neil Patel there are a few substantial aspects to brand storytelling.
- The “Why” your company exists and the value it adds in the marketplace
- What are the key motivators for the founders and their team to go to work?
- To give your clients, customers, perspective customers, and stakeholders looks see inside your company
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell”
Bonus Video: A brilliant example of a brand story
Advertising and marketing departments have been telling branded stories for years through campaigns, on-site brand exposure, and so forth, but there is an art to writing brand stories as operative segments of online content.
Today’s strongest marketing teams will have new roles like the data architect and the brand creative content director. While the former position focuses on all that big data has to offer, the latter focuses on increasing consumer emotional involvement in the brand through social media and content marketing stories as well as on weaving the brand story line into offline brand experiences and marketing initiatives.
The article 4 Fantastic Examples of Brand Storytelling illustrates 5 different brands that are approaching brand story telling in a precise and accurate way; the stories teach you important lessons making it easier to develop your own brand story.
Here are 6 tips that brand storytellers understand and use to intrigue, engage, and connect emotionally with consumers. These secrets include a mix of branding fundamentals and fiction writing basics. Together, they can help you craft compelling brand stories for your own content marketing and integrated marketing efforts.
- R-E-S-P-E-C-T Your Audience
Every brand has a target audience. And in actuality your audience reflects your brands unique story. When considering your audience, ponder these 3 questions:
- What is your target audience makeup?
- What does your target audience need?
- How can I be of the greatest value to them?
Dig deep to go beyond the surface. If you’re in real estate, don’t just say you’re targeting first-time home buyers who need an agent, and you happen to be an agent. That’s obvious! Instead, bring your audience to life by developing buyer personas. Consider who the buyer is both at work and at home. Think about their daily struggles. Then identify the particular pain points that your products and services can remedy. Once you understand your audience, it’s much easier to identify the role you will play in their story.
Here’s an example: Say you’re targeting Maria Millennial. She’s finished her degree, got her first real job and is ready to move out on her own. She’d love to buy, but she’s understandably hesitant with student debt looming large. To her, a home is an investment, and she’s willing to wait for the right opportunity. Right now, she just needs someone to help her find it.
Honesty is very important in brand storytelling. Your storytelling must remain as transparent as possible and be ingrained in the reality of your brand, products and industry, and ultimately in your audience. Brand stories must adhere to the three primary steps of brand-building:
- Persistence, and
- Remain consistent (you’ll confuse consumers if you don’t, and confusion is the number one brand goblin)
- Instill Identifiable Personalities into Brand Stories
Brand stories are not marketing materials. They are not ads, and they are not sales pitches. Brand stories should be told with the brand persona and the writer’s personality at center stage. Boring stories won’t attract and retain readers, but stories brimming with personality can.
- Create Appealing Characters and Scripts Your Audience Will Applaud
Brand storytelling requires that you create characters your audience will like and cheer for. You’re not required to create new brand mascots to tell a successful, compelling, story. While fictional characters can be very effective in presenting brand messaging there are a variety of other ways to present a well-heeled “B” message. For example:
- Create buyer personas and tell stories from their perspectives
- Tell stories from your employees’ points of view or from a third-person point of view
The important thing is to develop character portrayals that enable your audience to build emotional connections with to such an extent that the audience is compelled to follow the “character arcs”.
- Follow Through with the Essential Elements of Storytelling: Beginning, Middle, and End
Well-crafted stories follow a structure that incorporates a beginning, middle, and an end. Your brand stories need to follow a similar construction.
- The beginning: needs to open strong and establish your story setting and the characters
- The middle should set up your main character’s problem and present conflicts that get in his or her way before he or she can find resolution in the end
- The end is the peaceful resolution
The key is in crafting a gripping protagonist – central character or theme – and designing a captivating story arc, designed strategically, that entices your audience through to a profitable end. Make it enjoyable and they’ll stay with you, and hopefully tell other people about it, and even better yet come back again and again.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Change the Narrative
A persuasive story should – not always – be adaptable and be able to evolve with the passage of time:
- Updating a few minor details;
- Writing a new chapter;
- Re-branding; or
The story you are telling will always need to align with your strategic message, your brand position and most organically, and essentially, your audience.
- Don’t Give it All Away
You can make sure your brand storytelling is convincing by using perpetual marketing; the material is page turning where one aspect feeds off of the other. Always try to leave your audience wanting a little more, and they’ll come back again and again. Consider using “Soon to be an exciting situational change” hooks on your website or social media page; these perpetual marketing tactics offer the perfect opportunity to include offline and mobile storytelling initiative.
As with all branding efforts, the goal is to envelope your consumers with brand building experiences. For any company to succeed it must surmount the basic product, service, delivery model. You must tell compelling stories that touch your customers. Stories that are a big part of the overall customer experience. Your audience must feel comfortable self-selecting how they want to interact with your brand. Tastefully immerse them in a multitude of ways to enjoy your brand story.