What is Brand Storytelling?
Brand storytelling can greatly enhance interest and engagement in you and your business. It has emerged from the explosion of content marketing, brand journalism and article writing that has taken a prominent role in today’s marketing mix.
Each one of these brands consistently tells their story through their visual imaging and content messaging over several platforms and media. They have all built an awareness and relationship with you of their products and values.
Who doesn’t know these names and what they offer?
Your brand story is more than what you tell people. It is what they believe about you based on all the signals your brand sends out. The story is a complete picture of the facts, feelings and interpretations, which are shared about your business by you, your customers, your community and the public in general.
As Christopher Ratcliff of Econsultancy explains:
“It’s a phrase we all understand because it’s one of the fundamental ways we communicate ideas, educate and entertain each other from infancy. We remember information far better when it’s in the form of story rather than as a list of facts. People tell stories, art tells stories, TV tells stories, ads tell stories… so it seems straightforward enough when a marketer talks about ‘storytelling’, we know what they mean…”
Business Brand Storytelling Combines Several Essential Aspects
Who you are
What you specifically do
How you solve problems
How you add value and care
How you engage and contribute
Here’s part of a cool infographic that follows 85 years of brand storytelling since the 1930s.
5 Elements Make for Great Brand Storytelling
Keep it Simple and Easy to Understand
It’s best to brand for the masses, not just your insiders.
A great example of this is Dove. According to statistics, only 4 percent of women feel good about themselves across the globe. Dove decided to do something that would move the other 96 percent.
From the very beginning, they tried to look for an idea that could actually prove that most women were wrong about their self-image.
They had several ideas, but “Real Beauty Sketches” really stood out. The ad depicts an FBI forensic artist named Gil Zamora sketching women (that he can’t see) by the way they describe themselves. The idea is that women are too critical of themselves.
The tagline: “YOU are more beautiful than you think!”
Make it Emotional
Include characters, personality, humor, pain and joy. Some of the best ways to accomplish this is through blogging, article writing, video, podcasting, webinars and workshops.
Tell Your Truth
Insofar as you believe it and as it has helped others. Share specific examples of your brand in action including the product, process and people that make it happen.
Use First Hand, Real Time Experiences and Examples
Show and tell what you do daily and tell the stories of others you see going through their experiences.
Make it Relatable
So that it is touches people, is poignant and authentic, lingers, entertains and inspires people to want to share and pass it on.
Your brand is you. Your branding is everything you do to promote and market yourself.
4 Tips and Examples for Telling Your Brand Story
Use Specific, Meaningful Ideas
Go Pro Camera is an amazing example of a company and product that is such an integral and important part of our personal and business lives today: visual marketing and storytelling. They make cameras and accessories that fit and fulfill what we do today to capture and share our lives. Their slogan is “This is your life. Be the hero. Capture and share your world.”
Use your Website, Social Media and Email Marketing
Clif Bar is much more than just a power bar for athletes. Husband and wife team, Gary and Kit Crawford, were being pressured to sell Clif Bar. In 2001, they made the brave decision to stay private allowing them to develop an innovative business model guided by Five Aspirations—Sustaining our Business, Brands, People, Community and the Planet. With a portfolio of great-tasting food crafted for athletes and active people, they have become a category leader among health and lifestyle bars.
Balance your Online and In-Person Activities
Ben & Jerry’s operates on a three-part mission that aims to create linked prosperity for everyone that’s connected to our business: suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbors alike. Their product, economic and social missions assure that their central role that business in society is initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.
Share your Successes and Failures
The NFL, Target and McDonald’s all have a compelling comeback story. They all got hit with safety and health issues, massive data breaches, higher worker wages and changing food wants, needs and options.
They had to make swift and significant changes to streamline, simplify and align with public opinion. They learned they cannot hide or rest on any laurels and must be accountable to their employees and all their generational customers.
Brand storytelling is a powerful, personal and effective way to keep you real and top of mind. It educates, inspires and ultimately will help you sell and build indispensable relationships and loyalty with your customers and community.
There was a person that had a dream of helping other people solve their problems. So, they created a simple, easy to use solution and asked people to test and try it.
The people really liked it, but had a few suggestions on how to make it better. The person listened, made some modifications and continued to test it. When they were sure it was ready for all to see, they launched it on a bigger scale through marketing, advertising, networking, word of mouth, journalism and social media and it is now a successful small business that helps many people.
This can be your story and it can come true for you, too.
Elements for Great Brand StorytellingDescription
Keep it Simple and Easy to UnderstandCreate a story that resonates with a wide audience, not just insiders. Make your message accessible and relatable.
Make it EmotionalInfuse your narrative with characters, personality, humor, pain, and joy. Utilize various mediums like blogging, video, and podcasts to evoke emotions.
Tell Your TruthShare your brand’s authentic journey and experiences. Highlight real examples of your product, processes, and people in action.
Use First Hand, Real-Time Experiences and ExamplesShowcase daily activities and experiences within your brand. Share stories of individuals going through their unique journeys.
Make it RelatableCraft a narrative that deeply connects with your audience. Make it poignant, authentic, entertaining, and inspiring, encouraging sharing and engagement.
Crafting Your Compelling Brand Story
Crafting a compelling brand story is a crucial aspect of brand identity and marketing. It helps you connect with your audience on a personal level and build lasting relationships. Here are some key elements to consider when crafting your brand story:
Define Your Purpose: Start by defining why your business exists and what problems it aims to solve. Your purpose should resonate with your target audience’s needs and aspirations.
Highlight Your Journey: Share the journey of how your business came into existence. People love stories of perseverance, innovation, and dedication. Include the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.
Showcase Your Values: Clearly communicate your core values and principles. Explain how these values drive your business decisions and impact your customers positively.
Introduce Your Team: Introduce the people behind your brand. Share their stories, expertise, and passion for what they do. Humanize your brand by putting faces to the names.
Customer Success Stories: Include stories of satisfied customers who have benefited from your products or services. Real-life examples add authenticity to your brand story.
Visual Storytelling: Incorporate visual elements such as images, videos, and infographics to make your brand story more engaging and memorable.
Consistency: Ensure that your brand story aligns with your brand’s overall messaging and values. Consistency across all platforms reinforces your brand identity.
Interactive Content: Encourage audience interaction by asking for their stories or experiences related to your brand. User-generated content can become a part of your brand story.
Key Elements for Crafting a Compelling Brand StoryDescription
Define Your PurposeClearly articulate why your business exists and the problems it seeks to solve, aligning with your target audience’s needs.
Highlight Your JourneyShare the story of your business’s origins, emphasizing perseverance, innovation, and overcoming challenges.
Showcase Your ValuesCommunicate your core values and how they guide your business decisions, positively impacting your customers.
Introduce Your TeamHumanize your brand by introducing the people behind it, sharing their stories, expertise, and passion.
Customer Success StoriesInclude real-life stories of satisfied customers who have benefited from your products or services for authenticity.
Visual StorytellingEnhance your brand story with visual elements like images, videos, and infographics to engage and leave a lasting impression.
ConsistencyEnsure your brand story aligns with your brand’s messaging and values consistently across all platforms.
Interactive ContentEncourage audience interaction by inviting them to share their stories or experiences related to your brand.
Brand storytelling is a multifaceted and indispensable strategy in today’s dynamic business landscape. It transcends conventional marketing approaches by fostering a deep, emotional connection with your audience. Your brand story is not just a promotional tool; it’s a narrative that encapsulates your identity, values, and vision, allowing you to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Brand storytelling is an ongoing journey that continually evolves with your business. It’s a testament to your growth, adaptability, and commitment to your audience. In this comprehensive conclusion, we will delve into the key takeaways and explore why brand storytelling is a game-changer in contemporary marketing.
The Power of Emotional Engagement: One of the primary virtues of brand storytelling lies in its ability to evoke emotions. When your audience connects with your story on an emotional level, it fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty. Whether it’s through heartwarming anecdotes, relatable struggles, or inspiring successes, your narrative can touch the hearts of your customers.
Authenticity Drives Trust: In an era of increasing skepticism, authenticity is a precious currency. Authentic brand storytelling is about being transparent, honest, and genuine in your communications. When your audience perceives your story as authentic, it builds trust, which is the cornerstone of lasting relationships. Authenticity is not about being perfect; it’s about being real.
Differentiation Amidst Competition: The business landscape is saturated with similar products and services. What sets you apart? Your brand story. It’s the unique narrative that distinguishes your business from competitors. Whether you’re a start-up or a well-established corporation, your story can captivate the attention of your target audience and make you memorable.
Inspiring Action Through Purpose: Purpose-driven storytelling has gained immense traction. When your brand story aligns with a meaningful cause or purpose, it becomes a catalyst for change. It inspires your audience to take action, whether it’s purchasing your product, supporting your mission, or advocating for your brand. Purpose-driven storytelling goes beyond profit; it’s about making a positive impact on society.
Adaptability in a Dynamic World: The business landscape is in a constant state of flux. Consumer preferences, market trends, and societal values evolve rapidly. Brand storytelling allows you to adapt to these changes while remaining true to your core values. It’s a flexible strategy that can accommodate shifting narratives and keep your brand relevant.
Connecting with Digital Audiences: In the digital age, brand storytelling thrives across various online platforms. From social media to blogs and videos, you can disseminate your narrative to a global audience. Digital channels enable you to engage with your audience in real-time, gather feedback, and tailor your story accordingly. It’s an interactive approach that fosters a sense of community.
Measuring Impact: The effectiveness of brand storytelling is not merely anecdotal; it’s quantifiable. Through metrics like engagement rates, website traffic, and conversion rates, you can gauge the impact of your narrative. Data-driven insights help you refine your storytelling strategy, ensuring that it resonates with your audience.
Longevity and Timelessness: A well-crafted brand story possesses timeless qualities. It can withstand the test of time and adapt to changing circumstances. Your story can evolve as your business grows, making it a sustainable asset that continues to captivate new generations of customers.
Collaborative Storytelling: Brand storytelling doesn’t have to be a one-way street. It can be a collaborative effort involving your customers, employees, and community. Encourage user-generated content, testimonials, and shared experiences. These contributions enrich your narrative and showcase the real-life impact of your brand.
The Role of Visuals: Visual elements, such as images and videos, play a pivotal role in brand storytelling. They provide a powerful medium to convey emotions, showcase products, and narrate your journey. Incorporating compelling visuals into your storytelling strategy can enhance its effectiveness.
Apple Store Photo via Shutterstock