The Art And Science of Brand Storytelling
By Troy Kadavy |May 5, 2016
Overview of Brand Storytelling + The Why & How To Use It In Marketing
Would you believe it if I told you that this first sentence you’re reading right now is the most important of all in this post? On every article it’s that first sentence, that exact one, which determines if I’ll be able to retain you through the rest of my feature or risk losing you to another article on this site, a hilarious video clip on YouTube, or worse, a competitor’s site.
No kidding right? So what are we talking about in this post; brand storytelling. It’s currently a top buzz trend in the marketing circles, but really… it’s not new; just rediscovered.
What’s a better way to grab the attention of your consumers than using stories? Over the years, storytellers have honed the art of creating enthralling content that quickly captures their audiences’ attention. Indeed, neuroscience can now confirm that various traditional crowd pullers such as prophets, jesters, and minstrels already understood this secret; that using narratives to relay information is key to getting people hooked in and ultimately create an emotional connection that lasts.
Fast forward to the present digital age and anyone can now become a storyteller. Yes, you heard that right. Social networks provide us all with an equal opportunity to tell our stories in unique ways that are capable of helping us attract audiences to ourselves or our brands. Simply put, these networks are virtual campfires around which we can now sit and share our tales with others. Of course, some people or brands will be better than others when it comes to telling stories and capturing audiences’ attention.
So how can you become a captivating storyteller?
Like anything else, you have to work for it, no shortcut about that. Telling a good story and actively involving your targeted community calls for quite a significant amount of groundwork. Indeed, you will be amazed to know how rare it is to find a brand that does its storytelling in the right way. This is because a majority of the brands today aren’t willing to put in the needed effort to their storytelling pursuits. As such, most will opt to carelessly throw things out there which hardly bears any fruits in the end.
Top Storytelling Questions You Need To Answer
For a brand to succeed in its storytelling, there’s a need for it to approach the whole process in a different manner than it would to its traditional marketing. As such, the brand needs to evaluate keenly why and how it wants to use storytelling. In the end, the whole process should sound like a soul-searching exercise rather than a marketing one. Below are some of the key questions to ask yourself when looking to tell your brand story;
- Who are you?
- What’s your story?
- Will people care to listen to your story?
- What’s your stand?
- How has been your journey?
Failure to nail these questions before starting out on your storytelling will only make your efforts worthless. Besides, your brand will need to stand out from the pack! Avoid those stories that are just “nice” stories and instead concentrate on stories that help to drive a point about a principle or value that’s dear to your brand.
My Take on Some Simple Steps to Telling a Brand Story (4 Steps if You Want a Count).
Step 1: Identify your perspective
Any brand story should start by defining the main character. For example, if your brand is in the business of selling products, then your story needs to be told from your customers’ perspective. Conversely, for brands dealing with service provision, the ideal perspective in which to tell a story would be that of the community being served.
User personas is another aspect worth considering when storytelling. Focusing on one or several of your user personas will help create something your audience can use to identify themselves with your story. This way, your audience should be able to see themselves in your story.
Step 2: Draft your plot
Your storytelling should have a clear plot and be easy to follow. Besides, your plot will need to relay your brand promise and brand benefits which is simply what your audience expects to get from it and the benefits they actually get in the end. For a more effective brand story, ensure to have a plot that clearly states the beginning and the end of your story. Besides, make sure that your story includes an emotional note at the end.
Step 3: Consider using various versions of your story
At this point, you probably already have your story and are ready to share it. But how will you tell it? Is the story only available in a video or pictorial formats perhaps? If so, you could be limiting yourself to only a few avenues of sharing the story. As such, try to look for other ways through which you can tell the story using various other social channels.
Make your brand story flexible enough in that it can be communicated in a variety of communication channels. For example, create attractive still photos from your story to get an appropriate copy to share on Instagram. Additionally, you should consider creating a story that elicits reactions from your audience and possibly prompts them to share their questions and reviews on Twitter and Facebook. Create hashtags for both Twitter and Instagram to help facilitate production of more user-generated content.
Final Step: Generate an emotional response
Brands (or any other entity) often love using stories due to their emotional resonance. Take the example of your favorite TV drama series. It’s inherently human to care about the characters involved and especially the script’s protagonist.
The care we develop for these characters makes it incredibly easy to remember them. In the same way, stories are often a lot easier to remember and require less thinking to process facts and information. For this same reason, brands should consider using stories more regularly especially when looking to deliver messages that audiences need to remember for longer. Stories can be really personal and more relevant than the commonly used standard information that most brands rely on today.
Be Strategically Creative
To this end, we hope that your brand will henceforth place more emphasis on using stories to relay critical information to your audiences. Don’t just settle on offering those standard, lackluster hard details that bore your audiences to death. Rather, make it easy for your audiences to memorize your brand by using stories that excite them.
Need help on how to use storytelling to grow your brand? Look no further. Your friends at 92 West are always here to assist you tell your story in a more exciting manner. As such, we offer you tips, strategies, and even technical support to help you come up with a sellable brand story that truly captures the attention of your audience. Reach us today and be our next success story!
92 West | Branding, Digital Marketing, Web Design and SEO