Every piece of content you write, from a simple Facebook post to a detailed blog post, has the potential to tell a story. Every brand has a story to tell and more and more brands are recognizing the importance of brand storytelling.
Brand storytelling is not unlike traditional storytelling. According to the National Storytelling Network, storytelling is:
“…the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination.”
Note that storytelling is an interactive art. It requires that the storyteller and the audience interact with each other and share an experience. Brand storytelling helps marketers cut through the noise that consumers are constantly bombarded with and make a connection.
Identify your brand’s story…or stories
The first step to telling your brand’s story is to identify it. Start by asking yourself a few questions about your business. The answers will help you form one or more stories.
- Why did you start your business? What motivated you to start your business? Did you identify a problem that needed to be solved? Maybe you recognized a need that wasn’t being addressed in your community.
- What is your history? How did you get your start? Did you work out of your basement for a year before finally getting a storefront?
- Who is your team? Who are the people who do the work that benefits the customer? What is everyone’s role? What is unique about them?
- What makes your business unique? Why should the consumer pick you over the competition? Why is your product or service unique or valuable? What will the customer gain by choosing your product or service?
As you answer these questions ask yourself why these things matter to your audience. Be honest in your answers, and consider how they might help you make an emotional connection with the audience.
Choose your medium
Choose the most effective medium for each of your brand’s stories. Sharing your full history can’t be accomplished in a single Tweet.
Long, in-depth stories are best told through blog posts, website content and webinars. Short, concise stories are best told on social media, video clips and even graphics.
Tell your story
Storytelling is a way to set your brand apart from competitors. The best brand stories are genuine, elicit emotion and spur the viewer into action. Use these tips to build a story that compels the audience to act and connects them to your business:
- Be personal. Consumers want to interact with people not faceless companies. The best brand stories are told using the voice of a person, not a business. Choose team members who have natural storytelling skills to handle content creation. They will act as the voice of your brand, giving the company a persona that the audience can connect to.
- Stop bragging. Even the best intentioned brands have shot themselves in the foot by beginning a story with, “We are proud….” The audience does not care about how wonderful your company thinks it is. If your company is active in the community, talk about the community and the people who make it so incredible. You can mention your participation, but don’t make it the focus of the story. In the end you are still showing the audience that you are a part of their community, but you are telling a story rather than bragging.
- Evoke emotion. No matter what the emotion is, fear, happiness, joy, or sadness, emotions make people feel alive. It’s that feeling that will ultimately connect them to your brand. Research has shown that consumers rely more on their emotions than on information when choosing a brand to support.
If you have one marketing goal in 2017, it should be to master the art of storytelling. If you’re struggling to find your voice, contact us. We can help you tell your brand’s story.