THE ART OF STORYTELLING – CREATING YOUR BRAND STORY
Storytelling is not a new concept. We have been surrounded by stories of our entire life. They help us making sense of the world around us. We use stories to connect with the others, to make friends and to create relationships, to share emotions, feelings, experiences, and thoughts. In fact, our conversations are dominated by stories.
Then, why shouldn’t we use them in business? In fact, the business storytelling is not an innovative concept either. In a way, the advertisers had been using it for decades to present products and services, brands or companies.
The Art of Storytelling in Business – How They Match
In the last years, the marketing paradigm has changed. We live in a very complex world, where the Product or the Service are not the main characters anymore. The product-centered marketing was shifted with the human-centered marketing. More than ever, doing business is not about just selling a product or a service; is all about meeting the people’s needs, starting from a specific one, and continuing to any need that a human being might have: social, intellectual, spiritual and so on. Therefore, the business communication has changed. The old Promotion has been replaced with Communication.
In these circumstances,
The business communication doesn’t just need to be bullet points, a simple statement or rhetorical rants. The human element, the emotions involved and the brand thinking can result in a memorable message. Stories build messages that people care about. Stories help people to strengthen the message. People remember the message they care about and are related to. And most of the times, if you have a great, articulate, crisp and clear story, which engage the audience and create empathy, people will want to hear more.
What is Brand Storytelling?
Unlike the “traditional” marketing, the brand storytelling turns the spotlight away from the business and features customers or day-to-day people who could be prospect customers.
According to internet marketing expert Neil Patel, there are several key components of brand storytelling:
- The reason your company came to be.
- What motivates you and your team to come to work each day.
- Giving your audience an inside look at your company.
In his Beginner’s Guide To Internet Marketing, he outlines even more components that are involved in brand storytelling.
When we are talking about the brand story, we should respond to the following questions:
- What’s the brand’s intention, its purpose?
- What problem does it recognize and how is resolving it?
- What is the central idea that unifies the brand across all its channels and over the time?
Therefore, the brand storytelling is more than you and your company. It’s more than what you write in your company profile, on your website or in a blog post. It’s your values. It’s about HOW you communicate with your audience, in every aspect. Your brand’s stories are values and must be included in every piece of copy, in every appointment your reps have, in every answer given by your customer service.
Your brand storytelling is not the hardest part of your business. People tell stories every day. It’s something that we do naturally. But to be effective, a brand story must intrigue, engage and connect emotionally with your customers. There are few “secrets” which brand storytellers know and use when crafting successful brand stories, including a mix of branding fundamentals and fiction writing basics. Together, they can help you craft compelling brand stories for your marketing content and marketing integrated efforts.
1. Speak truthfully
Honesty and transparency are extremely important in brand storytelling. Even if you “are crafting stories”, they must be rooted in the reality of your business, products or services and industry. In other words, your brand story has to meet the most important principles of brand building: consistency, persistence, and restraint. Otherwise, they will confuse your audience and, as the result, they will turn away from your brand and will search another one, which meets their expectations in every single aspect.
2. Infuse personalities into stories
Brand stories are not marketing material, nor ads or sales pitches.
Don’t be boring when you craft your brand story because you will not attract and retain the audience.
3. Create characters your audience will root for
Brand storytelling requires you to create characters that your audience like and cheer for. You don’t need to create some fictional characters or brand mascots to tell your brand story. You could tell the story from your employee’s point of views, or you could create a customer persona and tell the story from his perspective. However, you should create characters that enable the audience to connect emotionally to them, so they be able to follow the characters for the entire story.
4. Include beginning, middle, and end
Fiction stories follow a structure that includes beginning, middle and an end. Your brand story has to follow the similar structure. In the beginning, you need to establish the purpose of your story and set the characters. In the middle, you should set up the main character’s problems before he/she could find a solution for his/her problem and in the end, tell about the resolution founded and how the product/service helped him/her to solve the problem. As indicated before, your audience must enjoy this journey and emphasize with the main character. If so, they will stick around, tell other people about it, and will always ask for more.
5. Don’t give it all away
Make sure your brand stories are page turners by focusing on the use of perpetual marketing in your efforts where one piece feeds off of the next. Leave your audience wanting more, and they’ll come back again and again.
Long-term customers are loyal to brands they trust, care about and identify with. So, as your business grows, you should continue to tell your story, by adding more and more pages and chapters. You will not only overcome the boredom of telling the same old story again and again but also keep your audience informed about the changes taking place within your brand. People will emotionally connect to your brand, becoming part of your experience. This is crucial for a long-term relationship and this is the power of storytelling.