What is brand storytelling and how can it help your business?

chalkboard-620316_640Now, more than ever, businesses are using storytelling to raise awareness about their brand and create a relationship with their prospects and customers. Through carefully constructed content messaging and visual images, the world’s most loved and recognizable brands use the power of storytelling to enhance feelings of affinity within their target market and loyalty among their customer base.

Stories are one of the most fundamental ways humans have always communicated. Throughout our lifetimes — beginning on our parent’s knee — stories have been central to how we learn about the world, convey our own thoughts, and connect with others. Good stories are memorable because they create relatedness and conjure emotion. We pick up early-on that stories can be used effectively to explain, engage, entertain, and persuade.

And so it comes as no surprise that storytelling is used heavily in marketing — in the approaches we take to promote and sell products and services for our businesses. Companies have always told stories, and with the rise of industrialization and modern commodities, it became even more important for advertisers to differentiate one mass manufactured product from the next. But if brand storytelling has been around for so long, why has it become a marketing buzzword more than a century later?

Digital marketing creates a wealth of opportunity to tell your brand story and connect with your customers. The playing field has opened up; whereas twentieth-century brand stories were told primarily through expensive print and television advertising, we now have more accessible means to reach audiences and tell our stories.

But although websites, blogs, and social media are relatively low cost avenues, even the biggest brands with hefty budgets struggle to do brand storytelling well across platforms. However, the good news is, as a small business, you’re able to create a personal touch with legit brand stories that reflect your close connection to the work you do. You have the opportunity to convey the best of what you have to offer in a way that illustrates why you’re best-prepared to meet your customer’s needs.

Here are 5 quick tips for using brand storytelling:

  1. Be authentic — Tell contrived or inflated stories that aren’t based on your background and experience, and you’ll come across as a phony. Use someone else’s voice, and you’re less likely to resonate. Communicate who you are, but always in a way that’s customer-centric.
  2. Use examples — First-hand struggles, failures, success stories, tales from the trenches, and case studies pull back the curtains and form the basis for relatable storylines that help to build trust. You want your audience to see themselves and their problem in your story, and perceive you as capable of meeting their needs.
  3. Infuse emotion — Create suspense, develop characters, and don’t shy away from getting raw and honest or using humor. In other words, don’t be boring.
  4. Share across platforms — Your story should be coherent, whether you share a bit of it on YouTube, an infographic, or in a written blog; but carefully consider what tales and delivery methods would work best on each medium.
  5. Keep it simple — A compelling brand story is clear, simple, easy-to-follow, and (if pressed) can be boiled down to a sentence or two, and told a number of different ways.

Remember, you’re already a natural storyteller. But also keep in mind that effective brand storytelling requires careful reflection, a depth of knowledge about your customer, strategic planning, and skills such as copywriting, graphic design, and video editing.

Want help with your brand storytelling? Give us a shout.

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