The story your brand tells
The practice of storytelling dates back to the dawn of human history. It’s the universal language everyone can understand and it’s what creates a community, connecting the storytellers to the listeners. In our previous blog post, we’ve introduced employer branding as a communications strategy, so now it’s time to dig deeper into what your company stands for and what story it tells to your customers.
Today, when viewers are getting more and more confused (and with it, more frustrated) about the abundance of products for sale, they are happy to buy into something that tells them more than a hefty price tag. Think of Apple or Tesla. You can love or hate them, but you cannot deny that their customers get more than a quality laptop or an innovative car: they can feel part of a distinguished community. But we don’t have to go as far as the multi-billionaire businesses of the Silicon Valley. Your local soap manufacturing store can create a community based on the values and the story you stand for. Let’s see how!
Storytelling in marketing
As the National Storytelling Network sums it up, storytelling is as much as an ancient art form as a valuable means of human expression. In marketing, it is what brings your brand to life like no other comms tool. The more unique and relatable story you can tell about your product or service, the more it will stand out from the crowd. The moment you connect your brand to a good story, you invite your target audience to a journey they can only experience with you.
Although storytelling has always been part of human communities, the marketing sphere has only truly noticed its significance less than a decade ago. Fueled by Coca-Cola updated content strategy, 2012 was the year that brought about the rise of brand storytelling and put it on the marketing map as a versatile tool suitable for improving brand recognition and engaging customers.
3 reasons why your brand story matters
1. It gives your brand a personality
A business, especially a new one, can easily look and sound rigid and distant – or even worse, very similar to its competitors. A good and authentic story is your ticket to be heard by your target audience and your chance to sound different from the others in your niche. Everyone buys bread, but why do you buy the bread of your local bakery? Because it comes with a familiar face, a reliable routine, and maybe even some chilled chat about the sourdough they use. It’s that small touch of personality that makes the difference when it comes to brand recognition.
Find a voice that’s relatable and is in line with your brand values. It can be anything from a special greeting to an origin story and everything in between. Don’t think in formulas, and mostly, don’t overthink it! Simply start with the truth: How did your brand come to life? What’s the product used for? Get that all together, distil it to your taste, and build your brand personality accordingly.
2. It creates a connection with your customers
The desire for connecting with others is an innate human trait, nothing proved it better than the social distancing struggles of 2020. And just as we like to be around authentic people, we like believable brands too. Now the question is how to get to this connection, who to bridge the gap between detached and remote businesses and users looking for relatable brands? Besides authenticity, the key here is emotions.
And by emotions, we don’t mean sugary and sentimental telltales about (often false) CSR activities and alike – only something that makes people stop and listen for 5 seconds. All you get is that 5 seconds anyway, so you better find the golden balance at it. If your long-term goal resonates with your audience, they are more likely to get attached and form a community around your brand and products.
3. It drives action from the audience
Now you know why it’s crucial for your brand to have a personality and how to connect with your target audience using a good story, but it only is worth something if it ends in action, namely purchase and revenue. You want to sell your product after all, right?
Let’s take one step further! If you can keep your community active, you can even turn your user into brand advocates because nothing sells your brand better than loyal customers. If they use, trust, and love your product, they will go out and spreads the word about it – free of charge. In the era of conscious customers, WOM (word-of-mouth) is a very powerful content marketing tool but can also be quite a tricky one. You cannot buy it, only works if it’s earned – most often by a compelling narrative.
It's time to write your brand story
When people describe storytelling, they often call it the „art of storytelling”. It must fulfil multiple goals: it has to be creative, authentic, and true. But above all, it has to be thought-through and in sync with your values – after all, no one will believe a brand story that’s a far cry from what the company stands for and how it treats its employees. Hence, it’s time for social listening. How does your brand’s story sound like? What does it say about you as a company and as an employer? Is it true? Is it positive? And most importantly: is it heard (by the right audience)?
Crafting your brand’s story is definitely not something that can be done during your morning commute or 30-min lunch break. As marketing professionals with 20+ years of experience, we’d be happy to get you started on the long journey of storytelling. Did we get you intrigued? Let’s talk!