What Is Brand Storytelling?
Before you can start telling stories, you must know the basics.
Everyone knows about the formula: the rise, the climax, and the fall. But how do you apply those ideas to your brand identity? And — perhaps more importantly — why would you want to inject your marketing messages with these narratives?
Brand Storytelling Defined
Since people love stories because they are interesting and engaging; a brand story is no different. It is a narrative that establishes the context for a brand and its products. Generally, it tells the story of how your company's values came to be and what your brand stands for.
On the other hand, brand storytelling is a technique used by marketers to connect with customers on an emotional level. With the upsurge of social media and the dominance of content marketing, brands realize the need to bring people closer to their offerings.
In a world of information overload, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to break through the noise and get noticed. For your company to stand out, you must have a powerful story that can connect with your audience.
The Elements of Effective Brand Storytelling
Brand storytelling is more than an account of what you are doing. It's a collection of continuously told stories that add up to the image people have of your company. Here are the four (4) elements you can consider in creating brand stories:
It is the quality of being genuine. Authentic brands are genuine as they avoid marketing gimmicks and don’t try to be something they’re not. Don’t create stories to follow the latest trend. When telling your life story, stay true to your brand's identity.
The most successful brands are willing to make themselves a great example by telling their own stories openly. Be sincere about your company’s unique selling proposition, core values, and even the difficulties you face in life.
In storytelling, empathy refers to our ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and experience their feelings as if they were our own. It’s what makes your audience relate to your shared values. If you can’t understand their feelings and emotions, you can’t tell a good story.
The more you empathize with your audience with your storytelling, the more they may invest in your brand. People spend money on things they believe can make them happy and realize their personal values. If you can help them do that, they may be more likely to support you.
When you tell a great story, you need to ask yourself if it’s something people want to hear. If they don’t care about what you have to say, they won’t listen and certainly won’t share it. Your brand story should be relevant — something that people can relate to.
The key players must collaborate to co-create a brand’s story, including brand storytellers, customers, and marketers. Some other brand involves the audience as part of the story itself. This can be done through various methods; social media posts can also be utilized.
This element describes how your business achieves its goals by creating customer value. One way to help your company tell more brand stories is by creating an overarching business goal for your marketing efforts. Each goal must be aligned with your brand story.
It is not only about creating stories about your company's successes and what you can do in the future. When done effectively, it can help people understand why your business exists. It answers why consumers should care and how they can benefit from doing so.
The Mechanics of Brand Storytelling
A powerful brand story builds tension. Tension, drama, and highs and lows are all parts of a compelling story. The more you can create tension in your story, the more interesting it can be to hear. Your brand's story may be similar to how people experience life changes.
When creating tension, think about your favorite movies. Each story includes characters who change over time, moments where they have to make tough decisions and revelations that lead them down new paths of discovery. All these things create excitement for the audience.
The Rise of a Story
The rising action is the part where we see things changing but not yet at their peak or low point. Something fundamental is happening. This is where the main character starts to take action, and the situation begins to change.
The main characters may be a person or group of people who embody a purpose, and the setting is where they do it. Generally, the conflict points out what stands in their way as they show their character traits and try to create value for others.
There could be an internal conflict (like doubt or fear) or external forces (competitors). It’s when something happens that causes a domino effect of events, leading up to the climax of your brand's story.
The Climax of a Story
It is the most exciting part of your story. In fact, it’s the major turning point that changes everything. It may likely be where you have to make some big decisions about your brand, such as changing logos or launching a new product line.
Sometimes, it’s a sad moment or an exciting story. It’s when the main character faces the greatest challenge and overcomes conflict. This can be considered the moment when everything comes together — hard work has paid off, and things are going well (or badly).
In other words, this is when it feels like things couldn’t possibly get any better (or worse) for your main character. With storytelling structure, this is considered the highest point in terms of emotional intensity; it’s a great place for brands to stop telling their stories.
The Fall of a Story
In the fall, you’re not done telling your story. It is the aftermath of what happened in the climax. In other words, once you get to this point, things may never be exactly like they were before—even if nothing changes for your main character.
Your characters may have been victorious in their quest or had a terrible loss (or both). They might be happy about what has transpired or devastated by what happened. Either way, they no longer inhabit the same world as before and must adjust accordingly.
The resolution shows how the main character overcomes this obstacle and creates value despite it. So, the lesson learned is then applied back out into the world at large. The best approach could be through a call-to-action for consumers interested in being part of your story.
Story Narrative and Audience Engagement
Creating a story arc can help keep your audience engaged. A story arc is a pattern of events that occur in a story. Basically, it’s a structure that helps you establish an emotional connection, so you can deliver a narrative or a single message about your brand.
The rise, the climax, and the fall are three of these parts of the story arc. They divide up the highs and lows of your brand story into distinct sections. With the narrative in mind, it has more impact on the audience who hear about it or read it, making your brand story memorable.
The Benefits of Brand Storytelling
Creating a brand story is a great way to build trust, consumer preference, and future sales. Brands should focus on telling the right story at the right time, as they create value in the eyes of consumers. Here are the three (3) benefits you should know about brand storytelling:
Establish Emotional Connections With Your Customers
When done right, storytelling can help your brand hit the emotional quotient. Your customer feels something when they interact with you. Whatever it is, it is part of strong emotional responses that make them want to return for more.
Brand stories are more than just a marketing tool to sell products. They satisfy the cravings for new perspectives and great stories. A brand story can create experiences that allow customers to establish a deeper level of engagement with your brand.
Communicate Your Brand Personality
It’s not just about storytelling per se; it’s about helping your customers understand who you are, what you do, and why you do it. A good story can engage people and make them want to know more about your brand. Again, it’s about creating an emotional connection with them.
Using brand storytelling as a marketing tool can help your brand communicate its unique personality, values, and story to the world. It’s an excellent way to differentiate yourself from the competition, attract an audience and build loyalty.
Lead With Your Brand at the Forefront
Another benefit of brand storytelling includes allowing you to lead your brand in front. Instead of merely telling people about your products, you show them how you work hard to create them and what makes them special.
When done well, this can enhance your product’s perceived values and help you connect trust with your audience. It’s all about being memorable, relatable, and trustworthy — which is exactly what brand storytellers accomplish.
Why Does Brand Storytelling Work?
Much like brand identity, a cohesive brand story draws similarly-minded shoppers to various products and services. Successful brand storytelling promotes feelings of involvement, inclusion, and community. Essentially, it all boils down to the emotional response that your customers feel when they interact with your company.
As the target audience of the world moves away from traditional marketing, more brands are competing to find the most inclusive marketing strategy.
Messaging must be spread across different marketing channels, yet the audience’s attention remains integral to a brand’s success.
Why Storytelling Matters
As you build your brand story, it's important to remember that your audience is human. They have feelings and emotions just like you do. Also, they're just as likely to respond positively to stories that make them feel good as negatively to those that make them feel bad.
Marketers can use brand storytelling to promote customer loyalty and fasten growth by making powerful stories. It heralds the beginning of a brand-new era of marketing communications. You may use social media, advertising, content marketing, and more.
Proper brand storytelling can help you achieve your objectives in business. A few objectives are to change consumer perceptions, drive sales, and increase brand awareness. You can create products people trust and ensure customers buy from you repeatedly.
How come brand storytelling is spreading?
Companies have been using stories for generations, but storytelling has taken on a new meaning. The rise of digital media has made it easier than ever to share life stories with audiences worldwide. In fact, the best brand stories evoke a driving force to connect consumers.
Brand storytelling helps businesses with the best employees establish themselves as trustworthy sources of information. Customers interact with media sponsored by brands that provide high-quality, entertaining, and educational content.
You can use simple tools and techniques to pursue storytelling. Generally, you may also consider working with niche content providers. Plus, you can team up with ad managers in using social media for higher search results on your website.
Examples of Brand Storytelling
Brand storytelling is the process of using stories to build your brand identity. The reason for this trend is simple: People love stories. But what does it look like to tell engaging brand stories using social media data?
Here are three (3) examples of companies setting the bar high:
In this era of heightened political and social division, Nike is leading with a message of unity. The company's brand storytelling, “Until We All Win,” is intended to highlight athletes from around the globe who are using their platforms to make a difference in their communities.
Nike continues to stand for change by supporting athletes and allies who raise awareness about important issues in life. The brand believes we can move beyond the visible to see what's possible: sport is not an escape from reality; it's a chance to improve it.
Generally, this brand's storytelling specifically addresses youth. Its focus is to never give up on having an inclusive environment where everyone feels included and welcome regardless of who they are or where they come from. It portrays a great example of how sports can bring people together.
Dove and Steven Universe on Cartoon Network have teamed up to promote body confidence and self-esteem in young people worldwide. To explain to kids how body positivity and social media are related, they produced a narrative of six short animated films.
The story is known for its strong female characters, diverse cast, and positive messages about love and acceptance. Dove markets their brand’s story with the focus on being an inclusive brand that helps women feel good about themselves.
The brand’s vision is to be a part of something bigger than itself: assisting parents and young people in having conversations about how social media affects how they perceive themselves. It provides positive values to create emotional connections with the brand.
“Our Epic Battle #LikeAGirl” is a story launched by Always, the feminine hygiene brand. The campaign targets young women who display the best behaviors by being confident and strong. Its focus is to change society's perception and values of what it means to be a girl.
In short, it is a kind of brand storytelling with a social media twist. The campaign began in 2014 that features girls describing their experiences with gender stereotypes. It inspired a movement challenging the status quo, with people worldwide sharing their stories about being “like a girl.”
Always has continued to expand on this theme throughout its marketing efforts. They've created a narrative about empowering women. But their brand storytelling has also committed to ensuring that their products are accessible to all girls.
Amplify Your Marketing Messages
Content marketing is a complex topic, and most business owners don’t have enough time to micromanage everything! If you’ve been struggling with your marketing strategy, now is the perfect time to find some expert help.
At The Email Marketers, a team of industry pros will tackle your brand storytelling for you. You’ll gain a strong foundation for future messaging and learn more about your customers as your team works alongside you.
Ready to take a chance?
Get in touch with me, and we can discuss what your brand needs to succeed. You can also learn more about email marketing by browsing the rest of my blog.