Every brand has a story to tell.
But storytelling is an art that requires creativity and a vision. Businesses often forget that their narrative should be about the customers, not their brand or products. Sharing experiences that connect with an audience evokes emotions that build solid customer relationships.
And that’s the ultimate goal of brand storytelling.
What is brand storytelling?
Brand storytelling is a cohesive, consistent narrative that intertwines the facts and emotions your brand evokes. It uses a narrative to connect your customers to your brand by focusing on your values, mission, and history.
Your story is not something that is nice to have in your content. It’s essential to the growth of your company. It can maximize your visibility, revenue, and reputation. Strategic brand storytelling benefits from brand intelligence software that provides insights into how customers interact with a brand.
Instead of just flavoring your messaging with features, functions, and why people should buy your product or service, you need to have a story about why you do what you do and how you help your users.
Why is brand storytelling important?
The modern customer is driven by personalization. Brands can no longer be faceless. They need to have a personality; they need to have a story.
With brand storytelling, businesses can satiate the eternal human appetite for great stories and new perspectives. It allows them to connect with audiences and engage them more profoundly. Brands can set themselves apart and become memorable for prospective customers.
Sharing your narrative can humanize your brand and foster an invested community. Brand storytelling should be exciting, entertaining, and applicable to an audience. It’s a great approach to encourage customers to learn about your brand, purpose, and products. You can build authentic connections and encourage brand loyalty.
Tips for creating brand storytelling strategy
Be it a best-selling novel or a blockbuster movie, it’s always a compelling story that sells. And the same applies to brand storytelling. Here are some tips on creating your brand storytelling strategy.
1. Be uniquely you
No matter your industry, you’re probably in a crowded marketplace. The content being produced every day by brands is only increasing. The internet has somewhat democratized marketing, making it accessible to all but also saturating markets.
While you have a quality product or service available to your audience, they need to know more to want to buy from you. Your brand story has to differentiate you from your competitors.
Focus on facts, statistics, or testimonials to promote your product. Of course, it must have some heart to showcase yourself uniquely. You can become memorable by creating a brand story that evokes an emotional response while delivering key information.
Storytelling will attract visitors and is also more memorable than facts. This is the opportunity to use narrative to win over prospects. Create content around your brand’s history and how it has evolved.
This is your story; no one else can write it. But telling a story well isn’t easy. You need to ask yourself some important questions along the way.
Questions to ask when creating a brand storytelling strategy
- What do you want to be remembered for?
- What is the crux of your message?
- How can you ensure that your audience doesn’t forget it?
- What emotion do you want people to feel?
Tapping into human emotion is an important part of brand storytelling. People might forget what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. And emotions drive purchases more than logic.
2. Build a community, not a customer base
Brand storytelling is influenced by what your audiences need from you. It’s more than just the object or service. It’s how it will change their lives or enable them to meet a challenge. Lots of brands are able to weave this into their storytelling.
Brands like Rothy’s have a great product, in this case, shoes. But their marketing is about more than the buyer’s need for something on their feet. Rothy’s has a sustainability focus, which is important to many buyers. They’ve made that part of their story and built a community amongst like-minded people who adore the product.
When you are in the heat of brand storytelling, you’re in emotional territory. There are also values and ideas. Being in sync with your target audience doesn’t build a customer base; it builds a loyal and fanatic community.
You can create this community with how you tell your story. Invite conversation and engagement to transform your brand into an experience. Customers close to your story will support you and let others know.
Similarly, you can tell your story to your community. Using customer reviews for your brand will enable them to take part in your story and steer it in an interesting direction.
“The story-driven company thrives because its people have a collective narrative identity that gives them a sense of purpose and creates a cohesive culture.”
Founder, The Story of Telling
3. Focus on balancing profitability and humanity
Simply doing the basics in marketing these days probably won’t get you the results you desire. Customers want more than to be sold to. They want to know how your brand is making a difference and doing more than just turning a profit. So, your mission matters.
When you express it well in your brand story, your audience is more likely to see you as genuine and human. It’s all about the balance of profitability and humanity; when executed well, it pays off.
Companies like Apple and Microsoft are well-known, and it would be impossible for most people to go without the technology they provide. However, people aren’t just buying technology. People choose these companies because they trust them and emotionally connect to their brands.
But how do you make your brand more human? Storytelling is the best approach. As humans, our brains are genetically wired to respond to stories. A memorable brand story can make a person feel a real connection to your business. It can have a lasting positive impact that turns customers into fans.
Many brands are doing this with their own content hubs. These hubs aren’t built to promote a brand but to tell its story and deliver helpful and useful content. Many well-known brands have been able to use these hubs to connect with audiences beyond just the initial attraction. They share what makes them unique, creating much deeper relationships.
of millenial considers brand value alignment as an important factor in their buying decision.
Source: PR Daily
Brand storytelling examples
Having a brand narrative it great. But telling a good story is key. Take a look at some of these brand storytelling examples to spark your inspiration.
While Dove sells beauty products for hair, skin, and body, the brand is not focused on the idea of beautification. Instead, Dove campaigns talk about self-love and removing negativity around self-image.
The campaign “Dove self-esteem project” is based on raising awareness of toxic beauty elements in the industry. The brand shares user stories and celebrates beauty in all shapes and sizes.
Airbnb is a lodging company, but their brand story is based on a sense of community and belonging. Their slogan, "belong everywhere,” celebrates people, places, and love. This effort adds a personal touch to the Airbnb experience, making them stand out.
The brand’s website also provides an insider look into the lives of hosts across the globe. It allows guests to feel more connected and hosts to feel inspired.
Spotify has personalized the music experience by leveraging data for their storytelling. The annual Spotify Wrapped campaign is extremely popular across countries. It allows users to reflect on their listening habits and share their favorite music on social media.
The emotion they tap into is nostalgia, which places personalization at the core of their brand marketing efforts. It sends the message that Spotify cares about their audience.
Warby Parker has changed the eyewear buying experience. They provide a free at-home trial where customers get five pairs to try on and pick one that suits them the best. But there's more to their brand story.
Their "Buy a pair, give a pair" initiative has distributed more than 10 million pairs to those with impaired vision and who can't afford glasses. It also supports essential eye exams.
How to get started with brand storytelling
Telling your brand storytelling will take time. Creating brand guidelines is a good place to start. It will ensure brand consistency, irrespective of who shares your story. Here are some other suggestions on how to get it right.
Hook your audience from the start
Your story needs to start with a hook: what’s the problem or challenge that needs a resolution? The best stories address your customers’ pain points and get them curious and invested. Think about any great story you’ve ever read. You might have lost interest if it didn’t get you sucked in initially.
The most important question at this stage is what is the need that your service or product fills, and how?
Have a solid value proposition
Is your value proposition part of your story? Or is it too generic or dated? It’s important that your value proposition is the start of your story, so it might be time to revisit it and think of how it fits into brand storytelling. Make sure to highlight what problems you can solve for your customers, how you plan on solving them, and why they should pick you over your competitors.
Your customer should be the star of your story
For too long, marketing has been centered around the product or service; however, that should not be your protagonist—your customer should be. When you can inject personal relevance into the story, you’ll have someone who wants to be part of it. When you give your audience a role in the story, they see themselves as part of your solution.
Listening to your customers and the problems they've experienced with your product can help shape your brand for the future. There's no better story than reading your customer reviews and answering their questions and concerns directly.
TIP: Want to provide a platform for customers to leave reviews so that you can watch your own story unfold before your very eyes? Creat a profile at G2 now!
Create stories with emotional impact
Your customers are people, and being such, they are emotional creatures. We all make decisions based on feelings. So, you need to use this to your advantage in storytelling. Without being able to create an emotional connection, no one is really going to care what you have to say.
The emotional part of our brains is more perceptive than our actual thinking processes, as they can be slow to get to the point. Think about all the tears you’ve cried during Hallmark commercials. You may have forgotten that those were even about buying someone a card. That emotional connection you felt, however, lingered with you.
Pick up a pen and begin
Brand storytelling is much more than a trend in marketing strategy. It’s the future of how brands will connect with audiences among all the noise. Businesses should focus on building a cohesive brand story across various channels.
The modern consumer seeks out community-driven content that evokes emotions, holds their attention, and narrates how a product or service could benefit them uniquely. So, embracing brand storytelling is crucial to create lasting relationships and loyal customers.
Unsure about how to share your brand story? There are experts that can help you! Connect with the best branding agencies to take your marketing efforts to the next level.
This article was originally published in 2019. It has been updated with new information.