Updated: May 23
Stories entertain. But in the business world, stories have done more than entertain. They have become a crucial aspect of marketing. Stories draw people in and make them pay attention. Every brand wants customers to pay attention to them and their products. It is, therefore, not surprising that many organizations use brand storytelling as a marketing strategy.
Brand storytelling involves using an emotionally compelling narrative to communicate your brand values and offerings to your customers. It answers questions like, What's the origin of your organization? Why was it established? What does your brand stand for? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them? Why should your customers be interested in your products and services?
On the surface, telling stories may seem an easy task. However, it involves more. It is not just enough to tell your brand story. For your brand story to be effective, it has to resonate with your audience. Here are 5 important elements of great brand storytelling with examples.
Tell an Original Story
Although traditional stories follow the beginning-climax-resolution sequence, no two stories are exactly alike. If you want your brand to remain etched on the minds of your audience, you'll need to tell a compelling and original brand story. Original, in this context, does not imply that there are fake stories. It means that your brand story should be unique and not a generalized cliche that can easily be forgotten.
You want to resist the urge to embellish your story and make it perfect. Life is far from perfect, and your audience knows that, too. It sounds nice to tell how your brand is the leading brand in the market. But your customers want to hear the challenges you encountered and how you're dealing with those challenges to serve your market better. This humanizes your brand and makes it relatable to your audience.
Pampers is a decent example of a brand that adopts originality in its storytelling. As a brand that produces diapers, it is expected that their storytelling would revolve around mothers caring for their babies. However, a popular Pampers commercial tells a less stereotypical story with fathers at the focus. The switch in roles gives a fresh and authentic perspective, and it reflects the brand's original startup story.
A story can be told in different ways, but the plot remains the same no matter how many times it has been told. You can tell your brand story in different ways - through ads, your site’s About Us section, and your social media page - but the basic plot of your story - your values, obstacles, resolution - remains the same. A consistent brand story makes brand building easier.
Your brand is what you have consistently grown to be over the years. Consistency involves sticking to your values and principles. Your brand should be uniform and tell the same story in every location where it exists. For instance, Nike Air Max bought in California will be no different from Nike Air Max bought in Texas.
Consistency should be reflected not just in the product but also in the people. Customers’ perception of your company stems largely from their experience transacting with you. It determines whether they'll be loyal to your brand or not. That is why it is important to recruit persons who share the company's values and are passionate about its growth.
Know Your Audience
Your audience is an important element of your brand storytelling. If your audience does not understand or relate to your story, then your aim is defeated. Knowing the needs of your audience is key to telling a compelling story. It gives you insight into the stories that resonate with them and which storytelling technique best suits them. This helps to amplify your efforts towards attracting more clients to your business.
To reach the heart of your audience with your story, you need to know their background and interests. This requires intensive target market research and analysis. You do not necessarily have to learn about each customer. A practical approach is to determine your core demographic, then tailor your story to appeal to them.
Drive Your Story With Data
Data drives your brand story by incorporating insights with storytelling to generate stories that connect your brand with your audience. It aids visual storytelling through the use of charts, graphs, and infographics. An added advantage of using data is that it helps you understand your audience, know what they want, and determine how you can improve your service to them.
An excellent example of a brand that utilizes data in its storytelling is Spotify. Spotify uses data obtained from surveys and app interactions to understand listeners' tastes and provide them with customized music for every moment.
Your brand is more than just your logo, colors, and social media presence. It's what your customers feel when they buy your product. We like to think of great brand storytelling as an effective inbound marketing strategy. Attracting customers to your brand requires telling a truly compelling story.
Be sure to evoke emotions when telling your brand story. Emotions are what make your story relatable to your audience. A great brand story makes your audience think what you want them to think and feel what you want them to feel. It keeps them loyal to your brand.
Consider Google, for instance. Google is more of an advertising firm, yet it does not directly advertise its search capabilities. When it runs ads, it focuses on human stories that appeal to the viewer's emotions. This has proven an even more effective strategy than conventional commercials.
Having considered the basic elements of brand storytelling and how popular brands are infusing unique brand stories into their marketing campaigns, we believe you have great insights on how to get started. The next step will be to create and tell your own brand story. It can be an overwhelming and time-consuming process, which is why we have created a brand storytelling template that you can download to create your own brand story.
You can also look at our article on why brand storytelling is important for more useful ideas to help you tell a compelling brand story. Feel free to contact us at Mission for more tips on how to implement your storytelling strategy.