Updated: Mar 24
Humans are hardwired to enjoy stories — and a great story can be a very powerful tool to draw the attention of anyone. But most importantly, an emotionally appealing story is even more powerful. The truth is, our emotions have way more influence on our everyday decisions than our rationality does.
More than we may like to admit, emotions play a significant role in everything we do. You just saw a Nike ad about the latest sports gear for runners. You liked how it fits so well on the model, and even before the ad ended, you were already dreaming of hitting the track with that new pair of running shoes. If you pause for a moment, you’ll most likely realize that you don’t even need a shoe. But Nike has done an excellent job at drawing out the emotional part of you.
Similarly, many buying decisions are most often not based on the new features, the bug fixes, or the brand promises. You just want to stay ahead of the curve, associate with the most heroic brand story, or go for a product that represents the lifestyle you’ve always dreamt of. Brand storytelling is way more powerful than you can imagine. Campaniles like Apple, Nike, Airbnb, Softr, Land Rover, Amazon, Coca-Cola, and IKEA are killing it with unique brand stories in their different spaces.
So, in this post, we’d like to look at why brand storytelling is important in your marketing effort. But before we dive right in, let’s try to explain what brand storytelling is.
What is Brand Storytelling?
As the name implies, brand storytelling is the art of using an emotionally compelling narrative to communicate your brand values and offerings to your customers. An ideal brand story is centered around the customer and how the company’s products or services help the customer win each time. It should paint a win-win scenario, where the brand helps the customer reach heights that they could not attain with other solutions until yours stepped into the scene. Your customers are satisfied, and you are a fulfilled brand.
Brand storytelling is a brand marketing strategy that draws on creativity, authenticity, and emotions. As we mentioned earlier, humans are wired with emotions that define more than half of our decisions, including our purchasing decisions. Why do you buy from Walmart instead of Kroger? Why Starbucks instead of the local coffee vendor? What is the difference, really?
Well, maybe because Walmart is more concerned with affordability than Kroger and maybe because Starbucks is more than just a coffeehouse. If you look closely, your loyalty isn’t always tied to the quality of the services or products offered by a particular brand. In most cases, you’re drawn by the values and culture of the brand. In fact, Headstream explains that 55% of people will likely buy from a brand with a compelling brand story.
Another 44% will share that particular story, and 15% will buy the brand’s product almost immediately. That last part is interesting because that 15% never had a prior plan to make the purchase, but they did anyway. People are no longer interested in only the package, but also looking for emotional connection as they transact with you.
It is safe to say that a good brand story is a powerful marketing strategy. If well crafted and delivered, it could be the element you need to switch up your ROI. A great brand story helps you engage better with your customers and build stronger connections with them.
You can share your brand story in ads, graphics, blogs posts, video content, radio spots, social media, blog posts, email newsletters, etc. And as with every great story, there should be a character (the hero of the story), a conflict, a narrative, and a climax. But remember to be authentic and emotional, and be sure to communicate what matters most to your brand (values).
Why Include Brand Storytelling in Your Marketing Campaigns?
1. Great stories create strong emotional connections
Stories connect more than words do. Think of Land Rover’s 70th anniversary stunning narrative of the “Land of Land Rovers”. A story that artfully portrayed how Land Rovers were the vehicle of choice in the Maneybhanjang Nepal-India border area.
From the beginning of the story to the end, you could see how the story placed the end-user — the customer — at the center, while also creating an emotional narrative of how the 1957 Land Rover helped to sustain commercial and social life, even in the face of harsh weathers and rugged terrains.
2. Brand stories showcase the humanity in your brand
Beyond the quality your company offers to its customers, beyond the top-notch customer support service, and seamless self-service options available to users, people want to connect with the human side of your business. It’s natural. They want to know that you empathize with them and that you actually pay attention when they speak.
This is why brands like Nike and Google will continue to win more loyal followings. Their drive towards invalidity, diversity, and equity resonates passionately with lots of people. Values like this help to humanize your brand and create deeper connections and better engagements with your audience.
3. Emotions play a critical role in decision making
People make decisions based on emotions, and emotions aren’t just feelings. Did you actually upgrade to iPhone 13 because you want a better camera or because you’re a loyal fan of the brand? Perhaps, you got it because the phone is representative of your social class. Whatever the case is, most people can agree that it’s not because the iPhone 13 is the best thing there is.
Contrary to what we generally believe, all our decisions are, in fact, informed by emotion. According to the Drum, new research into the brain's action pathways, utilizing FMRI scanning, has revealed how emotions translate into action. Interesting, right. Brands that understand this trick have creatively explored it to their benefit. According to a Harvard Business School paper, over 95% of purchase decisions are unconscious.
4. Your brand story is an excellent alternative to aggressive marketing
In case you haven’t realized, most consumers are tired of aggressive marketing. On a daily basis, a minimum of 15 different brands are trying to reach you via email. You go on the internet; you’ll see display advertising everywhere. Then we have social media ads and the massive billboards lining the streets and highways.
The point is not that these strategies do not work, but they’re not as powerful as the results you’ll get from using captivating brand stories. Most people will swipe past several ads but will watch an interesting story — sometimes even if it is long. But remember that your story needs to strike people’s emotions and drive engagement with your audience. Hard-to-grasp concepts come to life in well-created brand stories.
Wondering How to Create a Compelling Brand Story?
If you’ve read this post to this point, you’re probably wondering how to get started. No worries, we’ve got the right resource you need to create a brand story that resonates deeply with your audience. We have created a simple, easy-to-use brand storytelling template that will walk you through the process of building out the elements you need to create a unique brand story.
Download our “Brand Storytelling Template for Every Business” to get started. The template includes tips to guide you through the process.
Want more tips on how best to deploy your brand story in your marketing strategy? Feel free to reach out to us today at the Mission. We use our profound market insights and expert guidance to help you improve your marketing results and business productivity. Also, as a leading partner in the PEO, HR, payroll, and benefits outsourcing marketplace, we provide result-oriented services for small and medium-sized organizations and government contractors.