Imagine that you’re in the market for a good moisturiser and you have the option of buying one of two brands.
The cost and ingredients are nearly the same – the first product gives you a straightforward description of volume and benefits to your skin. The second features messages about the benefits, but it also carries a story about the values of the company and its founders, confirmation that ingredients are ethically-sourced and not tested on animals and how, with each purchase, $5 will be donated to a charity that provides support to people affected by cancer.
Most likely, you’re going to buy the second moisturiser, thanks to persuasive storytelling.
Storytelling is a major focus in marketing because the key challenges for a marketer is getting consumers to connect to the brand.
People are drawn to stories that invoke an emotional connection, that resonate and make sense to you and their world view. A good story will be what makes your brand stand out and stay relevant in an crowded market.
Big name companies like Nike and Apple have mastered the art of storytelling to sell their products.
The right brand narrative has the power to boost your content marketing efforts to the next level, transforming lukewarm audiences into loyal advocates.
What defines a compelling brand story?
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Clearly establish what your brand is all about
Define and analyse what you do, how you do it and who you do it for. What can you claim about your business that demonstrates success? Long-time leadership consultant, Simon Sinek would say to start with the “why” – what inspired the founding of your organisation and what keeps it going? Clearly define your values and beliefs. Ask yourself why you do what you do – “what gets you out of bed in the morning”?
- Create a core storyline
Without a central storyline, your brand risks falling flat. People buy into brand stories that engage on a deep, emotional level – stories that inspire drive desire. Turn your uninhibited core values and messages into a relatable story that’s authentic and focussed.
- Illustrate changes and celebrate milestones
Great stories don’t stand still, they grow and progress with the occasional plot twist. With this in mind, build your brand story over time – the challenges that you overcame, the people you’ve helped and those who’ve made it all happen. If the bedrock is well thought out and developed at the outset, it will be much easier.
- Include a call to action
When developing your story, consider what you want the end result to be. Ask yourself what you want people to feel and what you want them to do.
- Research and collate
Good storytelling requires creativity and planning. In the fast-moving, visually-driven world of digital media, images and video are critical to the storytelling process. Be organised – compile images that support your story and look for people within your organisation who can become brand champions.
A brand story is not just a catchy tagline. Your story is the foundation of your brand and a strategy for future growth. Great storytelling draws people in and makes them feel part of something bigger.
Nike does this by offering more than just a pair of sneakers and striking activewear. Nike connects with its audience by showing everyday people (like those in their target audience) participating and enjoying a sense of achievement in playing sport at their own level. People will pay a premium price for Nike footwear to share in this experience – they are often buying part of the “dream”, rather than the item itself.
Remember, your product is only part of the story and your customers’ relationship with your brand will likely begin before they purchase your product at all.
Thinking smarter about how you tell your story will enable you to give your organisation the ‘happily ever after’ that it deserves.
As Blink’s longest-serving professional, Alison has found that her greatest source of work satisfaction stems from the success of her clients. Whittling down complex subjects to make them understandable as part of a wider plan is a part of the process Alison really enjoys.