Brand Storytelling Do’s and Don’ts

September 18, 2019
September 18, 2019 Carol Forden
Sharing stories has been a ritual that has been passed down through civilization.

Storytelling is a community-building activity that has been used throughout the ages. It allows for the conveying of ideas, experiences, and emotions to your audience. In today’s digitalized generation, storytelling gives us the ability to bring a touch of humanity that we, find comfort in and seek out.

A decade ago, marketers considered brand storytelling as an added quality to a business, a strategy that could bring more traffic and attention to the brand.

Today, it is a necessity.  So, how do you tell your brand story?  Let’s cover the basics first.

So, what is brand storytelling? Content marketing storytelling

Brand storytelling is your company’s anecdote.

It’s about sharing your brand’s background story – the why, heritage, culture, and values. It provides customers with more in-depth insights about the brand and its products, but most importantly, why the brand matters and why they should care.

Every company has a unique mission and vision.

Brand storytelling is a very effective marketing strategy used to communicate your brands why and heritage and differentiate in an over-crowded marketplace.

 Storytelling builds meaningful relationships with their audiences; it doesn’t feel like marketing.

A study by Stamford University showed that stories are actually 22 times more memorable than facts and figures. Stories capture the consumers’ attention and profoundly impact their perceptions of the brand.

If the story leaves a positive impression and has an emotional connection, this can further lead to increased awareness, conversion, and loyalty.

For many brands, brand storytelling has become mandatory; however, having a story is not enough.

You need a good story and a relatable story.

People buy stories, not products.

Consumers can easily distinguish between good and bad stories.

Customers will react to your stories the same way.

Consumers engage with brands through stories that leave them with a valuable message and emotional connection, one that they will remember, and they directly benefit from.

Lack of a brand story, on the other hand, today is a recipe for marketing failure.

Below is a list of the dos and don’ts of brand storytelling:

The Do’s

1) It’s About Your Company and Customers

Outsell Digital Using Video to drive customer engagementBe an expert on your company.

Study the company background, goals, brand voice, and target audience and current customer base. You need to be well versed in what your brand, as well as your customers, stand for.

Stay in close contact with your company’s customer service employees.

These are the front line people who regularly interact with your customers on a day-to-day basis. They know your customers needs and desires best and bring great value when it comes to doing consumer research.

You need to communicate your story in a way that aligns with your company and brand values.

You need to tella story that your target customers can relate to.

Assure that all messages stay consistent with the rest of your branding strategies.

2) Create a Unique and Memorable Story Narrative

Express who you are as a brand, don’t regurgitate what is on your ‘About’ page.

You want to give your audience new information they won’t be able to find on your website.

Creating a unique narrative creates a level of intrigue and curosity to your target audience, driving more curiosity and interest for your brand and products.

Brand storytelling allows you to tell your customers why your brand is different and is ‘the’ brand that truly understands them.

Compeition is tough today, and you have many businesses operating within the same market space, your brand story needs to give consumers confidence in why they should choose you.

What makes your company different and unique from all your competitors? Dive into these qualities and use them to strengthen your story.

Try to include a memorable remark or tagline. You want to create a powerful message that customers will remember, that will keep audiences thinking about your brand.

3) Be Relatable

Customers buy brands not exclusively for the products that they sell but for that values that they resonate with, communicate this through your brand story.

These shared values allow brands and customers to connect with your customers on a more personal and deeper level.

Find ways to showcase your brand values within your brand

story.

Don’t be afraid to dig deep into the realities of life and share your experiences, both good and bad. Share your failures and learning experiences. No person or companies are perfect, not even Fortune 500 copanies.  However, be sure also to express how you will commit to doing better.

People relate to real life struggles; this transparency will help make your brand appear more real and genuine to them. The closer consumers emotionally feel towards your brand, the higher the chances are that they will engage with you.

4) Take Your Audiences on an Emotional Journey

A compelling story must have an emotional connection. You need and want to humanize your brand and add some drama or crisis to your story to draw out emotions from your consumers, be it happiness, empowerment, sadness, shock, or sympathy.

Yes, there are some risks attached to telling your true story. However, it is relatable. You don’t want to be offending your consumers or exploiting a sensitive issue.

We naturally are drawn to stories that have an impact on us; consumers are no different. Consumers want to hear your story; it may change them or challenge their existing perceptions and ideas.

A story that has empathy warms hearts and make us feel things that we never expected to feel will be one that will stick to them.

This allows your target audience to associate to you as a brand. It drives a top of mind effect and is beneficial to brand recognition.

Take a look at Nike’s “Dream Crazy” marketing campaign.

Nike is a leading activewear and shoe brand with a focus on spotlighting and driving positive social change.

The Nike Equality Campaign celebrates equality and diversity, empowering people to live their dreams and achieve anything they commit to.

It brings forward the voices of famous athletes but also the voices of young consumers who can relate to the story.

Nike places consumers at the core of their story narrative; they invest in the potential people have; they allow you to dream and believe, I can do this.
This is what set them apart from other brands, and it what allows them to continue to develop a leading and forward-thinking marketing strategy.

 

Nike Equality Campaign

5) Use Eye-Catching Visuals

Creating a positive experience for customers is what storytelling is about. Having a compelling story is not enough today.  Support your story with videos and images that are high-quality.

You want your target audience to see, feel, and appreciate the professionalism of your brand, increasing its reliability.

Utilize stunning visuals that fit with your narrative will enhance the sensory aspects of your brand storytelling.

Your customers and target audience should be a critical part of your story.  You want them to be able to taste, smell, hear, and feel your story.

Use Samsung’s “The Future” Campaign as an example:

 

Samsung The Future Campaign

It takes more than having the most eye-catching and beautiful visuals, to create your brand story; it must resonate and be believable to  your target audience, below are some things to consider that are possibly weakening your story:

The Don’ts

1) Lack of a Story Plot

Often, bad storytelling by brands is from weak branding in general. The worst thing you can do is create something where there is no real story to begin, with and are making it up on the fly.

Ask yourself, what is a story without a plot?

Yes, you’ve guessed it. There is no such thing.

Stories are comprised of an introduction, rising action, conflict, and a resolution. With brand storytelling, the most critical aspect of a brand story that you should not leave out is conflict.

Without conflict in your story, nothing that is going to move your audiences.

In today’s fast-paced society, you need to quickly grab consumers’ attention.

Keep your consumers wanting more by creating that spark that makes them intrigued, use conflict, and don’t be afraid to take a stand. This keeps your audience engaged with your story until the very end of the story.

Your brand story can be concise; it does not need to drone on and be consuming; it can be as short as a 10-second video. Nor does it need to be dramatic.

It does, however, need is a single element that will touch your audiences and provide them with a meaningful takeaway.

The ability to relate to your story is what is going to motivate them to contribute to, follow, and evangelize your brand.

2) Don’t Be Dishonest

Always be truthful.

Don’t hide your past mistakes and failures.

Customers are smart. They will find out if you are lying to them.

Accept your flaws and be transparent about any weaknesses; this is what makes you human and relatable.

Customers appreciate authenticity in brands.

Brand storytelling is a highly effective way to be authentic. It allows customers the ability to get to know your brand from more than ads. Use your struggles and setbacks, tell the story, and be real and honest with them.

3) Not Staying True to Your Values

You can tell the greatest story ever; however, if this isn’t true to your values and brand, you will not build the trust you want with your target audience.

Communicate your values and build trust with your target audience. This will help customers understand how they can benefit from what you have to offer and what you stand for as a brand.

A weak brand that has no perceived values will not succeed.

You need to be clear about your promises and the positive impact you aim to have on your customers as this will keep them engaged with your brand story.

4) No One Cares About You

Never make your brand story about you.

This is the reason why major brands (Coke – New Coke, Pepsi, Ford, and Dove) failed in the past with what should have been very creative marketing campaigns.

Your brand story should be about your customers and the values that you bring to their lives and society overall.

The best brand stories are the ones that are about people, their lives, their dreams, accomplishments, and their battles.

Customers are the brand.

You want your brand story to communicate how you make a difference in their lives.

Take the “Stories from the Airbnb Community,” which has earned them positive feedback from their customers and awards.

Take the time to know and understand your consumers; put yourself in their shoes to drive an emotional connection

Consider what Land Rover did with their campaign “The Land of Land Rovers”. This campaign is one of the best campaigns the auto industry has seen.

Land Rover invested in their drivers’ stories and told their personal experience of driving up the Himalayas in Land Rovers to provide deliver supplies and provide transport.

The brand storytelling was not about their brand; it was about how teir vehicles were an important role in the everyday life of their customer.

The Land of Land Rovers

How do you excel at brand storytelling:

Share your consumers’ personal experiences with your product; tell the story through their eyes and emotions.  This delivers a heart-warming, emotional connection that ultimately represents your brand and what it stands for.

You don’t have to specifically mention your product; the story can direct your consumers back to your brand and the product(s) being sold.

Outsell Digital is a content marketing company; we write brand stories that connect with your audience and drive sales.

Defining your brand identity and telling your brand story is critical today.  This is what separates you from your competition.

Brand storytelling is not a short-term strategy, this is a long-term one, yet it is so powerful.

Brand storytelling allows you to talk to your audience, build trust, get leads, and increase your sales and long term revenue.

Are you ready to tell your story?

Want to build trust with your target audience? Contact Outsell Digital today to get started.