Storytelling is one of the oldest and best techniques employed by brands as a part of their content marketing efforts. It makes a brand more human and relatable and as a result, your organization’s offerings are given an identity. Stories about what they are and how they came to be are compiled and shared with the general public. This helps brands in forming meaningful and long lasting relationships with their customers.
Importance Of Storytelling
People live to listen to, as well as to tell stories. They’re extremely captivating, as one gets to learn about the experiences of others, adversities that they encounter in their journeys and the cool things that they have learned along the way. Stories are a source of inspiration for many individuals. By listening to stories, you get the opportunity to see the world through others’ eyes and by telling them, you can make it interesting for your audience by letting your imagination run wild.
Storytelling is found to be the most effective way to impart knowledge onto people. This is because you have their full and undivided attention. Brands can use this to their advantage for promoting their messages to the public. They need to establish who they are and what drives them to move forward. People aren’t interested in what you sell. They actively seek out the stories behind why you’re selling them. The motives, hopes and aspirations of the brand are what people use to identify themselves with the brand.
The type of content that a brand pushes out needs to be more personal. They need to connect with their audience at an emotional level. Your content needs to inspire people, its favourable outcome being some sort of engagement with the brand and an overall, positive public image. Other marketing goals such as an increase in brand awareness, trust, leads or sales would be experienced immediately after this.
Approaches to brand storytelling
Sparking up curiosity
Attention spans of people have been and continue to dwindle with the passage of time. It is important to start your content with some interesting tidbits about what the story is all about. Building anticipation by giving your customers a small peek into what’s in store for them is key in retaining their attention.
An excellent way to start your story would be to address a problem that is prevailing in the current scenario. You need to show how exactly your brand is contributing towards getting rid of that problem through its offerings. The fact that you care about your customers must be made evident to the public. Stories about eradicating a problem and the gratitude shown from customers are far more impactful than self promotion. This is why brands kill for getting high quality testimonials from their customers.
Putting the spotlight onto the customers
Rather than focusing on your products, you can publish stories about people. Putting them in the driver’s seat of your story tells people that you are in line with your customer’s desires and dreams. This is a powerful form of storytelling as it makes it easy for people to relate themselves with the person in the story.
Forming an emotional connection
Several brands come out with similar products with near identical specifications. But in the end, most consumers buy a product with nothing but their gut instinct. The experience that your brand gives out is the “X-factor” responsible for the brand’s success. The stories that you craft needs to reflect the different emotional changes that your customer goes through once he experiences your product.
Factors to consider when incorporating storytelling for your brand
Why you do what you do?
You need to clearly represent the motives behind the efforts that your brand has put in for the product innovations or backing a social cause. People should see that you have a steadfast mission and vision for the brand.
Connecting with your audience
Think of ways in which you can tell your story to the public. It could be a simple text based medium or even a full fledged video. Select the medium which most consumers find favourable and you’re good to go.
It is important to tap into the psyche of your customers and figure out what makes them tick. You must direct your story in a manner that will appeal to your customer’s persona and evoke a huge emotional response from your customers. Such stories live on forever in people’s minds.
De-emphasizing the brand
Your stories should be centered around the wants, needs, desires and dreams of your customers. Your brand’s involvement in the story should be incorporated in a very subtle manner. It should never look like self promotion.
Examples of excellent brand storytelling
Facts and figures are only relevant for the immediate time period. While excellent sales numbers and rave reviews for your product or service is good for you right now, the stories that your brand tells lives on and will be remembered in the long run. Let us take a look at some of the most successful brand stories that were well received by the public:
The story behind their name and their tagline “keep walking” is one that many find inspiring. It all begins with a young man named John who worked at a farm. After his father died, the farm was sold off and he used the money to open a grocery store. His love for whiskey and his dissatisfaction with the market offerings prompted him to experiment with his own blends. With time, his versions tasted better and better. Eventually, his whiskey was the most popular one in town. After John passed away, his son Alexander improvised on the bottle’s design and made it square shaped to reduce breakage during transportation by train or by ship. His two sons then came up with their new line of whiskeys, Johnnie Walker Red Label and Johnnie Walker Black Label. The “striding man” logo was conceptualized around the same time. Till this day, it tells people about the story of a young man who put his heart into making his dream come true.
GoPro has been a customer centric brand since its inception. In all of their content, you can see the end user as the story’s protagonist and we can witness their adventures through their point of view. They gave people exactly what they wanted to see by focussing on the customer experience instead of the actual product. Even today, the user generated content posted on Youtube garners the most views, likes and comments as compared to any other brand.
This is a popular brand that has eased the house rental troubles of the younger generation’s working class individuals and homeowners across several countries. The hosts and the guests forms the entirety of the brand. As this brand has no physical product of its own, they decided to market the customer experience. The core of their marketing efforts had been put out in promoting intimate stories within the Airbnb community. People could see what being an Airbnb guest meant and how they could experience their stay with a particular host. This experiential style of storytelling was critical to the brand’s success.
They realized and utilized the power of storytelling way before any other brands had done. In the year 1999, a short video commercial was released as a tribute to Michael Jordan’s long and colourful sports career. There was no mention of the brand until the final few seconds of the video where the tagline “just do it” is shown followed by the logo. While most brands saw it as a wasteful act, Nike capitalized on building its brand behind inspiring individuals and their backstories. This one act led to the brand gaining public favour and making incremental returns for a really long time.
There are several brands out there who are clamouring to grab the spotlight. A really good story behind everything you do helps people understand who you are and what you stand for. Use elements of storytelling in your content marketing efforts in order to incentivize your customer to take a chance with your brand.