Have you ever used a story to launch a product, sell a service or connect with your core audience? Did you know that you can use storytelling to penetrate a new niche, connect with an audience, stand out from the crowd and subsequently, blow the competition out of the water?
If you haven’t been using it, you’re missing out on one of the most straightforward brand marketing strategies of the century. The all-time Marketing legend, Seth Godin, confirmed this when he said, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories, you tell.”
Indeed, I agree with him. Everyone loves a good story. It helps us to connect with the hero, feel the pains, and see ourselves in the same situation because it strikes the chord of empathy within us.
However, brand storytelling is something more. You can’t just bring pieces of stories and slap them on one another to create the marketing magic we need. There’s a technique to follow to derive the happiness you seek and enjoy the fruits of your marketing efforts. That’s what I call “the secret sauce for brand storytelling.”
Table of Contents
Requirements For Telling an Effective Brand Story
Know your WHY
Create your buyer’s persona
1. Know Your WHY
It is not enough to know that you need to employ storytelling for content marketing. You need to identify your brand’s WHY — the purpose and motivation that drives you.
Let’s admit it, your product or service isn’t exactly the best thing since sliced bread. And people won’t patronize you just for that. Okay, maybe that’s a little too harsh.
There are many competing similar products out there. This current generation wants something more than just a product or service. We are moved by what we can identify on a human level — the motivations behind the brand. That’s why we have people buying into values and beliefs, as they drive emotions better than logos and designs.
Thus, you need to associate your product with the bigger picture. That’s what makes your brand unique and sets you apart from others. What are the personal reasoning, motivation, and cause behind your products that your rivals can’t compete with?
When you’re planning a story, take time to think through how you choose to tell it.
Express the why of your story to connect with your prospects and customers on a deeper level. These are the values you’re offering your customer at the end. Tap into the emotional side of things and begin to educate or build awareness from there.
Create Your Buyer Persona
Your Buyer Persona is a critical aspect of marketing as it helps you focus on the right audience and gives you the best character for your story.
According to Hubspot, “Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research. They help you focus your time on qualified prospects, guide product development to suit the needs of your target customers, and align all work across your organization (from marketing to sales to service).”
Identify who your ideal buyer is. Ask yourself these questions:
What are you offering?
Why does your ideal customer need you?
What are her pain points?
Identifying all these correctly will not only arm you with the best plot to tell your story but will give you the hero of your story the way it’d connect with your audience.
Brand storytelling is a key part of copywriting. Today, successful advertising and marketing campaigns are much more than just hype and promotion, they are actually stories that engage your audience. Here’s how to write effective brand stories for your business. Remember, “people do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” — Seth Godin.
Be honest and transparent: Your story needs to be rooted in the reality of your product, service, or brand. This is why you need to know your why. Make sure it’s consistent throughout your story. Don’t go too far from your brand’s promise and confuse your audience. Be authentic as people desire and respect what’s real. Show that you’re not just driven by gains and profits but that you have the people at heart. Always keep the story true to your brand.
Infuse personality: Nobody is interested in a boring story. Do you sit long enough for a movie that bores you to sleep to finish? That’s the same way it is with brand storytelling. Infuse personalities into the story. Remember, it’s not just an ad. You’re trying to connect; thus, be diligent in embedding your brand personality into your story.
The hero: We all love the story of a hero. Someone that beats all odds to achieve something or solve the problem of a sore pain in the neck. When it comes to storytelling for brand marketing, you need a hero your audience can relate to. In essence, do not create fictional mascots to tell your story. Instead, tell the story based on the customer persona you’ve created. When creating your buyer’s persona, you identified the pains that keep her up at night, what she’s like, her budget, and demographics.
Uncover your ideal buyer’s deepest emotional pains that she’s Desires to get rid of. And also tap into the power of status. Understand her why for that need as this relates much to your audience’s stronger internal needs. Tap into these emotional needs: love, self-worth, sense of belonging, happiness, freedom, and accomplishment. These make us humans, and it’s the magic that we chase and open our wallets for. Try offering an emotional status change to your audience through your story and watch what happens.
Tell your story in a straight line: I know you’re lost, but you’ll understand in a bit. What was the last movie you saw or the story you heard? I want you to deliberate on the structure in 5 seconds. You’ll observe that the story was in a straight line: the storyteller opened the story, established the plot and characters, and closed with a resolution. It works in a straight line. And in that straight line, there’s a beginning, middle and end. You need to open strong to capture your reader’s attention enough to draw her further down the story. The body of the story contains the plot, your character’s main problem (pains) that keep her up at night. Then, how she came across the solution resolution that helped her out. Finish strong! That’s a straight line with 3 points (boom. Boom. Boom).
Trust, connection, empathy, and action happen when you tell the right story and finish strong. That’s the power of storytelling.
Shoot for the heartstrings!
Your story must be able to do these to make it stimulating and scintillating enough.
1. Create empathy: One thing that makes brand storytelling relatable and motivates action is its ability to touch the neurons in the listeners’ minds. This makes the reader identify with the story when you leverage powerful narration and universal messages. Create empathy in your story. Endeavor to locate and illuminate your target audience’s challenges and use them as the emotional drivers in the story. Create relevance and create empathy, and your reader will have the story embedded in his mind. E.g., Nike’s Nike – Just Do It (1988) – Very first commercial.
2. Inspire action: What good is a marketing effort that doesn’t compel the viewers to make a purchase, click on that subscribe button, or be a loyal customer? Your brand’s marketing story has to drive motivation and action. Your story should be timely, create empathy, and create deeper meanings beyond your product to get this result.
3. Use social proof: People research brands online and check out reviews to decide whom to go with. Don’t leave out social evidence of the benefits of your offer, the features, the ease of use, and the relevance in your story. It is one of the most effective forms of marketing today. However, what happens when you’re still relatively new to the market without social proof yet? Don’t sweat it. Craft an intentional customer-centric story to kick off your brand storytelling efforts. Remember, it should be timely, create empathy, and be able to motivate action.
Get Ready to Tell your Story!
Whether your company is just starting out, or you’re looking for a new way to tell your brand’s story, putting together a narrative that resonates with your audience is the key to success. To help you get started, I have assembled a few tips for writing effective brand stories.
Start with the basics: As with any story, it’s important to start at the beginning. Consider what led your brand to be who you are today. What problem were you trying to solve? What was your inspiration? How did you get started? Make it relatable: Once you’ve established the origins of your brand, think about how you can connect with your audience on a deeper level.
To be a good storyteller, you need to be able to weave rich tales that hook your audience into wanting more.