In the world of marketing, storytelling comes hot on the top of the heels as it reintroduces the idea of a good story to build value and engage the target audience. Here, we will talk about why brand storytelling is crucial for marketing.
Table of Content:
- What is brand storytelling?
- How does storytelling work in marketing?
- How can you tell your brand’s story?
Do you know what the most successful companies like, Ferrari, AirBnB, and Uber have in common?
They know how to tell stories.
They understand the power of great brand storytelling in marketing because they know that this is what attracts customers.
We, as humans, are drawn to stories because they are the framework of our consciousness. From the ones told by our parents in the crib, to ones that we came up with ourselves – storytelling indeed strikes a chord within.
Brand storytelling isn’t anything new to the marketing sphere but it is currently taking up the advertising industry by storm – and today literally everybody has a brand story.
So, what exactly is Brand Storytelling? What does it mean for marketing in this new decade? Is this the new future of advertising? Here you’ll understand its power. Have a look!
What is Brand Storytelling?
Brand Storytelling is such a hot topic, there’s naturally a lot of noise surrounding it.
Some claim that it is the history of a brand, while others say it is another one of a brand’s marketing campaigns.
While they’re not entirely wrong; history can be an important element of a brand’s story and a brand story can also be perceived as a marketing chore. However, in reality, brand storytelling is a much broader term.
A brand story is a unified narrative enclosing the facts and values that are created by a brand (or business). Unlike advertisements that focus on showing and telling one’s products or services, a brand story strikes an emotional chord with customers.
Believe it or not, brand storytelling is a strong business skill that can boost any business in a number of ways.
One of the greatest examples of exemplary storytelling is Apple.
Steve Jobs was believed to be an expert in building suspense through storytelling. Remember back in 2007 when Jobs was introducing the iPhone to the world? Before unveiling the new phone or explaining any of its features, he honed the audience’s attention towards why they should care about what he’s going to introduce.
Following Jobs’ footsteps of superb storytelling, Apple has been contriving its products seamlessly into a story. Through its campaigns and advertising, it shows how its product helps people create their own stories in which the brand promotes themselves.
For example, Apple’s initiative “Creativity Goes On”, showcased activities by people creating something with the help of Apple products – whether drawing on an iPad or learning piano on a Macbook. The company provided a platform for its customers to tell the brand’s story themselves – a technique that produced the most authentic and engaging results. They avoided using lingering close-up shots of the product as other more mundane brands might do.
How does storytelling work in marketing?
Experts in the field of both psychology and marketing agree on the fact that storytelling is an effective form of communication between a brand and its customers. Here are a few reasons why:
People love a good story
People love listening to stories and there is a strong scientific explanation to back this up. When we listen to stories that resonate with us, our levels of a hormone called oxytocin increases. We boost feelings of trust, compassion, and empathy through it which influences our social behaviour.
Keeping this in mind, most great brands tapped into the power of storytelling at a very early stage.
Storytelling helps build communities
When you share personal stories as a brand, the most important thing you do is convey a sense of humanity. You’re no longer a faceless entity, but an organization that people can associate with. You’re basically uniting people who resonate with your story by capturing their attention, hearts, and curiosity.
In short, you’re building a community through your stories.
Conveys product’s value
Storytelling places your customer as a protagonist and your product as a solution to the problems they are experiencing. This clearly outlines those inherent benefits of your product without making it sound like a sales pitch.
Stories are shareable
Word of mouth is known to be one of the most powerful and trustworthy forms of marketing. You, as a customer yourself, might have shared your (positive or negative) experiences with a product through stories.
Therefore, stories revolve around conversations and can be effective in spreading the word about your brand.
How can you tell your brand’s story?
Great storytelling is good for brand marketing as it allows consumers to see a brand’s personality, authenticity, and values.
So if you can promote your company’s values through storytelling, it will help build trust with your customers and develop a long-lasting relationship.
Here’s how you can put together a brand narrative:
Have a compelling storyline
Every story needs to have a strong plot – without it, your audience may lose interest in your story altogether.
This is the base of your story and here’s where your consumer learns about your brand’s history, its values, and what makes it different. Consumers love an underdog, and often a company’s origin story can showcase that narrative.
To take an example look at Under Armour, the athletic apparel and shoe company founded in 1996. The company was new but was fighting giants like Nike and Adidas in the market and still managed to garner a good client base with an emotional and authentic storyline.
Create Strong Emotional Connection
Your story needs to strike your audience emotionally. Storytelling is meant to create the ability to connect people on a deeper and emotional level – something that facts and figures is unable to do.
A very popular example is Gatored’s 2016 Olympics ad “The Boy Who Learned To Fly”. In the animated short film, they showcased Usain Bolt’s life and his connection with his mother. The ad transports viewers to Bolt’s childhood and subsequently transitions to the Olympic athlete running on clouds (flying) with lightning bolts coming from his shoes while he runs. The ad created an emotional connection of Usain and his mother with the audience.
The brand’s marketing strategy resulted in praise and new fans.
Back-Up with strong data
Do you want your audience to trust your story? If yes, then you need to back it up with data from trustworthy sources!
For example, National Geographic’s social media often contain personal stories that feature data about wildlife populations or climate change. It enables the reader to learn more about protecting the planet.
You can also use data to share a personal story.
An example of how a brand can use data to tell engaging stories is Airbnb. For New Year’s 2015, the company uploaded an animated video telling its company’s story. The video announced that approximately 550,000 travelers had spent New Year’s Eve in one of their many rentals across 20,000 cities – a jump from just 2,000 guests 5 years previous.
Create A Story That Resonates
The ultimate goal of your story should be something that people share and spread. How will they share a story when they wouldn’t even remember it?
For example, with Google’s “Year in Search” campaign for 2019, it focused on the different types of heroes the world searched for throughout the year. The one video captivated viewers by taking ordinary Google search queries and matching them to an empowering message: the idea that all types of people can be their own heroes. By using the audience’s search data, Google made people feel like they are a part of a larger movement.
The campaign took brand storytelling to a more personal level where people could resonate with the campaign on a more personal level.
These elements when combined can help you create powerful, engaging, and authentic brand content that your audience will feel good to be associated with. With a successful brand narrative formed, marketers can then take that content and share it across multiple technological platforms to reach the widest, or most-specific, audience.
Brands storytelling was the past, is the present, and will be the future of marketing.
Whatever you have learned above will help you create the brand narrative that most successful companies worldwide are relying on.
Whatever way you would want to promote your story, know that it should bring an emotional connection with your audience, and be transparent of your values and feelings as a brand. Once you’ve got the hold of it, you’re already winning.
So where is your story headed?
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