Is Your Brand Telling a Compelling Story?
By Kayleigh Alexandra
March 27, 2019
Brand, brand experience, Brand Strategy, Branding, content marketing, Digital Marketing, marketing, marketing campaign, Personal Brand, storytelling, Strategy
Storytelling is marketing that puts people first, not sales. It crafts a story that puts the customer front-and-center, helping them engage with a brand, product, or service on a deeper, more meaningful level — and that’s a win for your business.
But to craft a truly compelling story, you have to delve into the nitty-gritty and connect with your customer. Read on to discover how.
What is Brand Storytelling?
The best way to define storytelling for brands is by identifying its opposite; that is, sales-oriented copy. Sales copy seeks to overtly push a product or service by exploiting pain points, offering low prices, and so on.
This is classic marketing copy that, while it has its place, lacks the soul of storytelling.
Storytelling is less overt in its tactics. Instead of employing obvious sales tactics and going for the hard sell, storytelling weaves a narrative that places the customer at the center.
This narrative, just like any story, elicits an emotional response from the customer. It appeals to the reader as a human being, using metaphor, emotion, and motifs to engage them with a brand, product, or service. Storytelling is at the heart of good content marketing, and it is what transforms your business into a brand.
How Can My Brand Tell a Compelling Story?
Creating a compelling story around your brand is a delicate process, requiring a nuanced awareness of a number of factors to effectively reach your customer. Let’s break it down.
The key to storytelling is knowing your brand inside-and-out. Your brand is your business personality, its characteristics, and qualities that make it stand out from your competitors.
When you’re crafting your brand story, think about the following:
Your unique selling proposition (USP): what makes your business different than everyone else?
Your values: what values matter to your brand? E.g., sustainability, customer loyalty, transparency, and so on.
Your business’s culture: what kind of vibe do you want your internal culture to have?
Further to these points, listen to what your customers have to say about your brand and why they love it. At the same time, you should look to your competitors to assess what they’re doing, and how you can do it better.
All the above will all go towards informing your vision of who your brand is, helping you to craft a story that truly captures the essence of your brand.
...But know your audience better
Just as important as knowing yourself is knowing your target audience. How can you tell a story if you don’t know its main characters?
This comes down to researching your target market and the customers that comprise it. Analysis of your market research throws up distinct buyer personas, which you can break down into the following:
Pain points: what concerns them most? Money issues, saving time, getting on the property ladder, etc.
Language: how do they speak to their friends? What kind of slang do they use, if any? Social media is a great place to mine this.
Income: how much do they earn on average?
Personality: are they shy and introverted, or outgoing and gregarious?
Hobbies and interests: what do they like doing in their spare time?
Political views: are they liberal or conservative? Are they likely to vote Republican or Democrat?
Once you know your target market, you know how to speak to them. You’ll know what pain points to touch on, what language to use, what cultural references to use, and so on.
The key here is to find what’s important to them and leveraging that in your story. Highlight what benefits your brand can offer its customers.
Narrow in on a single key point
You’ve got your story’s key characters, and now is the time to make them interact by finding your story’s plot. You achieve this by identifying what makes you, you, and why that matters to your target market.
The key to this is to get specific. Rather than casting your net far and wide, promising your customers the world, simply do one thing well. This is how you really get your customers to engage with your brand on a personal level.
For example, let’s say you’re an eco-friendly fitness brand that sells quality activewear and exercise equipment at affordable prices.
You could highlight how your products are perfect for people on a low budget, or how your activewear actually looks good as well as being functional, or even how your products are good for the planet.
But instead of covering anything and everything, highlight one key point and weave a narrative around that. By getting specific, you create an authoritative voice that your target audience can trust.
Create a narrative that compels through words
You’ve got your characters, you’ve found your plot. All that’s left is to tell your story and tell it well.
You might tell your story in any number of ways: blog, video, a social ad campaign, or even an Instagram Story. But no matter what format you use, it all comes down to the words you use.
In storytelling, words matter. They are what evoke an emotional reaction from your audience, and what will guide them towards your brand, product, or service as a resolution to their concerns.
Of course, creative communication skills don’t come so easy for all of us. But even the most unsure of writers can easily improve their communication skills. When you read other brand stories, think about why they work and what makes them so successful.
Try writing a little yourself every day, about anything. If writing isn’t a skill that comes naturally, there are plenty on online creative writing courses that’ll help you get to grips with the craft – Jericho Writers is a pretty reputable provider to consider. Also, tools like Refly — a great AI-powered editor that will proofread your work while you write — can offer a helping hand, aiding you to create better content, faster.
Ultimately, lean on tools and resources to create a compelling narrative. They are plentiful and effective and will make you a better storyteller as a result.
Once you become more cognizant of words and their role in connecting with readers, you will craft a brand story that resonates with your customers on a human, personal level.
Brand storytelling is similar to the stories you find in books or films. It has characters (your customers), an end (your brand), and a plot (where those two elements meet). Follow the tips above, and you’ll create a compelling story for your brand that nets you growth for time to come.
A writer and small business owner, Kayleigh is an expert in all things content, freelance, marketing, and commercial strategy. Connect with Kayleigh on twitter @getmicrostarted or visit her site at microstartups.org.