The definition of brand storytelling is using narrative techniques to engage with an audience and shape a brand’s identity beyond traditional marketing approaches. Brand storytelling gives businesses a valuable opportunity to connect with customers and promote their values and beliefs without using overtly sales-driven techniques. Brand storytelling is an essential element in an ambitious marketer’s tool belt in an age where consumers demand authenticity.
The storytelling techniques a brand uses will depend on the sector, audience, and content format. They should demonstrate the brand’s purpose and encourage the person consuming the content to connect with that purpose and feel aligned with the brand.
Brand storytelling could focus on a company’s founder story, the journey it has been on, how a product or service evolved, or how it responded to challenges. Other examples of brand storytelling involve humanizing a brand and promoting its values by telling the story of the company’s people. Furthermore, brands can build trust by interviewing customers or publishing an evocative customer story.
The question many companies and organizations continue to struggle with is: how do we use stories to create and nurture customer relationships? It comes down to listening, learning, and engaging with your customers. Take out assumptions and lead your audience along a journey without selling or pushing them. Staying genuine and authentic will increase brand awareness, return higher engagement rates and, ultimately, convert more qualified leads.
Keeping your content honest equates to authentic storytelling. Strive to provide customers with an opportunity to feel like they are part of a larger group. Research from psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary best describes this need in their “belongingness hypothesis”: “People have a basic psychological need to feel closely connected to others, and that caring, affectionate bonds from close relationships are a major part of human behavior.”
Find a way to connect with your customers on a deeper, more emotional level. Do you give them peace of mind? Do you make life easier? Use these triggers to strengthen your relationship and foster loyalty. Enhanced loyalty might be the most impactful outcome of well-done storytelling, leading to more engagement with your brand.
How to use brand storytelling in marketing:
Today’s consumer isn’t fooled by brand’s that are inauthentic or unoriginal. The first step is deciding what your brand’s purpose is and what it stands for. These values may not be unique to your brand, but your mission, ethos must be credible, and 100% aligned with your purpose.
Listen to your customers
Your customers are the best people to shape brand storytelling. You want them to feel part of your brand and to connect on an emotional level with you. What do they care about? What sort of content is most exciting to them, and why? What aren’t they getting off your competitors that you could provide them with?
Put the customer at the center of the story
One of the biggest mistakes is positioning the product or service as the central character. By making the customer the hero and responding to their needs and desires, you stand a far better chance of attracting and converting them—and turning them into advocates.