Each of us has a fair share of stories that we’d like to hear or read even when we were just a kid. Somehow, these stories, tales, or anecdotes have brought us into a new realm where we can imagine ourselves dealing with the other characters, or perhaps stirring us to be like the protagonist itself- aspiring to be a better person or yet achieve our greatest dreams and aspirations in life.
Having said that, a lot of the businesses today has gone dull and lifeless when it comes to telling their brand story so much in favor of their advocacy. Ask yourself: Does your customer know your company very well? Or maybe have you given them a different viewpoint on how you do your business?
Just like how Geoff Mead- founder of Narrative Leadership Associates- have said: “They (companies) lose their extraordinary ability to stimulate both the feelings and imagination of the teller and the audience.”
Aside from separating you from the “me too” crowd, creating a great and powerful story- poured with a splotch of creativity- will allow you to frame the uniqueness and value of your brand, building a much wider market that actually cares about and wants to buy your product.
Brand Storytelling simply refers to sharing your company story to connect with your audience. It is the story of how your company or brand came into being. It’s an in-depth exposition of the company’s aspirations, vision, and mission. It should possess the following characteristics:
- It shows that your brand can transcend culture, time and location.
- It bridges the gap between the consumer and the brand by showing how the company can also relate to the sometimes hostile realities of everyday life.
- It offers valuable insight into human weaknesses, poor choices and frailty.
- It tells the story of a company that cares about its consumers, which should be the reason why it created a product to minimize the pain points of everyday living.
Quicksprout, on the other hand, defined what brand storytelling is NOT:
- A long-winded, 5-paragraph essay about your company
- A blog post
- Something isolated
- A fragmented view of your company
- Something reserved for the marketing team only
- A PR stunt
- A viral video
- A tool to manipulate customers and prospects
John Simmons quotes Robert McKee in his book The Invisible Grail
An Effective Way to Connect with Your Audience
Many companies like Lego, Coca-Cola, and Google have become known not only for their mastery in their respective industry but also of their propensity for storytelling as well. Compared to traditional advertising, brand storytelling is the most effective way to connect with your audience today. It is done through the following techniques:
- The Classic Theory Pattern- This technique is by far the simplest way to craft your story. One example of classic story patterns is “The Hero’s Journey,” in which a person seeks to right a wrong or overcome their past. It follows the simple pattern of having a “protagonist” and “antagonist” in the story which makes it relatable to many.
- Authentic Story- The best way to tell a story is to tell a true story. You can tell the story about the original recipe that your grandmother has developed 50 years ago. Or have interviews with real people in your next video presentation. Just make everything relatable, likable, and real.
- Don’t Sell Your Product- You aren’t going to sell your product, but you are going to allow your story to sell your brand.
For example, Budweiser created an ad few years ago to help reduce drunk driving. The lead in the commercial was shown adopting a puppy, taking care of it until it is a grown up dog. One night, the lead goes to his friend’s house to have a drink. Later, that man was shown driving, while the dog is waiting for him to come home. Morning comes and we are left to believe that the man was killed in a car accident- the dog’s fate unknown. Finally, the man returns and tells his dog he slept at a friend’s house.
Budweiser didn’t have to sell their beer to gain support for their brand. All they say is:
Designing Your Brand Story
You can ask the following questions to develop your brand story:
- The reason for the Company’s Creation– What is the reason for your existence? To answer this, you must identify first the purpose of your company. By answering this, you can establish a clear idea on what sets you apart from the competition.
- Company History/Background– Elaborate the struggles that your company had to endure when it came into being and the challenges it overcame in the process.
- The Protagonist– Identify the key people who played a large role or greatly influenced your company to reach its current situation. It can be your employees, the CEO, or even the customers as well. Their own insights can make your story more appealing to emotions because of their fresh perspective on how well you coped with struggles and challenges.
- Corporate Mission– Identify what you want to achieve. Showcase the solutions that you are offering that can solve the pain points of day-to-day struggles in life.
- Share Your Failures– Showing to your audience that you, too, had to face failures is a great way to connect with them on a deeper level. Failure is the evidence that you’ve sincerely tried your best, just like everybody else. Your ability to bounce back after each failure is a strong demonstration of humanity- which is a long lost element in the marketing industry today.
- Business Gaps– There are times when business is at its peak, but before that, there will be times when our company cannot escape the harsh reality after committing mistakes. Accept the challenge by showing to your audience that you’re willing to give in everything to be better.
Additionally, here is the 20 Keys to A Brand Story, courtesy of The Story of Telling:
As we are being choked by a lot of commercials that only talks about profit and actual utility of the product, it is nice to have a fresh breath of air through storytelling. Even without your product, your brand story can immediately ignite your audience’s emotion, thus a higher level of connection is made. As such every time they see your logo, visits your website, or reads about your blog posts, all they will remember is the great story that is behind your company’s success.