How to Use Storytelling for Powerful Branding
The word “storytelling” is often one that trips up business owners. It summons up imagery of fiction or fairy tales — what does that have to do with a company? A brand story is not like a story in a book, with a beginning, middle, and end.
Rather, storytelling is about sharing how your brand works in the world. Instead of telling customers the facts about your business, show them how you’ve been able to provide value to past customers, the way that your services might improve their own life. Building this emotional connection with a reader is a big step toward turning them into a customer. These tips will help you start to tell your brand’s story through content.
Use with real life examples
The idea of taking a more content-centric approach to marketing can be daunting, but you already have the base of every piece of content you will ever need to produce. The real stories of your products and customers are all that you need to start producing effective brand storytelling; in fact, real life examples are always preferable to a more “creative” approach. Focusing on real life stories helps ground your marketing in reality, giving your brand story an authenticity that readers can feel, whether they are conscious of it or not.
Focus on people with brand storytelling
Even if you sell your products or services to other businesses, at the end of the day you are still providing value to an actual person. Keep those people in mind whenever you share your brand’s story. Every company has a lengthy list of bells and whistles that make them the best choice; those factors are certainly important in making a decision, but in the end a customer wants to be assured that the brand they choose will affect their life in a positive way.
By centering your story around the person instead of the product, you show your customer clearly that your brand is the right choice instead of just telling them.
Imagine taking every direct reference to your company out of a piece of content — would it still be clear that you wrote it? If your content could have been created by any of your competitors, it is not working as hard to tell your brand story as it should be. That indicates that the story is generic, which makes it unlikely to be useful to a reader.
Your business is special – there are reasons why a customer would choose you over anyone else. Think about those reasons when you are deciding what content to share. Your unique perspective is what will help you make an authentic connection with your audience.
One way we have used brand storytelling to create a unique and memorable brand is by using our owner’s passion for Airstreams and RV travel. Sam Chontos enjoys traveling the country in his Airstream working with clients and shooting custom photography for our clients. His mode of travel gives Three Vistas a unique story that is interesting and memorable.
Tell the story your customer wants to read
One of the most common mistakes brands make when starting to tell a brand story is producing the content that the company wants to share, not the content that the audience wants to read.
This content is unsuccessful because it is often perceived as boring or corporate – it does not provide value to the user. Instead, try to put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. What questions might they have about your industry? What are the steps they might need to take leading up to purchasing your services? Use the overall structure of answering these questions in order to showcase the features or expertise you want to communicate.
Look outside your industry for storytelling inspiration
As previously mentioned, the stories you tell are a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. If you are looking only to the other companies in your own industry for inspiration, everything will quickly start to look the same. You cannot demonstrate the unique capabilities of your business if you constantly find yourself trying to duplicate the success of others. Instead of trying to replicate successful initiatives from companies in your field, leave your field entirely to look for fresh inspiration. Ideas that are standard in one industry are unheard of in others; stop following the trends and start a new one.
The first rule writers are taught is “show, don’t tell.” This old adage is the root of brand storytelling. Don’t tell your audience what your company has to offer — show them through the real life stories of customers, services, and even your own staff. By giving potential customers the opportunity to build a relationship with your brand through the stories your business can tell, you can increase conversions and inspire greater brand loyalty.