Present someone with a list of facts and figures and they’re likely to forget everything you told them; tell someone a story, meanwhile, and it just might linger with them.
That’s the basic concept behind brand storytelling, which is closely interwoven with content marketing. Basically, and very much unlike traditional advertising—which focuses on a laundry list of products or services—brand storytelling allows you to craft a narrative about your company. Who are you? What do you stand for? What are your values? And where does the customer enter the scene?
If that sounds like an ambitious undertaking, it is; your brand storytelling unfolds across many different platforms, from social media to your company’s About page, and it encompasses every piece of content you create plus every interaction you have with our customers.
So where do you get started? What are the opening pages of your brand’s story?
Getting Started with Brand Storytelling
- Before you publish any content, take the time to write down your actual brand story—how long your company has been around; who it serves; the benefits it offers; the advantages you offer over your competition; and the reasons a customer might choose to do business with you. Keep this brand story handy as a kind of reference, ensuring that all your future content creation aligns with it.
- Remember that good storytelling usually has some sense of conflict. For your brand, the conflict is this: Your customers have needs, or pain points, and your brand can provide the solution. That’s the central action of all your brand storytelling.
- Know who you’re telling the story to; awareness of your audience is key. Know who they are and what they care about; what problems they face, and what solutions they are seeking. Creating buyer personas is often helpful here.
- Also be aware that good storytelling isn’t just about the details you include, but also the details you omit. In particular, you can skip over those details that won’t hold the interest of your audience; keep the focus on them, and the benefits you provide them—not all the finer points of your company history, which may not be as interesting or as relevant to outsiders.
- Choose the right media to tell your story. Some brands lend themselves very well to Facebook; others, to LinkedIn. Some brands benefit from video, and others really don’t. It’s all just a matter of where your audience is, and which formats make the most sense for the story you’re telling.
- Along the same lines, always adapt your story to the platform you’re telling it on. For Snapchat, you can be informal; for LinkedIn, it’s usually better to be straight-laced and professional.
- Good storytelling elicits emotion—and that’s certainly what you should aim for with your content. Always ask yourself how you want your audience to feel about the content you create and the story you’re telling. And, be strategic about how those feelings might prompt action.
- Use natural language to tell your story. Your vocabulary and your diction should mirror the way your customers actually speak and actually search for information. This is more important than ever, here in the age of Voice Search.
- Always provide your audience with a clear sense of how the story continues—specifically with a strong call to action in each piece of content.
Time to Start Your Story
Start telling the story of your brand today; allow your customers to see where they fit into it, and how you can help them resolve conflict and find solutions. In short: Tell them a story they won’t soon forget.