What is brand storytelling and how to tell yours
Brand storytelling is a powerful method for communicating important messages from your business that connect with your audience in a particularly human way. They are all about generating an emotional response and establishing more meaningful connections.
The power of storytelling is undisputed: stories are 22 times more memorable than statistics, facts and figures; and our brain activity fires up 5x more when listening to stories which serve to trigger the sensory cortex in our brain.1
To understand the power of brand storytelling and what it can achieve, it’s worth taking a quick look at the broader concept of branding.
In our hyper-connected world, most people have a definition for branding in mind, even people who don’t own a business, or work anywhere near the marketing department. This makes sense given the impact marketing and advertising messages have in our everyday lives.
At its essence - good branding is a feeling. It’s a series of interactions with a business that excite, inspire, engage, and persuade. These interactions are actually quite vast. They could be talking with service people, entering a restaurant or an education institution for the first time, receiving a new product via courier or mail, being delighted at a clever piece of design, reading a blog article - and so on. All of these various moments add up into experiences, and yep, that’s your brand.
Authenticity and the heart of the matter
If there’s something human beings are particularly good at, it’s a propensity toward cynicism and the ability to sniff out phony statements or gestures. It’s a problem the corporate world runs into from time to time, often made public via a social media disaster, a court case or a government commission. It’s also an issue that comes across when a business of any size hasn’t given enough thought to its purpose or reason for being.
Let’s examine the implications around this concept. To sound authentic, you must actually be authentic. When people - and the businesses they inhabit - are genuine, this is something we instinctively understand to be true. If you put that truth into your marketing and your brand storytelling, the resonance and impact will be felt, and even amplified, organically.
To find this truth, businesses and leaders must ask themselves - what inspires us each and every day? Why do I get up in the morning? Why do I choose to do this instead of something else? What drives and inspires our people the most? Once you can answer these sorts of questions, you are on the way to revealing authenticity, which is essentially the currency of a healthy brand.
Telling your brand story
With our purpose more clearly defined, we can start to tell more meaningful stories. Brand storytelling is certainly not confined to the written word. Video is a great tool for telling stories via case studies, solution explainers, highlight reels, and so on. Keynote presentations, design and art direction, photography, taglines, animation, and script writing can and should all come together to form various parts of your brand story.
How do you get started with your narrative? Think about the messages that combine your commercial objectives with interesting human stories that capture key storytelling themes. Those themes might include classic narrative devices like struggle, conflict, inspiration, ambition, adventure - all those wonderful devices that fascinate us as people, and resonate with us in the most natural way.
To tell more authentic stories, you can try featuring your customers or the real people within your business. Look at what benefits can arise from human experience and insights, being careful not to sanitise aspects of your story with too much corporate polish.
Customer centricity is another important element of brand storytelling. In other words, put your customer as the hero of your story and couple that with your brand’s purpose. And remember what you stand for isn’t the same as your products and services. For example, Nike stands for athletic excellence, not just shoe sales, while Amazon stands for digital innovation.
Think about the core elements of great storytelling. Heroes, quests, protagonists, conflict, a journey, common purpose, and a satisfying outcome. Remember that an inspiring and universal brand story isn’t just for customers and making direct sales, it’s for your employees and partners too - everybody in your brand’s ecosystem.
Ultimately, brand storytelling is all about communicating human experiences within the context of your brand’s purpose, and combining that with your commercial objectives, so you’ll more naturally be able to bring more people along with you on your brand’s journey. So get creative and if you'd like some help with how to tell your brand story, feel free to get in touch with us.
Brand storytelling is a powerful method for communicating important messages from your business that connect with your audience in a particularly human way. Explore how you can tell your brand's story and the impact it could have on your business.