September 18, 2018

Brand Storytelling

How storytelling marketing can take your brand to heroic heights

Once upon a time, there was an organization that wanted to explore brand storytelling, to leap tall competitors in a single bound, to forge an unbreakable connection with target audiences, and to make itself as invincible and enduring as a cartoon hero. But then, evil writer’s block struck, and our hero feared he’d be all dried up even before the story of the brand began.

If this foray into storytelling marketing sounds all too familiar, never fear! Blue Door Consulting is here! And brand storytelling is just one of our many marketing superpowers. We’re happy to tag along as your faithful creative sidekick. So, grab your cape and your thinking cap. Together we’ll soar into storytelling marketing and of course, save the day.  

The beginning: How to tell a brand story

Brand storytelling done well allows you to infuse your brand with personality and emotion, so that your target audiences feel a powerful connection to it. That connection is incredibly valuable, as it can help you build your customer base and even generate brand loyalty among them. More, you’ll likely increase the perceived value of what you’re offering, while clearly communicating your organization’s mission and vision. And that, like all of the great feel-good stories, leads to a very happy ending.

Think about it. The brands that rise to the top don’t just market themselves, they usually have a great brand story—something that connects them to a higher purpose. To get there, you’ll want to revisit your organization’s founding principles and who your target audience is. The goal is to reach them on a deeper level, with a story that inspires and touches their hearts. One brand story coach suggests thinking of your brand as a legacy, and envisioning the type of legacy you want to leave behind. Yes, your products and services might be complex, but the goal of a brand story is to create a strong, consistent, simplified concept that sticks in your audience’s minds and makes your brand unforgettable and irresistible.

The bottom line: think big about what you want to accomplish. Do you want to inspire change in an industry? Or compel people to act? Or help people achieve specific goals? Then you want to focus this vision down into a single sentence that includes your target audience, what your brand is doing for them, and the transformation that will result. To further refine your efforts, be sure you have a full understanding of your target audience. If you haven’t already, you may want to develop personas to represent your ideal customers. Know their pain points, know what inspires them and know how your brand fits into that mix.

The heart of it all: how to build a brand story

Now that you have a clear understanding of your organization’s vision, who you want to reach, and your company’s core values, you’ll want to start developing a content strategy that tells your brand story. You and your team will want to consider every aspect of content, every touchpoint in the communications space, so that your messaging will be consistent throughout. Everything should support that story consistently, from the images you select to the music (if any) to the words you choose to tell your story. Everything should support your vision and core values, to create a clear picture of who your brand is.

Employing the elements of storytelling will help you build your brand story. They include:

  • A main character
  • A villain, i.e. problem: internal, external or philosophical
  • A guide or hero (that’s your brand!): express both empathy and understanding, then demonstrate competency in solving the problem
  • A call to action: give them a plan
  • Results of that action, (in your customer’s case, success!)

It’s all about taking your audiences on a journey they can relate to. So it’s ultimately essential that you be authentic. Don’t shy away from touching on real-world struggles your audience faces, their beliefs and the challenges that help them grow. Then, show them how you can help.

The epic conclusion of storytelling marketing

As important as it is to craft a compelling story, remember that it’s just as important to give your audiences a reason to continue following your brand story. To do that, you must provide value in every piece of content, whether it’s shared on social media, via your traditional marketing channels or in paid advertising.

Story coach Celinne Da Costa recommends asking 1) what is the key takeaway, 2) how are your audiences affected by this portion of your brand story, and 3) how will it change your audience’s life if they continue to follow your brand story?

Storytelling marketing doesn’t have to end here. To further galvanize your community, invite them to tell your brand story through their experience…or rather, empower them to do so. Through social media, you can allow your customers to continue the storytelling, further building your brand while leveraging content that your audiences are generating. Engage with individuals who have become your brand advocates to extend the reach of that story.

Remember, the greatest stories have aspects the average person can relate to. Find a way to connect with a broad audience, inspire them and compel them to look to your brand to meet their needs.

New to brand storytelling? We can help.

Want to win the hearts and loyalty of your customers? You can get there, with brand storytelling. And don’t worry, if you get into a sticky situation, we’re happy to answer the call to help with your storytelling marketing needs. We’ll be there faster than you can find a phone booth (to change into your tights and cape, of course!), ensuring your brand lives happily ever after.