People see a lot of advertisements every day. It’s getting more and more difficult to stand out and get attention. You can break through to people and keep them interested by introducing them to your business through brand storytelling. Your brand story is a way of showing, rather than telling, what your brand has to offer.
Bring people in by creating a long-term story arc, being consistent, and showing them what you care about. This is the best way to grab and maintain their attention. Find out everything you need to know about building a compelling brand story:
1. Show, don’t tell
It’s always better to show rather than to tell. Stay away from just listing off vague and general qualities, and really focus on how your brand helped a specific person. You want your audience to connect with this person and know how your brand tangibly improved their life. If you just throw out a bunch of bland adjectives about how great your brand is, people will tune out because they hear these pitches all the time and do not relate to them.
It’s the difference between mass marketing, trying to appeal to everyone but actually influencing no-one, and choosing an angle that will actually convince a segment of the population.
There are many angles you can choose; humor and sentimentality are two excellent ways to connect with an audience. When appealing to sentimentality, it’s important to use the right words. You are trying to evoke emotions, so keep this in mind when writing your brand story. A good model for this kind of storytelling is the scripts used by nonprofit organizations. We’re talking about a story that focuses on an individual and their plight while describing the situation in words that will pluck at the heartstrings.
A great brand story example which demonstrates showing, rather than telling, can be found with Marriot’s new hotel named Moxy. Everything about its website and promotional videos represents exactly what the brand’s story is, you don’t need any further explaining.
2. Create a long-term story arc
Write an ongoing, long-term story arc, rather than a short story. Remember that you are trying to form a relationship with your audience, and you want them coming back again and again.
Think up some challenges that your story’s hero can struggle with but ultimately overcome. The important thing is for these challenges to be part of a continuing saga – not a one-off.
It’s very difficult for someone to connect to a character who they’re introduced to, witness a brief challenge, and then never see again. You want people coming back again and again to find out how the character, who they are emotionally invested and interested in, is doing. Each installment should leave the audience wanting more and wondering what will happen next. Cliffhanger endings are a great way to keep people captivated and coming back for more.
MouthFoods does this well, as it shares stories of small business owners whose products it sells. This way, the company creates its own brand story through helping and highlighting these businesses. It also creates interest in the artisanal brands at MouthFoods.
3. Consistency is key
Do everything you can to keep your brand consistent with the values it associates itself with. People are exposed to a lot of advertising and, as a result, they are generally very good at spotting a brand that is not being authentic. The relationship you are building through your story will be totally compromised if the consumer feels that you have violated their trust. So when you make a promise, keep it. When your brand espouses a value, make sure you don’t contradict that value, or your inconsistent behavior will result in lost customers.
Make your values part of your brand story; demonstrate why they are important and how you intend to abide by them. Keep your message consistent in all your different marketing avenues, and your brand will be seen as authentic. Inconsistency is also confusing, and people will turn away from a brand that contradicts itself in favor of one that doesn’t.
Beats by Dre is another great brand story example. The brand is very consistent in communicating its message, telling stories of how amazingly its product transmits the feeling of being in the studio. It shows how the headphones offer incredible entertainment and are beloved around the world.
4. Let your brand story show what’s on the inside
A big part of making sure your brand story is seen as authentic and consistent is your origin story.
Why did you decide to start your business? Obviously making money is usually the prime motivator, but beyond that what convictions did you follow? Talk about your mission and your passion, and how they influence the way your brand operates.
An honest story of someone going through the struggles of starting a business can be a great way to connect with your audience. Your origin story can really personalize your brand; it’s connecting a human face and story to a brand. Present yourself not as just a company, but a person with goals and a mission, and you will go a long ways toward establishing trust.
Invite your audience to become part of your story. Share with them your vision for the brand and connect it with something they care about.
Title Nine, a women’s fitness apparel company, did this successfully. By tying its brand – and success – to a campaign that the brand’s target demographic cares about, it has grown into a successful company.
Named after the legislation that paved the way for women to take part in all sporting activities, the brand was founded by Missy Park who realized there was a need to provide sportswear specifically made for women. This value is still evident throughout the brand’s messaging today. You can check out the company’s full brand story here.
5. Get your audience’s attention – and keep it
It’s important that you are able to grab people’s attention so that they can get invested in your story. One important ingredient in getting their attention is to know your audience.
What demographic are you targeting? What motivates them? What do they like and dislike? Base your characters and your story arc on things that will interest your audience.
Another way to grab people’s interest is with the language that you use. Choose the wrong tone and people will scroll right by. Spend some time figuring out how to best communicate with your target audience.
Track your links to figure out which social posts receive the most engagement. Speak to your audience in such a way as to grab and keep their attention. Your goal is to quickly transition from piquing their interest to creating emotional investment. One key to being noticed in the crowded world of advertising is to develop a distinctive voice and style. Think of your brand as a person, what kind of person would it be?
You might want to try and model your brand personality on your target audience and who they trust. The important thing is to stand out and be recognizable.
SoulCycle, for example, gained much attention from the fact that people pay for one class what they would normally pay for a month of access in a regular gym. Once interest is piqued, they use it’s messaging to highlight its inclusive values and make an emotional connection. This is an excellent representation of what your brand story should do.
6. Tell your brand story in an effective way
Whatever story you decide to tell, it’s crucial to make sure that your efforts are having the desired results. Monitor how effective your story arc is at bringing traffic to your site. And be sure to keep an eye on things like grammar, as your story’s effectiveness can be greatly hampered if it is poorly written. Sites such as My Writing Way, ViaWriting, or State of Writing can help ensure your grammar is correct. While you can use services like BoomEssays and Academized to make sure your content is well-written and proofed.
It’s just as important to get video and audio content right, particularly if the goal is to evoke emotion in your audience. If you don’t have the resources to create video content in-house, freelance sites can be useful. But make sure to put together the script first so the finished product will be in keeping with your brand story values.
Get working on your brand storytelling strategy
It can be hard to reach people in today’s competitive advertising marketplace. Stand out from the competition by crafting a brand story with a consistent and long-term story arc that shows off what your brand has to offer.
Make sure to maintain authenticity and show your audience what your company’s mission is and why they should care about it. Don’t forget your story is only strong if it is well written and polished. Use these six key elements to write a compelling brand story.
Guest author: Mary Walton, Essayroo
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- Brand storytelling
- How to create a brand story
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- Brand storytelling strategy