Is brand storytelling a bunch of fluffy talk that doesn’t contribute to sales, or is it your most powerful weapon in building demand?
WHAT is brand storytelling?
Brand storytelling is all about telling a story that connects customers with a brand on an emotional level.
It’s a way of using narrative techniques to communicate a brand’s values, mission, and identity. Whether it’s through video content, social media posts, or advertising campaigns, the goal is to create a story that resonates with customers and sets the brand apart from its competitors. It is not just your logo, brand colours, or font types.
To effectively achieve this connection, you need both a brand story and a brand personality.
A brand story is like a company’s biography. It’s the story that a brand tells about itself, its values, and its mission. It’s like a fashion brand’s mission to create sustainable clothing for busy women, or a restaurant’s mission to provide the most authentic British food.
A brand personality is like a character perceived by customers with traits such as friendliness, sophistication, or reliability, creating familiarity and trust. What are the values and personality of the busy women you want to appeal to? Are we serving food as Ed Sheeran, Gordon Ramsay or King Charles III?
Together, a brand with a great story and an appealing personality creates the foundation of the story you want to tell.
Discussing emotions isn’t for everyone
Many entrepreneurs are great at developing their products or services but often fall short in effectively conveying the brand story behind their offerings. Instead of creating an emotional connection with customers, they tend to focus solely on the features, functions, or materials of their product, neglecting the intangible consumer benefits their brand can provide.
This is totally understandable though. Tangible stuff is easier to talk about while creating an emotional connection is harder to qualify and quantify and lies outside the comfort zone of many product developers.
But in today’s super-competitive marketplace, where similar products are sold at similar prices in similar locations, it’s super-important to have a brand that people can really identify with. That way, when customers give you that split-second of attention, you can make the most of it and really stand out from the crowd.
WHY is it important?
This is important because as humans, we tend to prefer things that we identify with and are familiar with.
By conveying your brand’s values and missions in a personality that “clicks” with your target audience, you are creating an emotional connection with them.
When everything else is equal at the functional level, it is this emotional bond that differentiates you from your competition. It also improves your customers’ engagement with your brand, and fosters future loyalty.
This is soft-power. Like air that keeps planes in the sky, this intangible asset called “brand” will keep your business soaring.
WHERE do you apply it?
Everywhere. You storytell your brand across your entire buyer’s journey.
At the Top of the funnel (TOFU), in channels such as Display/Video Ads or Social Media Ads, you fight for attention (i.e. awareness) with the most striking and visual aspect of your brand. This is where your brand personality needs to shine, making a great impression by striking a strong resonance with your target audience. Showcase your jeans topless, because sexiness is part of your brand personality, or show people drinking your beer outdoor instead of nightclubs because you appeal to the outdoorsy people.
In the Middle of the funnel (MOFU), in channels such as Social Media, Search, Website, Blog, are utilized to continuously engage the target audience with content that reinforces the shared values of your brand. This helps to sustain the top-of-mind awareness of the brand so that it is remembered when needed. Sustainable laundry tips, how to tea like the Queen, or the best hikes to have a cold one, etc.
At the Bottom of the funnel (BOFU), in channels such as Search, Website, Blog and Email, the emotional connection you have established is the seed of future loyalty, which translates into repeat sales or positive word-of-mouth. Ask happy customers to refer a friend, for a review, or have the first look of new products.
HOW do you get started?
This is no bullshit, but you literally need to reach into the soul of your key stakeholders to discover values and personality traits that your team are genuinely comfortable with, and how these values and traits can be applied to the business. (Yes, this can be a daunting task!) You simply cannot create a brand that your team cannot resonate with.
Next you’ll need to gauge the size of the market that will find such a brand appealing. In today’s digital age, analyzing search keyword volumes and ad targeting audience size can give you some ideas.
Lastly, it is important to cross-check if there is any brand with a similar story or personality in the market. This can be easily done by reviewing publicly available content from competitors to avoid coming across as a copycat.
While developing a brand story and personality may seem intimidating, the rewards are worth it. When every piece of communications you put out is consistently adding a piece to your overall brand story and reinforcing your brand personality, you will start to notice a sense of clarity in your marketing communications, and an increase in engagement with a community you want to build.
So how do you consistently develop content for your brand storytelling? Stay tuned for our next issue.