Brand Storytelling: What Is It & How Can It Help Your Business?

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Once Upon a Time, there was a humble merchant with a simple dream. They wanted nothing more than to make people happy. The merchant enjoyed making friends with their customers and took their commitment to the customer seriously. They cared about quality, and they cared about value. But most of all they valued the friendships that they enjoyed with the customers who came back to them time and time again. But after a while, the merchant noticed that fewer and fewer of their customers were coming back. And the faithful few that did were buying fewer and fewer things. The merchant knew that something needed to change. Or they would be out of business, and destitute. But how could they win back those fickle masses and gain their own little piece of a happily ever after?’

Why, through brand storytelling, of course!!

We love stories. You. Me. Every human being on the planet. They’re how we’re first taught to make sense of the world around us. We lap them up in our books, movies and video games. We even expect to see the conventions of storytelling in the news. And, if you expect to gain traction with your target audience, you’re going to have to get used to making it a part of your branding. Or, if you’re thinking of giving your business’ public image a shot in the arm, your rebranding.   

Yes, stories are great… but what’s Brand Storytelling?

Brand storytelling means using the conventions of narrative to engage your target audience and improve the way your brand resonates with them. Audiences are bombarded with literally thousands of advertising messages every day. As such, they have become extremely adept at filtering them out and adding them to the white noise of their lives.

That’s not to say that advertising doesn’t work. We know that it does. However, audiences are much better predisposed to stories than they are advertisements that take the direct approach. Of course, not all stories are a hit with audiences. If they were, we wouldn’t have box office bombs or critically panned books. Here are some tips that will help you to integrate brand storytelling successfully into your marketing…

Take your story to them

It’s not that your customers don’t want to engage with your brand stories. It’s just that they’re busy. Even if they are predisposed to like you, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re willing to check your blog for updates every day or check your website to see which products are new. 

However, if you have a lead magnet that enables you to encourage perspectives and customers to surrender their email addresses, you can take your story to them. An Email marketing agency can help you to generate email copy that is engaging and high value for the reader. They will also know how to send your open and clickthrough rates skyrocketing. After all, what’s the point in writing great copy if your email is going to languish unopened in the recipient’s inbox? 

Use video

We like to read stories. But we love to watch them through the magic of video even more. Fortunately, video presents us with ample opportunities for brand storytelling. There are many examples of successful brand storytelling through video from Ted Baker’s slightly absurd melodrama “Keeping Up with the Bakers” to Evernote’s interactive “Ever Better Challenge” and “Leena the lactose-intolerant employee” worked wonders in raising awareness of Ben & Jerry’s vegan-friendly range. 

Make it immersive

A story you can read or watch is good. But a story that you can immerse yourself in is even better. There are many examples of brand storytelling using immersive, interactive means both in the digital realm and the real world. For instance, to celebrate the release of the 2016 Ghostbusters remake, Sony Pictures transformed a section of London’s bustling Waterloo Station to make it look like the iconic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was bursting through the floor. There were also oozing 8-meter “slime poles” and pop up stores where consumers could buy ghostly goods. 

While it clearly didn’t send people in droves to watch the film (it famously flopped despite actually being pretty great and having a stellar cast of funny women), the campaign itself proved award-winning.

Keep it real

Finally, functional ghosts and ghouls are all well and good. But audiences respond best of all to real stories. Tell them about the people at the other end of your supply chain. Especially if your efforts are helping them to lead better lives. Share the lived experiences of your employees and other customers. Keep your stories real and customers will see the people who make your brand what it is!

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