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Every business is built upon the promise to offer consumers better results, better experiences and better solutions. But how do we convince our audience that our brand has all the answers they're looking for? How do we connect with potential customers?
The answer is simple: Create compelling content they can relate to; more specifically, create a story that your company and consumers can both benefit from.
Storytelling is a content marketing power tool you can use to communicate your company message. It is a powerful content marketing strategy that helps you establish relationships. If you share a story consumers can instantly relate to, they will take the time to listen to your message and learn about the benefits of using your brand.
If you're just starting your business and you want your voice to be heard, then storytelling is your content format of choice.
In marketing we call it Brand Storytelling.
In the recently concluded CLIO Sports Awards, an award ceremony honoring the best in sports advertising and marketing, companies like ESPN, FOX, Reebok, Nike and the NBA were recognized for their inspiring brand stories.
Brand Storytelling simply refers to sharing your company story to connect with your audience. It is the story of how your company or brand came into being. It’s an in-depth exposition of the company’s aspirations, vision and mission.
In a previous post, we defined storytelling and its effectiveness in content marketing. Every time we use the word story, we refer to a sequential set of events moving forward in a specific direction and with a particular purpose.
In a marketing context, brand storytelling provides an intimate glimpse into a company's culture and what it does to deliver and fulfill its promises. It offers a window to the soul of the company and shows a side of it that the consumers can relate to. It shows the real motivation behind why their team of professionals work hard everyday to deliver a unique service or product. Brand storytelling, in a nutshell, is a company’s method for building human connections.
The brand story is not simply the company's About page. Usually these pages are devoid of content that consumers can connect to emotionally. Brand story refers to anything about your brand that can transcend culture, time and location. It bridges the gap between the consumer and the brand by showing how the company can also relate to the sometimes adverse realities of everyday life. It offers valuable insight into human weaknesses, poor choices and frailty. It tells the story of a company that cares about its consumers, which should be the reason why it created a product to minimize the pain points of day-to-day living.
Your brand story serves as your communication tool. It tells what your company stands for and helps your consumers understand the reason you came into existence.
A great visual design coupled with words that appeal to emotions is a powerful way of telling your brand story.
Content Marketing Institute created this video, which is an example of how powerful words can be when combined with visual content.
The Power of Words Video depicts a blind, homeless man collecting spare cents from people on the street, clinging to a sign that reads: “I’m blind. Please help.” He is mostly ignored. But the story takes an unexpected turn when a woman decides to replace the words on the sign with: “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.”
The story of the blind man shows how much words can change a person’s motivation to lend a helping hand. Ultimately, the homeless man could no longer be ignored since his personal pain, stemming from his disability, became completely apparent to all who were passing by.
“Rich and powerful mental representations of a brand include its personality. Research reveals that consumers perceive the same type of personality characteristics in brands as they do in other people. And just like with people, they are attracted more to some personality types than others – attractions which are emotion based, not rational. Brand personality is communicated by marketers through packaging, visual imagery, and the types of words used to describe the brand.”
However, it is interesting to note that a brand story is not all about the company. Rather, it’s a story about its consumers and the value they get in return from the brand, product or company. A powerful brand story offers a customer experience that lives up to its promise. The most powerful brand stories are the ones that feature their customers as the stars.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to start your story:
What is the reason for your existence? To answer this, you must identify the purpose of your company or brand’s creation. In this answer, you must clearly define what makes you different from your competitors.
Here, you elaborate on the struggles your company had to endure when it came into being and the obstacles it overcame in the process. For example: How your product underwent a series of refinements before it was offered side-by-side with your competitors' products.
Which people in your company have shaped or greatly influenced its being? Who made your brand successful? Who are the heroes in your brand story? Every bit of information you share on the development and evolution of your company matters because it showcases how well you coped with struggles and challenges.
What is it that you want to achieve? What is it that you can guarantee or promise? What pain points of day-to-day struggles are you offering solutions to?
Failure is evidence that you have earnestly tried your best. Every time you taste failure, you bounce back and repeat the process until you can make it work. Your ability to bounce back after each failure is a strong demonstration of humanity and this will greatly help your brand connect with consumers at a deeper level.
We all know that it takes time for a business to thrive and perform at its peak, and we also know that there will be times when business is slow. Don’t be afraid to show your consumers you’re having a slow year. Accept your mistakes and the challenge of doing better. Never shift the blame to circumstantial events. Remember, you are gaining experience and improving as you go.
Know your company by heart. As the old saying goes, you cannot share what you do not have. If you want consumers to relate to your brand, find something you have in common with them by knowing your brand from the inside out. Learn about your pain points, weakness and strengths. Be as transparent as you can be. When you know your company by heart, only then can you effectively share the story of who you are and what you can be.