A great brand story is a beautiful thing. As well as letting your customers into the heart of your business, a brand story has the power to forge long lasting connections and, as a result, promote even better engagement. Brand stories are what consumers want. According to recent research eight out of 10 people want brands to tell stories. Great news, right? What’s not so great is that the same study found that 85% couldn’t recall a great brand story, which in our eyes is a real problem…
Brand storytelling is a marketing method called upon by B2B and B2C brands alike, and for good reason. Brand stories unlock numerous advantages, far beyond the ones we’ve touched on above. Keeping the standard of each story you so lovingly create and share high however is important. Here we reveal 10 top tips for better storytelling so you can tell brand stories that people will truly love and engage with.
1. Get to know your audience
Have a great idea for a brand story? Telling and sharing it shouldn’t be where your storytelling journey begins. Like any marketing activity, your strategy should start with market research. After all, how can you tell your story effectively without considering what your audience really wants. In-depth market research counts for a lot. In fact, the more detailed you get, the better your story is likely to be received and shared even further afield.
Establishing what your audience wants from not just your story but in their daily lives is an excellent conversation to have. Finding out how they consume media and what scenarios they relate to most will also ensure your story is shared with maximum engagement in mind.
2. Better yet, tell it from your customer’s point of view
Looking through the eyes of customers isn’t just a matter of identifying the write words, format and distribution channels to make the most of your brand story. Actually telling your brand story from the point of view of your customer is another route to better brand storytelling. Known as customer stories, the importance of transforming your story to their story is a tactic used by many modern day, big name brands. In addition to concentrating on what your customer will get out of your story, making them the star of the show can increase loyalty throughout the rest of your customer base.
Many brands are in fact utilising user-generated content to increase the truthfulness of their stories. According to Stackla, 60% of consumers see user-generated brand stories as the most authentic form of content. Putting your audience first, in more ways than one, means you can easily identify and demonstrate what an important role you play in their story.
3. Follow traditional storytelling conventions
Whilst the subject matter of your brand story will be far from traditional, and instead give a unique, interesting and inspiring insight into your brand, the structure of your story should follow certain conventions. Us humans are creatures of habit, which makes giving your story a beginning, middle and end predictable but important. An overcomplicated story structure will only cause confusion and make disengagement more of a reality.
4. Avoid using jargon
Great brand storytelling counts for nothing if your audience simply doesn’t get it. The language you use throughout your narrative is therefore key, and should not only be adapted to the needs of your specific audience but simplified for better understanding. Speaking their language and avoiding the use of jargon will ensure you find and use an appropriate voice, tone and style that meets your core demographics’ expectations.
5. Remember we’re all human
From speaking a language your audience can understand to keeping it real. Remember you’re telling a story, not pitching your products or services. Keep the human element dead centre of your brand story for a positive and powerful impact. Your brand stories should help you gain trust in your respective marketplace. Show that your brand is human, that’s what audiences love.
6. Embrace the emotional storyline
Emotion is something of a buzzword on the storytelling scene, but there’s a truth behind this hype. Emotion is a key part of the brand story structure. Harvard Business Review reported that connecting emotionally is the best strategy for attracting and retaining customers.
7. Don’t put yourself at the heart of it
As we’ve mentioned in point five of this article, your brand story shouldn’t be a glorified sales pitch. An authentic brand story shouldn’t be telling consumers what to buy, savvy customers will quickly see through this tactic. Instead use your brand story to offer value to your market, giving them an insight into your brand, not just the products or services at the heart of it.
8. Find your own brand hero
Whilst you’ll have your own aspirations to become your audience’s brand hero, there’s nothing wrong with looking to other brands for inspiration. There are lots of exciting and inspiring brand stories out there, tales that help to drive emotion and establish the connections that you want to make with your own audience.
9. Keep it simple
Simplicity is the key to using brand storytelling to gain trust throughout your target market. Don’t make your brand story too elaborate, instead keep its concept as straightforward and easy to understand as possible. The ‘problem, solution, success’ framework is more impactful than a more complex model.
10. Tell the truth warts and all
Gaining the trust and loyalty of your target audience is one of the primary perks of great brand storytelling. It may be tempting to pull a fast one to jazz up a rather lack lustre concept, but remember your audience won’t be fooled and will not appreciate any falsities. Keep it genuine and celebrate your brand’s uniqueness with transparency. Telling the truth, warts and all, will help you on your way to storytelling success.
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