5 Essential Elements Of Powerful Brand Storytelling
Your brand lives and influences customers as a part of an intrinsic relationship that shapes the social story of the world. That’s why powerful storytelling matters to the success of a brand in a highly competitive market. Adding storytelling to your marketing helps humanize your brand. After all, you’re not selling to goats — are you? Connect authentically with your customers by utilizing these five essential elements of brand storytelling.
1. Unique Brand Narrative
Brand value is linked with its story. The benefits a company provides to its customers are communicated in the who, what, why and how of brand storytelling. Who are you? What are your values? What makes you unique?
What’s your origin story that makes you a superhero among brands? Think of a brand narrative as your company’s strategic statement that you pull from to create conversation and community with your audience. Find your uniqueness, and create a narrative of up to 500 words. Touch on the brand’s history and its evolution. Discuss future goals, giving back, essential products and services and beliefs.
Pull quotes and relevant details from this narrative to integrate into interviews, guest posts, campaigns and the company website. Use the power of the brand narrative wisely
2. Know Your Target Audience
Classic marketing truths never die — know your target audience. That means more than demographics — although, those are part of the equation. Your audience consists of more than numbers. They are flesh and bone, and you need to get to know them like the well-rounded personas they are.
Start with one character. Who is this person? What do they need? How do they go about their day? Defined personas help you fill out your storyline, so you tell the right story to your target audience with the right timing. Knowing your target audience ensures your message gets across.
Take a look at your present audience and competitor audiences. Use tools to listen socially and collect brand mentions and other data to analyze sentiment among followers. Look at what content delivers the best quality that converts and creates conversation among influencers and audiences. Combine this with your demographic and other qualitative information, such as age, location, income, interests and more. You’ll have more than one persona to cultivate stories for and reach, depending on your objective.
3. Data Plays A Supporting Role
Don’t make statements. Tell stories. Within brand storytelling, data plays a supporting role. Interpret data with originality to make stories believable, engaging your audience and converting them into buyers all at once. For example, every photo on National Geographic’s social media pages tend to come with a personal story, and they may also include data points to drive home the need to care more for the environment and specific species.
This element evokes a wider range of emotions and reactions from your audience, from humor to rational thought. The more deeply you engage with your audience, the better — people like content that makes them pause and think.
4. Campaigns Serve Roles In Audience Stories
Many marketing campaigns include themes, but they’re more of a plug-and-play strategy. Powerful brand storytelling organizes campaigns so that they serve roles in audience stories.
Teams return to their target audience and thoroughly imagine their stories. They must ask where this particular campaign fits into the audience’s story. What role does it serve? What persona is it reaching this time? Through what medium? Then, teams outline their storytelling within the framework of the campaign — there may be a series of stories that the audience follows over time to reach the final objective, but they’re hooked. They can’t help it.
5. Make It Personal
This one is obvious — make it personal. You can list the amenities of a beautiful hotel room with a display of panoramic views, but your storytelling gets more mileage and reach when it gets personal. Imagine engaging your audience with at least a five percent value boost with a personal story and photo of someone who actually stayed. In one survey, a panel of over 3,000 online participants, aged 23 to 65, across the U.S. in group B valued one hotel room at $133 when it had these personal elements compared to a perceived value of $125 from group A who saw an ad lacking personalization.
These five essential elements of powerful brand storytelling will make your company and services stand out from the competition. No one can tell the same story twice. Make the narrative unique and personal. Know your target audience beyond demographics, and use data in a supporting role. Remember that campaigns serve greater roles in audience stories.
Never underestimate the power of creating conversation and connection with your audience. Humans have told stories since the dawn of time, and powerful brand storytelling is still the key to communication, conversion and loyalty.
Article in Forbes Magazine by William Craig