Do you know why we love Marvel movies? Why does anyone sit for more than two hours to watch Lord of the Rings? And why do we get excited about ten Fast and Furious movies?
People love a good story.
We need there to be a protagonist and a milestone challenge. We love it when the little guy stands up to the big, bad giant. And we really appreciate a plot twist.
What today’s most successful businesses realize is the public’s need for a great story. They also know that if their brands weave a unique tale, their customers will be engaged and responsive. No one wants to be sold. People want to be entertained, enlightened and inspired. Brands telling a unique story will do just that.
So, let’s talk about your story.
There are a lot of well-known, national brands out there that demonstrate master storytelling. Follow their leads and tell your own story in a significant and impactful way.
Melissa’s Boutique: Melissa knows how she came about her decision to launch her boutique business. She used the pandemic as her excuse to embrace her lifelong passion for fashion. She had abandoned her dream to pursue a corporate career… a career that faltered in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns. As she embarked on her new boutique journey, she felt renewed, rejuvenated and validated. It took a pandemic to give her the push she needed. As she jumps into designing, creating and selling her styles, it’s that passion that fuels her the most. And it’s her story that will make why she does, what she does, relatable to her customers.
Melissa’s brand story lies in finding what she loves, sharing her gift and breaking the self-denial cycle. Her boutique offers attire and accessories that empower women, bolster confidence and improve self-image, in line with her own internal just cause. Everything Melissa does, with customers, sewing pieces and even interacting with the UPS driver who delivers her new fabrics every week, has to exude this brand sentiment.
Do You Know Your Brand Story?
So, what’s your story? Did you dive into your business because of the pandemic, like Melissa? Have you had this business plan tucked away somewhere, waiting for the “right time” to take the leap? Maybe you inherited a family business that you’re now seeking to rebrand. Or did you invent something totally revolutionary?
In a world where consumers refuse to be “talked at” or “sold,” companies have to be genuine and have stories. But how do you cultivate this connection? You satisfy this customer craving by telling your company story. Through storytelling, you can effectively humanize your business and communicate why you do what you do, who you are and what your offering can do for someone’s life.
There is a lot of marketing “noise” out there. You can’t scroll through your personal social media feed or tune into your favorite TV show without encountering a company-sponsored message. As you consider the brand story for your business, you’ll want to find the narrative that stands out from all that content “noise.” Talking about how wonderful your customer service is or promising on-time delivery isn’t going to spark interest when every other business message out there implies the same thing.
People seek out brands with characters and life experiences behind the logo. Your customers will be moved and inspired by those who want to make a difference instead of those with “corporate personas.” There is no way to establish connections more effectively than through authentic storytelling from a brand itself. Having your unique brand story will allow you to share experiences from which you can build an original style, personality and voice for your company. And the storytelling will foster an environment of engagement without being too promotional or salesy like most marketing efforts these days.
Knowing the Value of Well-Executed Brand Story
When it comes to storytelling, there’s more to it than just coming up with a tagline or writing website copy. Just because you create content doesn’t mean you’re effectively telling your story. Unfortunately, many brands are trapped in the quantity over quality mindset, forsaking compelling storytelling for product-centric content that doesn’t really connect. Every dime you invest, every decision you make should revolve around or tie into your company’s unique story and WHY for the biggest bang for the buck and highest value.
Let’s look at some stats to put numbers to just how valuable your brand really is.
- According to the 2019 B2C Content Trends, only 52% of business marketers effectively leverage storytelling.
- Origin and Hill Holiday reported that their study found people spent more time with content, promos and products when paired with a brand story.
- Neuroeconomist, Paul Zak, shared his findings about how a character-centric story inspires people to donate 56% more to their favorite charities.
- BigCommerce data suggests 72% of customers trust brands more when there are relatable testimonials, reviews and stories.
There’s Science Behind It, Too
Adding to the value of your brand story is a little bit of science. The scientific community calls it neural coupling. When the brain aligns with the subject of a story, relating or identifying with a situation or character, it creates an influential experience. There is incredible power behind a good story, as it can impact the motor and sensory cortex of the brain. And those subconscious reinforcements in the mind will connect customers to your brand in relevant ways.
How to Develop Your Most Compelling Brand Story
You don’t have to be a Nobel-Prize-winning author to weave a great brand story. You don’t have to even be a decent writer. You only need to be true to your WHY and experiences to allow the brand story to emerge.
Every story has a hero or main protagonist. Maybe that’s you? Every great adventure begins with going into the unknown, sometimes slaying a dragon, or rescuing the village from certain doom. And some stories even have a sad or tragic ending. But it’s the subsequent emerging story that begins with light at the end of the tunnel that truly captivates an audience.
Doug’s Dentistry: Doug’s excited to launch his dentistry. But for him, it’s not just about building a successful practice. He’s always held a high regard for dental health, stemming from a childhood bike accident that resulted in two broken front teeth. It was the experience he had with a gentle dentist who ultimately fixed his smile. This business venture now is just the next step to building a new legacy for his name, in line with those feelings he fostered years ago. Someday, his vision will leave behind a legacy of helping people smile and entrepreneurial success for his namesake. If he does it right, his dentistry story and vision can live long after he’s gone.
How passionate are you about your business? Ultimately, you’ll want to develop a story that captures what you hope to leave behind and how you plan to infinitely impact the world. You can start by evaluating these key elements.
- Know Yourself, Flaws & Attributes Alike
- Have a Clear Vision & State Your WHY
- Find Your Audience (Who Needs to Hear Your Story)
- Narrow Your Expertise (What Are You the Absolute Best at Doing)
- Find Your Narrative (Describe Your Journey)
- Keep It Simple (You Don’t Have to Pen a Book)
- Be Human & Admit Your Mistakes that Led to Breakthroughs
- Don’t Evangelize Without Your Brand Story
Your Story May Evolve with Your Business
The brand story you develop now may continue to experience forks in the road. Don’t be afraid to change your brand narrative as your business changes. Starting with an authentic story, in the beginning will allow you to pivot effectively when you need to do so.
Here’s how to know if your story is still resonating with customers or needs a new chapter.
Look, Listen and Leverage:
- Look at what the competitors are doing better, not to beat them, but instead to improve your efforts.
- Listen to your customers, ideal prospects and even employees to learn about motivators they rely on when making presumptions about your brand.
- Leverage what you learn ongoing to evolve your brand story.
It is important for a company to tell its story in order to find inspiration and clarity. Creating alignment between the brand’s positioning, operations and development will lead the business towards success. It’s the authentic vision behind the brand that provides relevancy. Transparency is key throughout this process, too, as it helps create a window into the soul of a company and creates an open dialogue with consumers.
Let’s use Subaru as an example. This car company positions itself as a safety-first automaker, promoting its consistent safety ratings. It’s also a brand that cares, often promoting charitable contributions and featuring animals in its messaging. Subaru also routinely invites Subaru owners to share their experiences, off-road, with high-mileage vehicles and seeking adventures. You can take a page from the Subaru playbook with these three strategies.
- Positioning is everything.
- Find your brand hero.
- Design it to be shared.
Your brand story doesn’t need to be a blockbuster, big-screen event to be successful. It only needs to be authentic to your WHY and vision to really resonate with customers and serve as the engagement foundation for your business. If you still need help drawing from your own experiences to create an inspirational brand story, let Awareness Branding & Consulting help! Take advantage of our FREE consultation to help get your creative brand story juices flowing.