People don’t just buy products, they buy stories. Statistics suggest that 55% of people are more likely to buy a product if they love the story behind a brand. But what makes a compelling brand story? And why do brand stories matter in the first place?
What is a brand story?
Your brand’s story essentially offers a complete picture of who you are and why you do what you do. It should contain your company’s inception, but it should also go beyond this.
It encompasses the facts of your brand, but also the feelings created by your brand. It should be the foundation of every aspect of your content marketing. Without a brand narrative, your marketing will be typically vague and inconsistent.
Let’s take Airbnb, for example. They realised in 2014 that they needed to better articulate their own story. CEO Brian Chesky proclaimed that Airbnb is a community of individuals with shared values.
Their new mantra ‘belong anywhere,’ was inspired by the idea that their guests want to travel and explore ‘through the eyes of a local.’ These sorts of brand storytelling examples illustrate how important it is to leverage the power of community storytelling. Airbnb puts the customer at the centre of its narrative to create compelling stories.
Why does brand storytelling matter?
Brand storytelling is an art form that can be traced back to as early as 1895. This was when a farming magazine called ‘The Furrow,’ leveraged compelling brand stories as a way to connect with their target audience.
John Deere’s magazine is considered to be the first example of corporate storytelling. But since these early days, brands have continued to recognise the amazing power that stories have. Good storytelling can:
- Build emotional connections
- Promote brand personality
- Share your brand’s core values
- Keep the audience’s attention
- Set you apart from your competitors
- Build an engaging community
- Foster brand loyalty
As more people are driven to make connections online, stories are more important than ever. A lot of brands have a story to tell. But the only way to create a story that will resonate with your customers is to understand the art of storytelling.
Storytelling: back to basics
Storytelling has been part of our world since the dawn of civilisation. Some of the oldest stories that are still told today, such as the story of Aladdin, actually originated thousands of years ago.
Great stories are considered great for a number of reasons. They take you on a journey, they have relatable characters, forward momentum, an element of conflict and there is always something at stake. A good story is always:
Successful brand storytelling always has several key elements that create a compelling narrative. An authentic story will help you articulate brand messaging, brand values and your brand’s mission. Stories have the power to entertain, inform and make us feel a connection.
How to find your brand story
Telling an authentic brand story goes beyond the ‘about us’ page on your website. Instead, it’s interwoven into every aspect of communication. You’ll find that great brand stories are permeated through a brand’s social media posts, blogs, emails and website. They’re even reflected in the content created by influencers and collaborators.
So, how can you leverage the power of storytelling for your brand? Let’s start with the basics.
Define your brand
Before you can tell your story, you have to know your story. Many organisations try to tell their brand story before they understand who they are and why their audience should care. It’s much easier to tell your brand’s story when you figure out:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Who you do it for
- Why you do it
- How you do it
- Why you’re unique
Start with the basics. An essential part of any brand story will begin at the beginning. Work on identifying your brand, your brand’s purpose, and your brand’s values.
Ask yourself: what is your brand persona? Why does your brand exist in the first place? Identifying the answers to these questions will help you understand more about your brand. Once you establish your own brand’s identity, you can begin to tell your story.
Create consistent messaging
It’s important to have a clear and consistent message that emanates throughout your communication. But try to stay clear of sounding like you’re selling something. There’s an old piece of storytelling advice that could be useful here: show, don’t tell.
When you show who you are as a brand vs selling yourself, you’re relying on the imagination of the audience to fill in the blanks. A good story will have a consistent message that resonates with your audience. It’ll also help them invest in your story and establish an emotional connection with your brand.
Get to know your audience
Your brand story will impact your target customer at every stage of their buying journey. To craft a compelling story that will speak to your customers, you need to properly understand them.
Ask yourself who your customers are and why they should care about your brand. Define your buyer personas and think about the kinds of stories they want to hear. Understanding your audience is imperative to not just your brand story, but your marketing strategy as a whole.
Decide on a narrative
Now that you have the key elements to help you form a great brand story, you can decide what kind of story you’re telling. How do you want your audience to react as they read your story? Do you want them to feel entertained? Informed? Do you want them to take a specific action?
When you figure out how you want your audience to feel as they read your story, you can figure out how you’re going to tell it. A story that seems to resonate well at the moment revolves around brand values and social responsibility. In fact, 82% of shoppers want to spend money in businesses whose values align with their own, especially among Gen Z.