In today’s fast-paced, overly-automated, and digitally-driven society, humanity is becoming the new premium. The internet constantly rewards us with convenience and instant gratification, making the human touch increasingly more scarce and coveted.
In this environment, businesses can no longer afford to be faceless entities. To survive, businesses need to connect with audiences, pull at their heartstrings, and engage with them on a much deeper level than seen before. That’s where brand storytelling comes in.
Brand storytelling is the cohesive narrative that weaves together the facts and emotions that your brand evokes. In addition to giving your customers reasons why they should buy a product or service, businesses need to start sharing the story behind their brand, why it exists, and why this matters, consistently across all communication.
Brand storytelling is no longer a nice to have. It is a need to have, and what will ultimately maximize your business’s visibility, profit, and impact. Treat it as a compass for your marketing strategy, and the result will be a brand that is as profitable as it is captivating.
In a sea of sameness, be unforgettable.
It’s a crowded marketplace out there: there are tens of millions of content being created, and even more being shared every day. Businesses are spending billions of dollars worldwide fighting for seconds of attention from audiences that are being bombarded with similar messaging. The internet has democratized marketing by making it accessible, but in the midst of this, it’s also made it very difficult for quality brands to stand out.
It’s not enough to have a quality product or service, you need to know how to talk about it in a way that differentiates you from the crowd. That’s why brand storytelling is so important.
Instead of throwing facts, statistics, and testimonials at your audience, focus on making your brand thoughtful, memorable, and real. Wrap your message into a story that transports people, simplifies information, and provokes an emotional response. Use narrative to share your brand’s history, challenges, successes, and value propositions -- no other brand can copy YOUR story.
Storytelling will not only increase your brand favorability in your audience’s eyes, it can also be up to 22 times more memorable than facts.
Ask yourself: what do you want to be remembered for? What is the message you want to transmit to your audience, and what do you never want them to forget? Consider the emotion you want to evoke in your audience every time they interact with your brand. Your audience may forget what you say, but they will not forget how you made them feel (which is important because emotions drive purchase more than logic.
More than customers, build a tribe
When crafting your messaging, think about what your audiences truly need from you (in addition to a product or service).
Take Apple, for example. They sell technology, but from the beginning, their audience needed to feel that it was okay (and even encouraged) to be brave, bold, and think differently from the crowd. Tesla’s customers need to feel that it’s worthwhile to support the environment and sustainable energy.
For a brand to take off, it needs to become so much more than your product and service -- and that’s where storytelling comes in. Think about what emotions, values, and ideas you can offer your audience. What do you want them to walk away feeling when they interact with you? What sort of value are you offering them every time they engage with your content? What does your brand mean to them, beyond what you’re selling?
Use your story to create a deep emotional connection: start conversations, ask for engagement (no strings attached), involve your audience in what you do as a business. Turn your brand into an experience they can consume -- that’s what will turn customers who pay for your product/services because they need to fix a problem into a rabid tribe that will support your success, follow along, be loyal, and comes back for more.
Once your audience knows, trusts, and likes you, they will more likely buy from you. At the very least, you’ll have created relationships with people who will become advocates for years to come.
Be profitable and human
A brand story can do so much more than connect you with your ideal audience, get you noticed in the noise of your competitors’ messaging, and drive profits -- it also has the potential to create major impact.
In today’s day and age, marketing is no longer the key competitive differentiator. Consumers are increasingly demanding for companies to prove how their efforts are making an impact, supporting a cause, and achieving results beyond just profit. Ironically, knowing that a company cares about something other than their own profit is the incentive that consumers need to buy more.
Your mission matters. A desire to “change the world” is no longer cliche so long as brands are actually acting according to their values (currently, only 10% of organizations are doing this), and consumers gravitate towards brands that feel more human. It’s no coincidence that the top 10 most empathetic companies in the Global Empathy Index are amongst the most profitable and fastest growing in the world.
So, how to make your brand more human? Storytelling -- the most ancient and powerful tool for effective education. We are genetically wired to love and respond to stories, and a memorable brand story is exactly what people need to feel connected to your business, have a lasting positive impression of who you are and what you stand for, and become loyal clients.
When creating your marketing strategy, don’t forget about the bigger story: what makes you human? How do you touch and transform people’s lives? How do you put a positive dent in society? In short, does your brand have a soul?
People will feel this, and not only that, they will buy from you before they buy from a competitor who offers a similar product or service. In a crowded marketplace where everyone is focused on doing things faster, more efficiently, and automated, be the brand who dares to be human. Show your customers that you care even if it means (gasp!) slowing down or doing things differently.
These are the brands that stand out and, ultimately, turn into a legacy.
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