storytelling

Brand Storytelling: Why It Still Matters

once-upon-a-brand“Storytellers, by the very act of telling, communicate a radical learning that changes lives and the world: telling stories is a universally accessible means through which people make meaning.” – Chris Cavanaugh

With almost two decades in the marketing business, I believe that storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to add life and character into your brand. Capturing and sharing stories gives your brand and identity (it’s also a great content marketing approach!) that takes your target audience on a journey where they can find a personal connection with your brand.

The goal of storytelling is to increase your consumer’s emotional involvement in your brand by being well integrated into their daily online and offline lives. Although the idea of brand storytelling isn’t a new one, the emergence of digital media, content marketing, and social media, has presented opportunities for brands to share their tales in a strategic way.

What is a brand story?

A brand story is far more than a narrative with branded content. Everything you do tells part of your brand story. From the colours you use and the staff you hire, to the texture of your business cards and what your tagline is, each element should convey a truth about your brand to your intended audience.

Your brand story should be authentic, creative, and inspirational, and go beyond what’s written on your website and in your brochure. I tell my clients all the time that their story is not only what you tell people, but also what they perceive you to be, based on the messages your brand sends.

Speak the truth with some personality.

Try to keep in mind honesty and transparency are important when crafting your brand story. Your story should be rooted in the reality of your brand, industry, products, and services, and should follow the three primary steps of brand building: consistency, persistence, and restraint. If your stories are inconsistent, they will complicate things for your customers, which will set them off in search of another brand that meets their expectations. Be creative and keep your brand promise in mind.

Remember – brand stories are not marketing materials, advertisements or sales pitches. Exciting brand stories, full of personality, will attract and retain potential customers!

Create characters your audience will identify with.

Emotional branding has great potential to drive revenue and keep customers coming back. Since brands are a matter of perception, how a person feels about your brand typically determines whether or not they will buy your product.

When you tell a story that represents human challenges and triumphs, you create an experience that resonates with potential and existing consumers. Creating well-crafted characters that your audience will like and root for will deepen the bond customers have with your brand, and as a result, increase brand loyalty.

Why should you tell your brand’s story?

Without a brand story you are just another commodity with no way to distinguish your brand or business. However, creating a brand story isn’t all about getting noticed – it’s about building something people can care about and buy into. Frame your brand’s weaknesses, dictate your brand’s strengths, and help customers think beyond the usefulness and functionality of your products or services.

If I can leave you with one final thought – a potential customer’s relationship with your brand most likely begins before they buy your products and/or services (those are only part of the story). Your brand story is the foundation of your brand, and a strategy for future growth.

Does your business have a brand story? Share your brand stories with me and tell me how they have helped you reach success.

Emotions are High with Online Advertising

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Last month, I shared an infographic about how Cutting through the informational overload with effective storytelling helps SMB owners make an emotional connection to their consumers by making their brand more memorable to your target audience.

One of the takeaways from this infographic was that statistically “everybody wants multimedia”, and multimedia is a great way to tell a story. But as we all know, video can be expensive, particularly when buying air time, so where better to advertise your multimedia… online of course, where you don’t need 30-second spots.

That means there is an opportunity to show more rich advertising. A great example of this type of advertising is the British Airways 5-minute film online film, promoted with shorter-form ads in other media, entitled A Ticket to Visit Mum. The airline had analyzed 1,400 routes and found too many empty seats on its New York-Mumbai offerings. A traditional solution might have been a seat sale, or touting its vegetarian meal. But the airline thought it needed to connect in a deeper way.

It surprised a real-life Indian mother who had a typical story – a son making a life for himself in the U.S. – with a visit from her son. Following the campaign, sales are up roughly 50 per cent on that route.

Research has shown that there is a direct link between the likeability of an advertisement and purchase intent, said Peter Murray, a New York-based consultant and PhD in consumer psychology with expertise in the role of emotion in marketing.  “There is an emotional imprinting, if you will, on the brand,” he said. “…People are attracted to brands we like just as we’re drawn to people we like.”

But there is another big reason why emotional marketing works with our brains: aside from all the sharing, all the online clicks, the most important thing for advertisers is to make consumers remember them.

“Our minds primarily work as storytelling machines,” Dr. Murray said. “We don’t remember things as facts, we remember things as stories. … That’s why emotion is potentially a very powerful vehicle.”

What do you think of this ad?  Can you relate? Have you considered telling your story with an emotional video story? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.

Cut Through Information Overload With Effective Storytelling (infographic)

Did you know that on average, it’s estimated that people see 5,000 marketing messages per day?  This means getting your message heard is a very challenging task indeed.

As SMB owners, building brand recognition takes time and dedication, and what this infographic from LookBookHQ & Beutler Ink indicates is that there’s no better way to do this than with a story!

An effective story not only cuts through the noise that every day advertisements deliver, but it also makes your brand more memorable to your target audience.  This infographic discusses how you can make your brand stand out with effective story telling.

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While the infographic says it is for B2B marketing, the lessons learned from it apply to all audiences. The art of storytelling can be tricky, but learning to tell a compelling story is the foundation for building strong social relationships and, more importantly, brand recognition and advocacy.

Do you try to tell a story when you talk about your brand? Have you had success or failure when trying to tie a compelling story about your SMB? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.