When you were little, hopefully, at some point, someone took you aside and read you some stories. These little snippets of text on a page, accompanied by colourful pictures and depicting fantastical creatures would have been the fuel for your imagination growing up. Now that we’re older however, storytelling isn’t something we’ve outgrown. In fact, brand storytelling is still one of the most important tactics in a content marketing strategy. Brands who tell stories take their customers on journeys and connect with them at a personal level – just like you connected with your favourite heroes and villains in the stories you read as a child, so naturally it an extremely valuable practice.
There’s no doubt that effective story telling is an art – and one which some brands do brilliantly. If you’re trying to give your brand a voice and grow your audience, storytelling could be the way to do it. However, there are a few pitfalls to watch out for which can easily turn your story into a nightmare:
Be authentic. If you want your brand story to be heard, to be convincing and to be shared, you need to be 100% honest about who you are and what you stand for. There’s no room for anything other than total transparency, and these days people can spot a fake a mile away. The damage it could cause to your brand if you were found out could be catastrophic, so it’s just not worth the risk.
Don’t push the sales pitch. A brand story isn’t a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, and telling this story isn’t about closing the sale there and then. You want your story to catch people’s attention certainly, but over time as your story develops this engaged audience will be there with you on the journey, sharing and engaging and helping you grow.
It needs to be engaging enough to share. The best way to handle this potential pitfall is to know your audience and what they care about. For this reason, influencers (genuine ones) are a fantastic asset for companies when they need to share the word about their work. Influencers who perfectly align with your company’s core brands and values, and who have already amassed their own loyal following of like-minded individuals, are a great way to share your story.
Now that you know what to do (and what not to), how should you go about it? Think about the theme of your story – what will it be? What’s your quest that makes you different? Is there a personal experience which gave you the idea to start the company in the first place? Perhaps you spotted an injustice you thought deserved to be corrected? Find out what is it that makes you, you – and then share it.
Where and how will you share your story? Ideally, this should be ingrained in company culture and therefore come naturally to everyone in the company, so it can be shared on every platform – from when your CEO next speaks at an event, to the social channels you use, to the marketing materials you produce. Everything in synergy is the only way to retain your authenticity and prove to people this is real, and not a fad.
The perfect balance of a story that delivers results is finding the crucial balance between the emotional side of the brain, and the scientific side. Start with an emotional hook and people will be more likely to see your story through to the end.
Your customers want to hear your story – are you ready to tell it to them?