January 9, 2017
How do you tell a brand story that strikes an emotional chord with your customers?
Say you remove your logo from a piece of content; would your customers still know your brand created the content? Would they feel anything and be proud of their associations with your brand?
Telling an emotional brand story is the key to building a loyal fan base for your products. The kind of fan base that starts camping outside your stores five days before you release a new product.
A brand story is more than a narrative. You simply can’t tell people who you are or what good your product is to their existence. You need to tell stories that people find relatable and memorable; stories that connect with them on an emotional level and accentuate your common interests and shared aspirations.
One company that effectively does this is The Honest Company. By leveraging on Jessica Alba’s own struggle to find chemical-free baby products, they have, through the power of effective storytelling, connected with moms who face a similar challenge. It’s no surprise the company sells more products with a story than it could have using a flashy headline.
Brand stories like that of The Honest Company lower the inhibitions of customers and make them more open to your messaging. Consumers are bound to disengage if a brand only uses selling language and behavior.
How can you tell your brand story in the voice of your customers?
A great brand story is a gift that never stops giving. However, crafting such a story that is memorable and easily recognizable among a brand’s customers goes beyond copy, a video, a brochure, or a presentation.
Every element should reflect a shared purpose and interest; from the texture of your packaging and business cards to the staff you hire.
Read on to find a few actionable tips to get you started:
1. Look to Your Roots
Consider how the origins of your business relate to the background of your customers. Tell your story in a way that reflects your customers’ experiences, interests and aspirations. As an example, let’s look at Vineyard Vines, a company started by Shep and Ian to promote a relaxed Martha’s Vineyard lifestyle and give people the clothes to live it in.
Vineyard Vines, by telling a story that is fun, positive, inoffensive, and appealing to a wide range of individuals who also think that “Every Day Should Feel This Good,” has successfully placed itself in the market as a luxury, leisure-driven clothing brand.
2. Make It Shareable
Strong brand stories have an undeniable pass-along rate. Letting your customers feature prominently in your brand story by empowering them with brand collaterals they can use (think Starbucks’ cups and Vineyard Vines’ pink whale logo) will significantly improve their buy-in and also drive positive conversations around your brand.
Brands that let their consumers co-create (say via social media) are successful because they know that consumers’ investment will drive sales. Give your buyers a hashtag, sticker, or a way to represent your brand’s story and core values, and they will be proud align themselves with your brand.
3. Keep It Positive
As humans, we want to spend quality time with loved ones, achieve success in our careers and have a true sense of fulfillment in life. As a brand, you need to create a compelling story that makes consumers perceive your product as directly bringing them closer to these goals. That way, your marketing is sure to have a strong effect.
Even though it may seem shallow, appealing to a consumer’s idealized sense of self is an effective way to bolster your brand message and use the consumer’s imagination to your advantage.
4. Always Stay on Brand
Does your messaging pass the Logo Test? If you were to remove your logo from a piece of content, would your customers still recognize your brand’s voice and tone? Every message you produce should have some essence of your brand story. It also has to be recognizable to your customers.
For a brand story to achieve its goal, it has to be symbolic and representative of what you stand for as a brand. The signals you send about not just what you do and how well you do it, but also about what you stand for, build the complete picture of your brand.
Brand stories that resonate with customers are typically those that draw on emotions; those that find commonalities between your brand’s purpose and those of the consumers.
Blake Mycoskie, while traveling in Argentina in 2006, “witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes.” Rather than pretend like it’s nothing, he created “a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need. One for One.”
Today, that company has given more than 60 million pairs of shoes to kids in 70 countries. And it proudly says on its website that, “Since 2006, people like you (customers) have helped us achieve this amazing number…”
The story is about ‘TOMS’ purpose of making sure everyone has a pair of shoes to wear; one its customers completely buy into.
If you ask me why the brand is successful, that’s it right there: its emotional brand story.
Gbenga Joseph Sogbaike is a content marketing specialist and co-founder at www.timeandink.com. He helps businesses across different verticals create Web content that engages readers and attracts new clients. Joseph is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Glassdoor.com. You can connect with him on Twitter - @gbengasogbaike or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.