Good stories engage. The setting, characters and plot intrigue you, pull you in and make you relate. When you recall these stories later, it is not the characters or text that you remember.
It is what your felt during that time.
This is the essence of brand storytelling. Tapping into emotions in ways that make customers relate to your brand.
Successful brands know that it is not products and services themselves that engage customers; it’s when they realize why they should that matters.
With these thoughts in mind, let’s see how storytelling can help you promote your brand.
Focus on making it Memorable
Oftentimes, the most memorable brands are those that tell stories that leave a deep impression. The reason why is based on simple psychology. We are primed to relate to stores from a very early age. Even as adults, we are drawn to experiences that excite us and make us ponder.
Exciting stories also make it easy for storytellers to pass their message.
To me, this makes sense. Growing up, the teachers I still remember are those who started each lesson with a story and later related their narratives to what I was supposed to learn that day. These moments kept me hooked. As a result, I had a better time retaining these lessons.
Brands have been using memorable stories to engage audiences for decades. In 1999, Nike created a commercial that commemorated the rise of Michael Jordan. The advertisement featured an image of the basketball star when he was a kid, an image that people could emotionally connect with.
To make your brand memorable, base your story on anything that triggers an emotional response from your audience.
Make it more about your audience
Before storytelling became a thing, brands focused on selling their products as opposed to actually telling audiences what was in it for them. It worked for the most part. Plaster your product on newspaper ads with a peppy copy of details, add a discount or two, and boom; your marketing campaign was successful.
Now, when product info, and reviews about them are available with a few taps on a Smartphone, brand perception is a lot different. People already know what you sell. They already know who you are.
What they don’t know, but want to, is whether you care about them. What else do you have to offer besides what makes YOU money?
Today, brands have made it a practice to make campaigns that focus on their audience. To illustrate, consider Nike whose target audience is athletes, so it bases its stories on how sports make people feel on a human level. Another example is the Lego toy company which launched a “Lets Build” ad which featured a father and son bonding while playing with Lego blocks.
To make your stories engage, focus on how you can use your audience in it. Find out how they would use your products and capitalize on the possible emotional takeaways during their experience.
Add lessons to make it relatable
Great stories leave us with valuable lessons that are perfectly applicable in real life. Even fictional stories about knights fighting dragons can teach kids about being brave in the face of adversity.
Brands that have lessons in their stories connect with consumers on a much deeper level. It’s like saying they want to sell you something but since they care about you more, they will focus on what matters the most to you for the moment.
It’s an incredibly successful marketing strategy, for two reasons; it makes more people notice your brand and makes them perceive you positively.
Consider Weight Watchers, which uses its “Awaken your Incredible” campaign to connect with audiences by tapping into the reasons why they diet. It doesn’t really focus on its core selling point, weight loss. Rather it teaches them a lesson on something that is related to it; the value of being better versions of themselves.
A few words of wisdom make a ton of difference to someone’s life. To make more people tune into your brand’s message, incorporate lessons in your stories and make them relatable.
Make it relate to your products
In the end, it’s the sale of products that drives revenue. Sure, stories that focus on audiences themselves will make you get noticed and expand the demographics you can market to later.
But eventually, you might need to follow this up with campaigns that encourage people to actually buy what you offer.
In other words, it should also have a call to action.
Some brands use this strategy to attune consumers to their products. Take Coca Cola for example, which used the power of individual storytelling in one of its campaign to encourage more consumers to buy its beverage. The name of the campaign “Share a Coke” was the call to action that required people to buy bottles of Coke with their names on it to share with friends and post photos of themselves drinking from them on social media.
The campaign was pretty successful. It increased Coke consumption by up to two percent during the year of its release and more than 500,000 images were shared using the #ShareaCoke hashtag.
- Focus on making an impression to make your stories memorable;
- Focus on what might resonate with your target audience;
- Add lessons in your stories to make your brand relatable;
- Don’t forget that selling your products should be a focus too.
Stories excite and inspire us. They make us keep turning the pages, eager to find out what happens next and anticipate what is to come. Narrating your brand’s story just right can get you the same reaction from your audience.