“What’s your brand’s story?” You’ve certainly heard this questions before. It’s one of the first questions you must answer when branding your company. But if this question makes you panic a little every time you’re asked, you’re not alone.
Storytelling is among the most important aspects of branding. But when it comes to trying to explain exactly what is required in a brand’s storytelling, most people find that it’s hard to describe, saying that they’ll know it when they see it.
Your brand’s story is often what people remember when they think of it. They might not remember the brand name right off the bat, or its colors or logo, but they will often remember a good brand story.
Storytelling opportunities are everywhere. They’re not just your web copy or your marketing photography, they’re also part of your customer service and all your content, including newsletters or email marketing. Storytelling is also an important aspect of the word-of-mouth surrounding your brand, including how your brand is talked about in reviews, on niche forums, in the news and media, and in referrals.
This is why it’s crucial to have a coherent story. Customers don’t give you a lot of leeway or patience to develop what you’re saying. You need to get your point across right away. And, it is the same as with traditional storytelling, it’s best to show not tell. This means that individuals don’t want you to outright tell them that you’re, for example, a family-oriented company or that you’re a luxury brand. Instead they want you to succinctly and skillfully show them that in every step of your branding.
Are We Talking About Your Company History?
You might initially think that your branding story needs to be your company history or founding story. While these can certainly play a part in your branding, they most often aren’t enough to carry the full branding story, because they won’t include a call to action or an interactive element.
How Does it Convey What You Stand for?
Storytelling helps to show your company’s meaning, values, and how it’s a part of a larger world. Your branding story defines how your business interacts with other companies and brands.
As you reel in interested individuals, it’s crucial for you to fit into a bigger picture, whether you are a supplier, such as a retailer who sells products, a reviewer that has the clients’ best experience at the heart of their service, a service either local or nations, in person or digital, or a connecter who brings different aspects of the business network together. Companies are always fitting into parts of the process, and individuals recognize and embrace this. Your storytelling should make it clear how you perform a meaningful part of the process.
Additionally, storytelling is how you state your meaning and values in a way that doesn’t make your company appear preachy, overly heavy-handed, or even judgmental. You are essentially embedding the details for customers to understand through appeal and cultural coding.
Is it Formal, Casual, Colloquial, or Cryptic?
Stories appeal to our ability for empathy, and they ask viewers to place their own minds and mentalities into the story. Brands do this too. You want your ideal customer, client, or demographic to be able to see themselves, their needs, and their lifestyle in your marketing.
This puts a premium on the tone of the marketing to attract and communicate to its ideal demographic. The copy that you incorporate into your graphic design, visual media, and brand colors also needs to be conscious of its voice, including language and style.
Most people, when they sit down to write, will have a very formal tone, since this is a part of how many people think of writing. Formal tones will be more suitable to a business setting. However, a more casual tone will make it easier to hook a wider range of people.
Hooking a niche relies on using language that homes in on and reaches your specific niche. If you’re marketing as a local company, it’s helpful to use local diction. If your marketing is cryptic, be aware that only a certain kind of person will seek out more information. If this works with your niche and the demographic that you’re trying to hook, then it can be a good tactic. Similarly, specific slang will locate you in a specific demographic and narrow your pool. This can be a great way to hook your niche, but it can also limit the reach of your brand story.
While you work on your story, don’t be afraid of being innovative. You don’t have to operate merely within the existing lingo of a niche. In many niche situations, individuals will have grown blasé to their own lingo and the typical stories proliferating the niche. If your brand is able to expand the storytelling in the niche, you can capture intrigue that will make yours a brand that people won’t just visit once but will avidly watch.
Can You Make it Interactive?
Many individuals enjoy having a part in building and participating in your brand story. Interactive storytelling increases engagement and can even challenge individuals to become a part of the brand story.
Interactivity can be either a psychological or an active part of storytelling, and some of the most successful brands implement both. The psychological aspect goes back to what we were saying about empathy. Individuals see the brand as responding to their needs. They feel like it is directly addressing them. They might imagine themselves as a main character of the brand’s story. This is often the appeal of lifestyle branding. It can bring people in, celebrate their choices, their persona, and the use of certain brands.
On the more interactive ends, brands will work to engage their audience through participating in the storytelling. Brands ask individuals to use social media hashtags, to participate in competitions, to contribute to their content, and to vote on the direction in which their brand should be going. These are all ways to make brand storytelling more interactive.
Good brand storytelling can let an individual know all the appeal of your brand in a few short seconds. They can read your copy, observe your images, products, and services, read reviews, and quickly surmise the cohesive and ideally memorable story that your brand has to offer. Ultimately, storytelling is about making choices, so try it out, get specific, and don’t be afraid to make and toss aside drafts until you’re heading in the right direction.