Brand Storytelling: A How-to Guide
January 13th 2018 | By Sarah McInerney
At the end of 2017, we analysed the social media marketing trends that everyone needs to know in 2018. We discussed how brand storytelling was a key trend that was going to soar in importance as the New Year progresses.
Whilst storytelling is not yet widely adopted by brands, the ones that are using it are starting to really stand out and make a notable impact, which is precisely why it is essential that marketers are fully clued up.
With Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat reporting widespread use of their stories features (200 million people are using Instagram stories), it looks like it could be the beginning of the end of traditional posts on some of these platforms.
Stories allow the marketer to quickly and effectively craft content that lands straight in an audience’s eye line. They deliver so much more than a service or product, instead inviting the customer to partake in an experience that cannot be missed.
More than simply a valuable marketing asset, the brand story also forms the basis of an organisation’s values and mission. It therefore has an impact upon every part of the business.
Steps to Brand Story Telling
So, how does brand storytelling work? How exactly do we put a compelling brand story together that will help us engage with our audiences? Good question. Let’s take a look at five key steps to creating a brand story.
Step 1: Communicate the ‘Why’
People engage with brands that came about for a specific reason, especially when that reason was borne of a solution to a specific need. Everyone needs a reason ‘to be’; we all have our callings and drivers; precisely why we need to understand what brought a brand into existence.
Why did you develop your product or service? Was it in response to a problem that no one else seemed to be resolving, or wasn’t doing such a good job of getting to the bottom of? Or was it because you wanted to change or evolve something, get people doing things differently, more efficiently, economically or ecologically?
Whatever your reason for being, be sure to put that at the centre of your brand story: people will relate with it.
Step 2: Present your Founders
For your brand story to resonate, it needs to have visible founders and champions who continue to be dedicated to the development of the business. Your leaders need to demonstrate that they play an active role in the company they set up and they must also be very much present in the public eye.
Be sure to make developing the personal profiles of your company founders and key drivers an integral part of your publicity campaign and place them at the heart of your brand story.
Step 3: Show your Responsible Side
For a brand story to be successful, it needs to include an element of social responsibility. So, whatever you do to give back community wise, support good causes or foster sustainability, be sure to communicate it. These are all good stories: traditional PR if you like, incorporated into a bigger picture of your business.
Who Tells a Good Brand Story?
A few brands are doing a great job of telling their stories.
Airbnb for example started its journey by setting a challenge towards the hotel industry and completely redefining an everyday experience. It set a precedent for change in other words, providing a solution for both people who had places to rent out and those who wanted somewhere to stay that offered a unique experience without the price tag or ties of a hotel.
Beats – the headphones people – set the mission of bringing the energy, emotion and excitement of recording studio playback to the listening experience. It literally changed the face of premium sound entertainment and, with founder Dr Dre visibly fronting the brand story, the resulting celebrity following cemented the brand story in history.
Nike has always known exactly how to do brand storytelling. One of its most notable campaigns is Equality, something that has seriously taken marketing to a completely different level by forcing positive social change. Nike’s audience isn’t just considered a wearer of branded sports gear; it is part of a collective movement.
Brand storytelling is destined to bring exciting things. Whilst it may seem daunting attempting to follow in the footsteps of the great brands, the fact is, brand storytelling isn’t in the least bit complicated. In fact, it’s simply a case of sharing your journey.
If you could use some help in telling your brand story, why not talk to Figment?