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Branding and the Art of Storytelling

Most of us wonder how we can get more customers interested in our business.

If you find yourself asking, “Why don’t people understand my business and its value? Why can’t I attract clients?” the fault is probably not your product or service but in your branding.

What is Branding?

One of the key elements in developing a successful brand is connecting your product or service with a moving story. When you tell a story that people can relate to, they experience a powerful emotional connection which encourages them to choose your company over others and makes your brand stand out.

While it may sound counter-intuitive, the key to successful branding is to stop thinking like a marketer. Don’t just turn to big data to try to sell your product or service. Focus on developing real connections with your human customers.

Adweek reports that big brands are using stories about making the world a better place to sell their products

Tell them a Story?

Your story should connect your brand with what your customers want.

Ask yourself one simple question: “Why should real people care what my company has to offer?”

Persuade them into choosing you by making emotional and logical appeals. Make your business the hero of the story helping your customers defeat a villainous problem. Their happy ending comes from choosing you and having you successfully solve their issue.

Inspirations For a Good Story

The best stories come from our most basic emotions: love, hate, jealousy, passion, friendship. Romeo and Juliet are popular because people connect to star-crossed lovers. From Greek mythology to Biblical stories, your brand can hook into people’s fantasies for success, money, immortality, freedom, youth, and unlimited power. Fairy tales and superheroes are great inspiration for branding stories. Can your product turn a customer from rags to riches in a Cinderella inspired story? Can your services make your customers feel like superheroes, stronger and faster than ordinary people?

You can appeal to reason by using philosophical ideas: equality, unity, intelligence, and competition. A great brand can leverage these ideas to create its own philosophy. Who could forget Apple’s iconic ad based on Orwell’s 1984 which turned computer buyers into rebels fighting an oppressive regime?

In a more recent example, Skype is much more than a platform for people to converse quickly, they understand their real value is in the human connections and how they affect people’s day-to-day lives so they used storytelling to show how its products lead to human relationships by playing on the emotional way their services have connected their customers to each other.

How to Write Brand Stories That Build Emotional Connections

Every good story follows a simple structure that you will likely remember from school. Stories need a clear beginning, middle, and end.

  1. A strong beginning defines our hero: what are the qualities that make this person special and what is the situation that he or she will need to overcome? Picture your ideal customer – what do they want and what is preventing them from getting it?
  2. The middle defines the obstacles our hero faces and the ways they can be overcome (in branding, remember you are helping solve problems). Outline the customer’s problems and show how each problem can be overcome using your product or service.
  3. The story ends with triumph where you clearly show how your product or service has allowed the hero to achieve his goals. Ask yourself – what are the benefits for my hero (customer) if they choose my product/service? How has your product/service helped your customers become the best they can possibly be? So what’s your story? Who are its heroes and what obstacles/villains do they need to overcome? How can you help in a unique and interesting way?

A successful storytelling campaign gains reach and awareness for your company, which is a necessary step in transforming your product/service to a successful brand that people will connect with on a deep intellectual and emotional level. Communicate your reason for doing what you do, your passion for overcoming this obstacle, and why your product/service should be trusted above others.

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