YOU NEED A HIGH DOSE OF BRAND STORYTELLING
We’re all in the storytelling business. Whether you’re a marketing professional at a Fortune 500 company, running a small business, fundraising for a nonprofit, or communicating on behalf of a government agency, you’re responsible for telling your brand’s story with the intention of producing a result.
Why do we tell stories? “Story is how we make sense of the world around us,” says Robert McKee, writing instructor and author of Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting. As it turns out, our brains are hardwired for comprehending stories. Plus, once we know a good story, it stays with us and is easier to share with others. Yet storytelling can be deceptively simple. As kids, we excel at it, whether it’s tall tales to friends or sharing stories by the campfire. Like so many useful childhood skills, we tend to age out of it.
Brand Storytelling is sharing a compilation of the feelings, relationships, and attributes of your brand. From idea to implementation, successful organizations strategize to build a storytelling infrastructure and take their digital audience members on a person-centric journey. Often, that journey starts when a visitor sees a post on social media and clicks through to convert on your website.
The basics: protagonist, conflict and plot.
The first question you have to answer in telling your story is who is it about? As marketers, we’re quick to think that we’re telling our own story. While your brand is certainly a factor, what you’re really telling is a story about your customer or audience. Remember that your brand is a continuing story told by both the company and its customers. Every brand is a running narrative, a story-in-progress whose hero is the customer. Now that you know who the main character is, what happens next? In classic storytelling architecture, we have our protagonist. What we need is our antagonist. What is your audience struggling with? What challenges stand in their way? Mac has the PC. Starbucks has regular ol’ drip coffee — or anything that seeks to make coffee unremarkable. Your point has a counterpoint and it’s important to paint that picture as you tell your story. Know who your main character is, what they want, what stands in their way, and how you’re going to get them from point A to point B. Connecting these dots is where the power of your brand story lies.
Focus on being helpful and relevant
Sharing unique stories is a two-way conversation, not a soapbox. Transition your content messaging tone, voice, and strategy from organization-centric to audience-centric. Good content that solves a problem, answers a question, or entertains visitors will be shared more often than boring content that is not unique. Consider the “what’s in it for the audience” angle when you prepare content. Why should a person outside your organization read, watch, or listen to your content? Your audience doesn’t care that you published new research or won a prize. They care if that research will affect their daily lives, or the prize somehow extends their access to your products or services.
Speak the language of your audience