What’s your brand story? Unlock the power of brand storytelling

Everyone loves a great story. Especially marketers who know that sharing a clear message in an engaging way is the key to a successful sale.

That’s right, it may seem like band stories are a Holy Grail of marketing. 

The truth is, stories are one of the most effective ways to improve awareness. But it goes way beyond that. Let’s take a look at the reasons why you should implement storytelling in your strategy and how to do that!

Top 3 reasons why you should use brand storytelling

Stories engage our brain in multiple ways. They help it to absorb important information while creating connections between what we’re reading and our past experiences. In fact, listening to or reading a story is a multisensory experience. Stories not only tap into your emotions, but they can also activate your sight, smell, touch, and even taste.

In general though, they have the power to:

1. Make your audience feel something

Stories have the power to influence moods. For instance, reading an uplifting story makes the brain release dopamine, the hormone of happiness. The opposite is true for tragic or sad stories. You can make your audience feel whatever you want them to feel, which is the reason why this has been such a successful marketing tool.

The science behind telling a story is more powerful than you’d think. Emotions improve our ability to memorize information, making  it easier for our brains to store and retrieve data!

Same as your brain can remember a taste of something when you think of a certain meal, it can also make you feel a certain way when you think of a person…or a brand.

2. Make your content 22x more memorable

Let’s be honest: Creating content can be expensive, so you want people to remember them for as long as they can. Luckily, experiencing emotions makes our brain think whatever we’re perceiving is important. And what is important is also remembered.

Just look at this selection of 10 Best Super Bowl Commercials. Whether they’re selling a car, beauty products, or a beverage, the story is what makes them funny, engaging, and ultimately memorable enough for you to think about purchasing the product.

But brand stories can make us remember in more ways than that.

The ability to release oxytocin into the body, resulting in more trustworthy, generous, charitable, and compassionate perception. Read more about the study here.

On top of that, stories (and their characters) have the power to motivate/inspire us, ultimately resulting in a memorable experience.

3. Turn lurkers into lifelong fans

Telling relevant and engaging stories instead of just laying out the facts helps your audience believe in what you’re saying. Stories create a bridge between an abstract concept and a real-life relatable situation.

If you can make your customer relate to what you’re saying, you can help them imagine themselves in the same situation, you’ve achieved the ultimate goal of storytelling.

Stories can also help you build the know, like, and trust factor, triggering a sense of connection that keeps them coming for more. Eventually, your audience will associate your brand with your desired feeling, which increases awareness and recall.

Simply put: Stories connect you with your people. 

Google’s Super Bowl 2020 ad, called “Loretta,” told the true story of an elderly man remembering his late wife with the help of Google’s services. One marketing expert called it the “ad that won the Super Bowl.”

A well-crafted story, if positioned for maximum effect, can literally be life-changing. Just think about the books and films that have influenced your life choices and transformed how you see the world around you. Applying that concept can transform your business: You get to control your audience’s perception and reaction to your brand by taking the reins of your story.

Storytelling is not just a fake marketing tactic

Storytelling is a tool that helps you convey a message in a memorable way. And while yes, the overall goal of your business is to make a sale, stories are just a tool that help you connect with the reader on a deeper level. They help you to paint a picture and to describe facts in a way that makes people listen. They should still be authentic and truthful to your brand.

A few examples for you:

For instance, Starbucks clearly communicated its history, values, and mission in 3 paragraphs. It’s clear in the copy that the chain is proud of its Seattle roots and American seafaring heritage, at the same time letting the reader know that it’s the world’s most successful chain of coffeehouses.

Harley-Davidson also cultivated a fiercely loyal base with its distinct brand story. The company embraced its association with outlaw culture, making the brand a symbol of freedom and excitement. The motorcycle manufacturer’s brand story has become so iconic that they only spend 1 million dollars on advertising every year.

Your brand has more than just one story

Every brand has its main story. It’s your overall story of how your brand came to be. It’s a story that shares pieces of your purpose, your values, the problems you see your audience facing and why you believe you can help them overcome them. This is a piece of content you should place on your website’s about page and play on repeat on your social media/in marketing.

Use this guide to translate your experiences into stories you can use for your brand. You could write your narrative in increments, or you could finish your story in one go. It all depends on your writing style.

  • Personal background: Your hometown, family, formative years, or accomplishments. Think of anecdotes that you could use in a future story. Did someone in your circle influence your choices? Can you trace your life story to a pivotal moment?
  • Professional background: Your educational background, old bosses or mentors, job experience. What is the professional foundation of your success story? How did your business start?
  • Sources of inspiration: Many people model themselves after their heroes or mentors. Talk about the people who helped you in your career or the works that have influenced your unique perspective on life and business.
  • Traits and experiences: Identify the personality traits that made you the person you are today. How did you discover those traits? Were they innate, or were they borne out of the experience?
  • Hobbies and passions: Talk about your fun side. Do you have any hobbies or passions? What do you do in your spare time?
  • Core values: Every person is guided by an internal compass. What are your core values, and how have they influenced your actions? What’s the story behind what you believe in?

However, while each brand has an overall message to share, therefore a main story to tell, each piece of content you put out there can be shaped as a little story.

How to use the power of storytelling in action

When writing stories, start with identifying at least 5 emotions your brand wants to evoke in your audience and make sure one or more of these emotions are always present in the narrative.

Storytelling can come hard to you when writing, which is why it can be helpful to follow one of several proven techniques.

1. Give your story a beginning, a middle and an end

  • Beginning = Problem – introduce them to the problem are you here to solve and why it matters
  • Middlev = Solution – tell them what your approach to the solution is and why you feel passionate about it
  • The End = Success – make them excited about the results

2. Storybrand technique

A bit more extensive and very popular storytelling technique was developed by Donald Miller and his StoryBrand Marketing Agency. It’s based on the principle that your audience cares about themselves and not you, therefore the story is crafted in the way that introduces YOUR brand as part of THEIR story/narrative.

  • A Character (Hero/The Customer)…
  • Has a Problem (Pain Points)…
  • And Meets a Guide…(You/Your Brand)
  • Who Gives Them a Plan… (The Solution)
  • And Calls Them to Action…
  • That Ends in Success…
  • And Helps Them Avoid Failure.

How to know what story is worth sharing?

Whatever your niche, your brand stories should be accessible and relatable. You might feel the need to explain every detail of your background, but you risk losing your audience if your story is too convoluted.

When brainstorming stories, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you think this story can help others? 
  • Is there a point you’re trying to make? 
  • Is there a lesson to be learned?
  • Is the story making sense, or does it need more work/polishing?

    Ready to write some stories?

    Even professional writers find it difficult to find the perfect words for a story, so it’s perfectly understandable if you hit a few stumbling blocks while crafting your own. The storytelling process differs from person to person, and there’s no one set method for writing meaningful stories that will resonate with your audience. 

    The only way to craft a powerful story is to get to writing it.
    That’s why I prepared these writing prompts!

    P.S. Next time you’re trying to come up with the perfect Instagram content, come back to these story prompts and write some caption full of powerful storytelling 😉

    👉  Write your orgin story

    • You weren’t always “successful.” You were living your ordinary life, dreaming of the person you are now.
    • Identify the steps you took to get to where you are. What bumps did you have to go through? What challenges did you need to overcome? What were your failures, your wins, and the experiences you went through?
    • Craft the story that shows where you were and what steps you needed to take to get to where you are now.

    👉  Write your “Why” story

    • People love to know your reasons for starting your business, your passions, and the reasons why you get out of bed every morning.
    • Think about the things that drive you on a daily basis. What are your motivations? Are they rooted in your past experiences or the desire for a better future?
    • Your “Why” story doesn’t just explain your origins. You want your audience to understand the underlying forces behind your brand.

    👉  Write your “Little Wins” story

    • Success doesn’t happen overnight. Write a story about how every “little win” added up to the success you are today. Take this opportunity to share a few moments in your entrepreneurial career that led to more doors opening for you and your business.
    • Unlike an origin story or a “Why” story, a “Little Wins” story represents a snapshot of your overall brand narrative. But you can make the small moments more meaningful by connecting them to the bigger picture: the growth of your business.

    👉  Write your “Biggest Mistakes” story

    • One common mistake many entrepreneurs make is only showing the positive side of your brand story. People often find perfection improbable and untrustworthy, and talking about your “Biggest Mistakes” makes your brand more relatable.
    • Think of a time when your mistakes affected the brand. I’m not saying you need to write a tell-all expose. You want to show your audience that the brand is what it is today because of that pivotal incident and your response to it.

    👉  Write your values story

    • Many of the world’s most beloved brands are driven by a core set of values. Your job is to tell your audience what you believe in. While history tells a lot about your brand’s origins, values show the way forward.
    • Identify your core values or tenets and explain why you believe in them. Show how each value is expressed in your brand.

    👉  Case studies of your clients

    • You can’t expect your audience to believe everything you say. There will always be people who are skeptical of what you have achieved and what you are capable of. One of the most effective ways to refute them is to share customer success stories.
    • Don’t forget to ask your clients if they would be willing to share their experiences with your brand. Writing without their consent could lead to a loss of trust.
    • Consent isn’t a blanket permission to share everything about your clients. Be mindful of the information you include in the story, and involve the clients in the process.

    👉  Write “Behind the Scenes” stories

    • A “Behind the Scenes” story offers your clients a glimpse of the inner workings of your brand. An unguarded look into the backstage experience shows that you’re not afraid to be vulnerable.
    • It could be a snippet of what makes your business work (e.g., how your products are made, the run-up to a product launch).

    👉  Write your “What/Who Inspires Me” Story

    • Whose work do you admire? Do you have a mentor?
    • The idea is to build a connection between your brand and the people you look up to. Even if there’s no direct association, you want your audience to know the people who have guided your actions.
    • Personality-driven brands stand to benefit from this kind of story as people in your niche might already be familiar with your mentor or hero. You don’t have to explain their backstory since it’s already in the public domain.

    For more tips on building a personality-driven brand that you’re dying to share with others, follow me on Instagram.

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    What\'s your brand story? Unlock the power of brand storytelling

    Zuzana Zapletal

    Brand Strategist, Creative Designer & Recovering Perfectionist on a mission to help you become more confident about your brand.

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