Storytelling is not intended to be a tool for selling products; instead it is a method of building relations with the customers and a community of loyalists over time. It has to be designed to be a sustaining long term creative strategy rather than a one-off campaign. Your storytelling has to be empathetic, original and consistent without sacrificing the brand integrity.
In earlier times, stories were passed on by word of mouth. Good stories stood the test of time and continue being told generations over while the bad ones just got lost in the realm. However, in the era of the social media where information travels at the speed of light from every part of the world, good and the bad stories will be told (shared) over and over again, but the later more as a blot on the brand. So marketers need to be careful about the story they are going to put out. There should not at any point have the ‘ouch’ factor. So here are some good ingredients your story should have.
1) Hit a nerve
That is why we tell stories, to connect and engage with the audience at a deeper, emotional level. Apart from being genuine, fascinating or inspirational, the heartfelt ingredient is equally important for the audience to identify with the piece. A great story should hit a nerve with the audience and make them think about themselves, their own lives. Your audience should feel that they matter to your brand on a personal level.
2) Creative & Authentic
Good storytelling involves thinking out of the box. If you want to stand out in a crowd of competitors then you will have to focus on your brand’s USP and design the content around that. Make your USP the hero of the story and make it stand out. Also make your stories authentic for your audience. Trust for a brand is vital, and any hint of falseness or slyness on your part can put off the consumer forever.
3) Show not Tell
If your story can make the readers visualize what you are trying to convey, you will easily capture their attention and engage them over a longer period of time – to the point that your story may actually influence their buying perception. The elements should be weaved into the story so that the audience can experience them and decide on their own, rather than the brand telling them to. Show them how you can make a difference to their lives.
4) Use empathy
What will differentiate a brand from a commodity is the ability to connect with its customers. Empathy will get you there if generated in the right dose and the right way. Storytellers need to make sure that their content is relatable with the target consumer. For that it is crucial that you know your audience well. Your story should motivate the consumer into positive action by helping them feel things they want to feel. Putting your audience’s interest at the core of your story is the best way to make them feel connected to you and build a loyal following.
5) Make it accessible
Simple stories are the ones that linger on in the minds of the readers. Good stories are the ones that are simply told, easily understood, without the marketing jargons and gimmicks. It should speak the language and embody the values that are easily identifiable and understood globally rather than by just a set of audience. A global appeal to a simply told story will successfully convey to your audience just as well.
Do you have any more thoughts on making brand storytelling better? Let us know your stories and how you are telling them.