In today’s online economy, it’s sadly not enough to be good at what you do. You also need to be memorable. For marketers and business owners who want to get ahead of the game, it’s all about embracing brand storytelling.
After all, a story is powerful. It’s how we form emotional connections with one another and the world around us. The most successful brand stories are irresistible – tapping into our natural desire for a compelling narrative. Tell it right, and the results will speak for themselves.
Why Brand Storytelling is the Next Big Thing For Online BrandsClick To Tweet
Brand Storytelling: perfect for online brands
Our brains on storytelling
Our brains are greedy for stories – far more so than facts – so if you’re in the market to make sales, you’d better be ready to bring that personal connection. As we take in stories, we also picture them in our imaginations. The experiential part of our brain lights up – so we are more likely to remember what we’re reading or hearing. And as we’ve already covered, being memorable is golden.
Humans spend a lot of time daydreaming, bouncing from one thought or feeling to the next. But narrative is strong enough to cut through these distractions to make us sit up and take notice. In this cluttered, competitive industry, isn’t that what everyone is striving to achieve?
Our brains on storytellingClick To Tweet
The importance of brand stories
A genuine, unusual story is your key to becoming memorable in a highly crowded digital world. What’s more, it will breathe human life into your brand. This authenticity is something consumers crave – and will give you a significant competitive advantage. We humans are particularly responsive to stories, preferring to buy from brands with whom we feel a connection.
It’s your job to steer your brand story in the right direction. For new businesses in the process of starting online stores, being mindful of your tone and attitude is super important right from the off – you never know what kind of subliminal messages you may be perpetuating. If in doubt, have a few neutral test subjects read your brand story through before publishing.
The importance of brand storiesClick To Tweet
Different approaches to storytelling
There are three main types of brand story that companies often use:
- The story behind your brand’s existence – Perhaps the most common approach. This type of story allows you to outline your values as an organization, so readers can discover whether your principles align with their own. Only go down this route if you actually have an interesting story to tell.
- Regular company updates – This option means you can tell an ongoing story about your company, building a connection over time and taking your readers on that journey with you. Keep these updates fun and personal – steer clear of the boring day-to-day.
- Overcoming adversity – We all love a story of someone triumphing over adversity, whether it’s Steve Jobs developing computer devices from his parents’ garage while struggling to secure funding, or Walt Disney being rejected by a Missouri newspaper for ‘not being creative enough’. These stories are inspirational and make us feel good – a feeling that you certainly want to be associated with your brand.
Different approaches to brand storytellingClick To Tweet
The crucial personal connection
A good story has the ‘personal connection’ factor, and if you can manage to create that personal connection with your audience, so much the better. Shared motives and beliefs do much more to strengthen our allegiances that perhaps people realise, whether to brands, people, products or causes.
A personal connection fosters brand loyalty – the key to cultivating repeat custom and vocal brand ambassadors. Rarely are two stories the same, so telling your brand story is an excellent way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Don’t leave out the personal details – these are the experiences that helped to shape your company, and the ones that deep down we’re all interested to hear about.
Brand storytelling - the crucial personal connectionClick To Tweet
Brands who tell stories well
- Airbnb – Airbnb is 100% focused on its customers. This online marketplace allows homeowners to offer up their properties (or parts of them) for rent. But it’s the customer that makes the brand, since Airbnb doesn’t manage properties itself. So instead of telling the company’s story, it instead gets its customers to tell their stories – a wise move. Read them at Stories from the Airbnb Community.
- Beardbrand – To tell a great brand story effectively, you have to know how to reach your audience. Beardbrand is a young ecommerce company that sells beard care products. Its founder, Eric Bandholz, started out with just a blog and a YouTube channel, through which he provided tips and advice on maintaining one’s beard. So when he later decided to launch his own products, his audience already trusted him enough to start buying.
- Burt’s Bees – Burt’s Bees is an online store that sells a huge range of natural bodycare products. Despite its ongoing success over the years, its philosophy that ‘what you put on your body should be made from the best nature has to offer’ has always remained steadfast. Burt’s Bees has a large section of its website dedicated to informing customers about the brand is about and what it stands for. These stories are also shared via social media and YouTube – educating consumers not only about the brand, but also about bees.
Brands who tell stories wellClick To Tweet
Brand Storytelling – happily ever after?
Remember – every great story needs people willing to listen. Find out who your audience is so you can begin the important business of telling them what they need to hear. There’s nothing like a tale of struggle and adventure, or a good old-fashioned comedy anecdote, to tap into people’s emotions. Make brand storytelling part of your brilliant marketing plan this year to create personal relationships that lead to long-term loyalty and custom.
Brand Storytelling - happily ever after?Click To Tweet
About the author, Victoria Green: Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer
Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and ecommerce branding expert who works with local brands to help them succeed. She loves to share her knowledge with other like-minded entrepreneurs and startups.
Dan Purvis writes for a number of leading business, social media and marketing sites, including Smart Insights, MarketingProfs, Marketo, MarTech Advisor, Marketing Tech News, MarTech Today, MarTech Exec, and Business2Community. Dan's also ranked by Brand Republic as one of the Top 50 UK Marketing & Social Media influencers.
Dan is passionate about the philosophy behind Comms Axis: we bring content, marketing and sales together to connect businesses with their audiences.
We pride ourselves on delivering tangible business value and ROI alongside excellent customer service. We work with a broad range of clients and industries, from B2B to B2C, from technology to cosmetics, from start-ups / SoHos to pan-European and global brands.
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