Everyday, we are all bombarded by thousands of ad commercials and exposed to countless marketing messages.
But how many really stood out?
Without question, the growing ubiquity and noise of our digital world has stressed the battle for customer’s attention.
Many of us are far more connected to information than we have ever been. Yet, despite more ways to reach audiences, it is actually harder to really reach people.
Online users tend to skim through online content rather than reading word by word. Long-form narrative and conventional journalism now share the stage with messages of fewer than 140 characters and 6-second video loops.
Competing in the constantly rising ocean of online content, brands need to work even harder for recognition, loyalty and advocacy. In other words, brands have no choice but to become publishers to build a community or fan base and connect with them in more meaningful and engaging ways.
What Is Storytelling?
Brand storytelling is a specific type of content marketing.
While content marketing tries to engage audiences with valuable and consistent content to solicit a profitable action, brand storytelling goes beyond that by telling a compelling story to draw us in emotionally.
Stories can engage people in far more powerful ways than cold, hard facts, features or repeated marketing taglines. Great storytelling is about addressing the mind and the heart and creating meaningful and memorable experiences worth coming back to.
The Art of Storytelling
When it comes to crafting a brand story, its content strategy requires both creative and narrative techniques.
The following elements should be taken into consideration in mastering the art of storytelling:
1. Storytelling Is Not (All) About You
Listen to what your audiences want to talk about and craft your storyline to cater to their demand and pulse. Find out what they think. You may be surprised.
Good storytelling involves a depth understanding of who your target audiences are:
– What do your customers truly want or need?
– How do they interact with your brand?
– What are they saying about your brand?
– How does your brand affect their lives?
– How much do they know about you?
Customer insights will ensure that your story isn’t just cool but also relevant to your audiences.
2. Incorporate Your Brand’s DNA In Your Story
Focus on ideas that would inspire your targeted audiences. Compare your brand with key competitors and place your brand’s DNA at the core of each narrative.
– What is your brand’s unique value?
– How do your customers describe your brand?
– Is there any authentic story behind your brand that no other brand can use?
– What is the clear, consistent direction for your brand?
– What messages do other brands convey and how can yours be different?
– Where are you going, and where do you want your brand to be?
3. Solve Problems
Storytelling allows brands to show how their products or services can solve problems. Storytelling does not overwhelm you with benefits or features but rather subtly illustrates them, allowing everyone to draw their own conclusions.
4. Everyone Loves A Great Story
Craft a compelling story by merging your ideas with emotions and imagination. Add a soul to it with characters and be colorful. However, avoid making things up, you need to stay true to your brand, products or services, and industry.
How can you make your story distinctive? This exercise can help you piece together your message:
– Translate your brand’s characteristic into keywords
– Sort the keywords and pick the ones that reflect your brand most
– Rank the selected keywords
– Formulate the message to describe your brand
Focus on things that inspire, entertain and eventually engage with your audiences.
5. The Power of Emotions
Even in the digital age, we connect with stories on a human level. We are seeking connections that are true, emotional and personal.
Creating a section of your customers’ anecdotes or success stories is a great, personal way to boost your brand storytelling efforts.
6. Visual Storytelling
Besides having clear narrative in telling your brand story, the use of images will empower your approach as the brain processes images 60 times faster than text. Combine the power of photos, illustrations, infographics, behind-the-scenes snapshots, text, audio, videos and animations to create a rich multi-sensory experience and help your audiences digest your message.
7. Consistency, consistency, consistency
It doesn’t mean that you can only post one story over and over again. But your key messages should be consistent with your overall brand positioning. People should be able to easily associate your basic story with your brand.
8. Viral Proof
Make your story irresistibly shareable. Integrate social media into your creative content to get real-time responses from your target audiences: embed social sharing buttons and proactively post your story on your social network channels to encourage more sharing and reach broader audiences.
9. Let Your Audience Tell Your Story
Taking things a step further, you can also engage your audiences on a deeper level in the story.
Good user generated content is known to create amazing levels of engagement and can become viral very quickly.
Invite your audiences to be part of the story production process: ask their feedback about the storyline, which character they would like to see, which song they want to hear, or make them vote which scenario they prefer, etc.
10. Same Story Different Channels
Map all of your brand’s touch points. With so many engaging mediums at your disposal, your brand story should not only be communicated and engaging in the form of videos and blog posts or infographics, but also throughout your website, customer care line/chat, mobile apps, and the list goes on. You will then nurture the process of interest, purchase, repeat purchase and brand loyalty.
If you don’t have enough resources, you can start with one medium first. Then, evaluate, improve, and expand from there.
11. Give Your Branded Content A ROI
Make sure your approach to storytelling is strategic and linked to real KPIs. Track your story’s performance and engagement rate across multiple channels that you use. The data will be a valuable reference to improve your future content marketing plan and make your next story more powerful.
Digitally Ever After
You get the point, people love stories.
While there’s no one path to content marketing success, mastering the art of storytelling is a great way to achieve a happy ending.
So be ready to to take your audiences through an unforgettable journey of your brand story.
If you need some help getting your content under control, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org