Storytelling has become an essential part of effective marketing strategies for good reason. Think of the last time someone you know began telling a story, the room fell silent as everyone stopped to hear the tale. Why? Because storytelling is engaging. It pulls you in. You want to hear what happened, what happened next, and be a part of the experience. That is, perhaps, what storytelling does best, it makes you feel like you're included in the story. No wonder some of the best brands have been focusing on telling stories in novel ways. However, with all of the storytellings allure, there is still confusion on what makes a compelling story. Many brands get lost in a more commercial approach that falls short of the merits of storytelling. Others seem to seek out the most mundane aspects of their offering and turn that into a story in an effort to make it interesting. While we applaud the effort, there are three powerful aspects of your brand which can easily be transformed into a great story or stories. Concentrate on these areas and watch your brand's storytelling magic unfold.
The Power of Your People: One of the best places to focus on when telling an awesome brand story is your employees and people. According to the Content Marketing Institute, “content marketing is about developing the story of us.” However, the story should focus on the unique, interesting and real people that stand behind your brand. The story can be about them, their values, commitments and why being part of your brand tribe matters to them. Think of it this way, you spend a lot of time and resources, recruiting the very best people to your brand, but then you forget to highlight them or make them an integral part of your brand story.
When done in a thoughtful and distinct way, showcasing the people that sit on the front lines of your organization will draw customers in and make them feel like they truly know your brand. In earnest, employees are some of the best brand advocates and distributing their stories to a larger audience reinforces that advocacy. When companies fail to use their employees as brand advocates, they miss out on the opportunity to galvanize their loyal followers. These companies have forgotten a basic marketing fundamental that people buy from people they know and like. Showcase your people and watch your customers take note.
The Power of Passion: Another crucial aspect to telling your brand story is identifying and emphasizing your organization’s passions. Natural brands are champions at highlighting their zeal for eating healthy, but there are other lesser known stories to tell as well. For instance, how about a story focused on the organic farmer that supplies their ingredients with a spotlight on why empowering farmers to cultivate crops in harmony with nature is their passion.
Some companies have taken it a step further by placing their fervor at the forefront of their brand story. Warby Parker is a great example of a company that uses their ardor for improving vision worldwide as an essential element of their story through their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. Talk about emotion-driven branding. These stories have heart, soul, inspiration, and entertainment built in because as they say "alleviating the problem of impaired vision is at the heart of what they do." Sharing stories around this effort help to align their customers with their passion. Talk about a great win-win.
The Power of Purpose: Purpose-driven organizations naturally garner more attention. Why? Because it’s not about the product or the service. Purpose-driven brand storytelling gives exposure to what fuels the brand forward. Burt's Bee uses the purpose beautifully in their marketing messages. Their purpose is people, profit, planet which ties their brand into it’s something bigger, more important and more impactful. It’s about being part of a community that envisions a better tomorrow, empowers togetherness and cultivates positive change. That is enthralling content when it is told in the form of a story. It motivates people to join and support. Moreover, working for a higher purpose organically creates a community and community is something that all brands wish to foster because it drives sales and average customer value.
Your brand's story needs to have people, passion and purpose. If it does, it will make a connection between your brand and your customer. That is what true brand storytelling does, it turns your customers into your biggest fans.