Storytelling. It’s not just for bedtime or sitting around a campfire. Today’s society is fast-paced and digitally-driven, so your brand needs to make sure it’s connecting with audiences and engaging them on an entirely new level.
So, what is brand storytelling? It’s defined as, “The cohesive narrative that weaves together the facts and emotions your brand evokes.” Translation: It’s what gives your customers a reason to support you and your business. Brand storytelling can be used for one specific project or an entire campaign. Use it to create content that incorporates emotions, experiences and needs into what your brand represents. What causes humans to take action? Aristotle said, “All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire.” As humans, we are programmed to seek out experiences that make us feel things. Don’t be afraid to lean into that. Here are a few ways to use storytelling to your advertising advantage.
Every day, billions of pieces of content are shared across multiple platforms as businesses use their time, money, and effort to gain a blip of attention from their audience. This makes it difficult for brands to stand out. Storytelling can help you break away from the norm by making your brand memorable and real. Stick with things no other brand can copy—like your history and challenges…anything you think today’s consumers can resonate with.
Build Your Squad
They’re not customers—they’re your supporters, friends, family, crew, squad, tribe. Once people build a connection with a brand, it’s incredibly hard to break it. A perfect example is Apple (the definition of a cult brand). Apple prides themselves on building devices tailored to their customers’ needs. Almost every new product has integrated something the company received as feedback years ago. And whenever Apple has problems with its products, their fiercely loyal customers forgive them and continue buying, despite those mistakes. Things like getting to chat with real humans at the GeniusBar (rather than an automated system), or getting an immediate response to DMs are huge. By spending years building an emotional connection with its customers, Apple has created an army of supporters.
Nobody Likes Robots
People want to know people. Especially after the year we’ve had, consumers are now sizing up businesses to see how they are making an impact and supporting the greater good. They are tired of random posts that don’t actually mean anything. Storytelling is the best way to make your brand more human. This not only builds support with consumers, but also makes your brand more profitable. People will feel that your brand or company is trying its very best to make a change in any way it can. Take Dove for example. The personal care company partnered with Operation Homefront to help military personnel reunite with their families. Normally, Dove marketing features women talking about how much softer their skin feels after using the product. But in their video Dove Men + Care Mission: Care, they featured John, a military member, as he reunited with his family outside his U.S. military base. The video began with John speaking about how hard it is to be away from his family and ended with most viewers in tears. They used audience emotions—along with a great cause—to not only promote their product, but discuss situations that matter and create a deep emotional connection. When your brand becomes consumable, your squad will pay for your product, support your success, and come back for more.
And They All Lived…
So, tell stories! Dare to be different! Just remember, people will never forget the way you made them feel.