Storytelling is a powerful tool that can support your brand. However, many small entrepreneurs do not fully use its potential. Storytelling is an art worth mastering to help the brand flourish. In this article, you will learn what is storytelling, why it is important and when to use it.
Several years ago, when I have to choose the university, I knew one thing – I do not want to spend the next 5 years in the classroom, listening to boring lectures on things that do not necessarily interest me. I decided to go to the Academy of Fine Arts, tempted by the perspective of a creative environment, where no one will try to put me in a box.
It turned out, however, that the system always gets you, so I had to spend some time on boring lectures, listening to the monotonous voice of the speaker. Art history, marketing, advertising, psychology – faculties that should inspire and give joy, in the professors’ mouth sounded like an empty litany of facts and data.
In the fifth or fourth year of study, one day a man of modest appearance entered the room. A quiet voice might suggest another sleepy hour, but something else happened.
Stories flowed from the mouth of the man, and everyone in the room listened with interest. The passion that was painted on his face also encouraged us to listen closely. Preparation for the exam went smooth because a lot of information remained in my memory for a long time.
This is the power of a good story that engages, draws attention, stays with us for longer. Well-told stories work well in the lecture hall and in branding.
What is storytelling
It’s an art of telling a story. Sounds simple, but many entrepreneurs have a problem using storytelling in brand building or don’t use it at all.
You must remember that stories have been with us since the dawn of time and they have had the power to build relationships, and inspire crowds. Not much has changed since then.
Stories are strongly inscribed in our DNA and they are an important carrier of information. They are much easier to remember than the listed facts. This is partly because they convey emotions. Also, thanks to them, for thousands of years, we could get to know the world around and explain complicated phenomena. That is why our brain loves them and gives them priority of attention.
Why storytelling is important in branding
I repeat it often, but we live in an information-saturated world. Going out into the street, we are attacked by thousands of colours, slogans, and call to actions. People often stop paying attention to what advertisements have to say. Personally, I feel, that ‘banner blindness’ is a mechanism that allows our tired minds to rest. If we pay attention to every message that appears around us, we would probably go crazy.
On the other hand, there is information worthy of our attention and information that could change our lives for the better. However, it is easy to overlook them. Fortunately, storytelling comes to our aid. A well-told story attracts and engages like a good movie where we can relate to it.
Because of such a large role that stories had in the lives of our ancestors, today they’re still fascinating. That’s why marketing specialists use storytelling to establish an emotional bond with the customer and make the brand stay with them for longer.
What is the additional positive impact of storytelling on your brand:
- helps to better understand the brand’s expectations and draws the customers’ attention who need our products,
- if you’re consistent, it allows you to be more recognizable,
- positively affects the employees and makes them more involved, knowing that there is a deeper idea behind the brand,
- makes your brand more authentic and give it a personality,
- recipients feel a greater bond and become faithful brand ambassadors.
But what should you say to engage more people
When you create materials for social media, a website and even leaflets, you need to provide information that will help a potential customer, understand who you are, what you have to offer and what to do to buy your product. And although all this information will help them make a decision, it’s not hard to imagine that reading this type of text is boring as hell.
Exchange of information may be useful, but are you able to establish a bond with the audience that will help change them into faithful brand ambassadors?
Something must click, move a soul that has already scrolled through several similar offers. You may not believe, but these emotions often decide whether the client will take a step and buy your product or not.
Many business owners, however make one critical mistake – they are constantly talking about themselves.
You may be surprised. After all, marketing materials are should show why the offer is special and make the customer buy from you. However, this is only part of the truth. Because the reader actually doesn’t care who you are, but most of all how your product affects his life in a positive way.
When writing about your brand, talk about things that are important to the audience, that they can identify with, that they need to make a decision.
If you are a psychotherapist, of course, your experience and diplomas are important to your client. However, the story you are telling must also relate to his own experiences to truly interest him. Maybe you’ve struggled with depression for a long time and an exceptional therapist helped you get out of trouble. That was the moment when you understood that you want to help others.
Suppose you plan to open a boutique with organic clothes. Tell them about the values that you share with them. Show them that by buying in your store, they can take care of the environment and live in a sense of fulfilment. Because that’s what they want – live consciously, in harmony with nature.
Things to keep in mind when telling a story
Recipient / Hero – although you’re the writer, the hero of the story is your client. If you want to check if your site will appeal to your client, check how many times you talk about him in your materials.
Problem and needs – People who read your story should learn a few facts from it – for instance, what problems you help to solve. Like in a movie – there is always a problem to solve and an enemy to overcome. Pay attention to whether your audience sees it as a valuable benefit for themselves.
Authenticity – ok, let’s face it, authenticity has its limits, especially when it comes to business. In more official situations you do not necessarily have to parade in pyjamas, in which you actually feel the most comfortable (although in some cases it may be part of the brand image). However, speaking of authenticity, I mean that the story should be in line with your intentions. Companies don’t always play fair and often create stories full of pathos just to sell more. However, I think that each of us has an authentic story to tell that will find the right audience. This is important, especially if you are building a small brand and want to be close to your customers.
Values - they are associated with emotions, and emotions help us establish a better connection with the audience and create a strong community. Your story should appeal to people who will have a chance to find values in it that are also important to them.
Be Specific – sometimes we write too much. However, let’s face it – few people have time to read endless elaborations. Your message should be compact and contain only the most important information valuable to the reader.
The flow of stories – do you remember writing classes in high school? Your teacher probably required a specific structure from you. Each text had to include an introduction, explication and ending. It’s similar when you write a story for your brand. However, you also need a specific plan of what you want to convey in this story. Start with a problem or user need, then go to the information on how you can help them solve it. End with a vision of how his life will change after buying your product. This is not the only formula for good story flow, but it works.
Read also: Branding elements for beginners
Where to use storytelling
You can tell the story in many different ways. You don’t have to necessarily use words for it. Silent films were also stories that inspired crowds. Therefore, it is worth involving other media, e.g. photos, graphics and even colours.
When you build an image and create your brand strategy, you should think about the so-called brand story. Short story associated with a brand conveys the most important values. For this type of story to engage the audience and make them stay with you for longer, you need to convey emotions in it.
The brand story accompanies your brand and becomes an identification element. However, you can use storytelling on a daily basis – by writing posts on social media, creating a website.
When you record a video you can ass case study, your clients’ story or personal experiences. That will allow you to be remembered and evoke emotions in the listener.
The presentation for investors or clients is also a good opportunity to tell the story behind your brand, which at the same time fits well with the situational context, as well as reflects the values that customers can appreciate.