Attractive photos, memorable slogans, impressive logos, and witty tweets have their place when trying to grab potential customers’ attention. But when it comes to actually engaging them, you need more. This is where brand narrative comes in. You need to use storytelling in your marketing.
According to research published on Slideshare, 55% of customers who loved a brand’s story were willing to purchase their products.
Using brand narrative is not just about advertising, it’s about engagement – engaging customers to the point where they connect with your business, products, and services enough to make a commitment.
In this article, you’ll learn about brand storytelling and the benefits it offers, different types of storytelling in marketing, and the elements of a successful brand narrative.
Brand Storytelling Explained
Brand storytelling is when you use narratives for better customer connection and engagement, and to build a memorable brand. Your narrative should include all the elements found in other great narratives, such as setting, conflict, action, and a climax.
A main character or characters that your audience can relate to are other important elements in your narrative. One of the most important things to remember when using storytelling in marketing is that the hero of the story should always be the customer, rather than the product. By making the customer the hero, you’re emphasizing that your brand shares their values.
Delivering The Story
Once you have a good brand narrative to tell, you need to find an effective way to deliver it to customers.
Streaming service Netflix and beauty brand Dove have both done this to great effect – here’s how:
When Netflix wanted to promote its popular show, Orange Is the New Black, the company partnered with the New York Times for an article about female prison inmates. The inmates featured in the article were pictured in their distinctive orange jumpsuits, which linked the show’s visuals with the title.
Dove’s video to promote the personal care company’s Real Beauty campaign focused on the difference between how women look and how they feel they should look. The video went viral, as it struck a chord with ordinary people who don’t look like the supermodels that other brands feature in their marketing campaigns.
The Benefits Of Brand Narrative In Marketing
There are numerous benefits to using storytelling in marketing. They include:
Presenting an alternative to aggressive advertising: Aggressive advertising with hard-sell tactics doesn’t hold consumers’ attention anymore. An effective brand narrative tells a story that touches your audience and stirs up their emotions.
Showcasing your brand personality effectively: Customers usually see brands as businesses that sell products. Good use of storytelling in marketing lets your brand’s personality come to the fore, which lets your audience see your brand as more than just another brand advertising its products.
Turning minds into VR tools: An effective brand narrative activates the parts of your customers’ brains that influence their perception of what they hear or see, which feeds into their insights on things.
Activating neuro-associations: Neuro-associations link thoughts and feelings in the brain, which influences the way we think, react emotionally, and behave in various situations. Stories can trigger neuro-associations that help customers connect with brands and products.
Storytelling dovetails with existing social media strategies: You can easily incorporate brand narratives in your existing strategy for social media marketing, which offers the added advantage of being able to use user-generated content.
Adding the human element to content: Storytelling adds human attributes and values to your brand. This creates the sense that your brand’s approachable, relatable, and trustworthy. A brand that is humanized is far more likely to create a connection than one that has no personal angle or appeal.
Stimulating empathy: Brand narratives give your customers a relatable hero that they care about. They want to see the hero succeed and make their dreams come true, as you’ve effectively put them in the hero’s shoes. Storytelling helps your customers to care about your brand.
Different Types Of Brand Storytelling
There are a huge number of types of brand storytelling and they all differ subtly depending on their application. We’ve taken a look at three of them.
- Character-driven brand storytelling uses the same mascots, fictional characters, or real people that represent the brand in all their marketing campaigns for consistency and familiarity. This helps convey brand personality, create memorable customer connections, and make the brand seem more human.
- Community-focused brand storytelling highlights how the company makes a positive impact. Campaigns usually show community investment by sharing information about fundraisers the brand established or the charities it supports. This can have a positive influence on customers who share the same values and offer them a sense of purpose when they purchase your products.
- Data-driven brand storytelling incorporates data visualization (infographics), analytics, data sets, and statistics in the brand narrative to show how the company’s products or services benefit customers and the community. This can grab attention, build trust, and inspire customers to take action.
Elements Of Successful Storytelling In Marketing
Include the following elements in your brand narrative for successful storytelling in marketing:
Craft a compelling storyline: Use a compelling storyline to set the stage and to build on, so you can leverage your brand’s values and tell customers about your company’s history and about what makes the brand unique. Remember, people love underdogs.
Support the narrative with data: Use data to support the narrative or to tell the story. For example, tell consumers how customers have interacted with your brand or how much the company grew in the last year.
Create an emotional connection: Craft a narrative with a storyline and visuals that create a connection with your audience through positive emotions.
Make the narrative resonate with consumers: The most successful storytelling marketing campaigns create an emotional connection with consumers that resonates for days after they see the advert. Budweiser’s 2014 Super Bowl advert featuring a story about a relationship between a puppy and a Clydesdale is a good example of this. A TIVO study revealed it was the most-watched Super Bowl commercial in 50 years.
When you have combined these elements to create powerful branded content that engages existing and potential customers, you can share it across various social media platforms. The result should be a deeper relationship between your brand and your growing customer base.