Storytelling is fundamental to humans; we do it everyday of our lives and have been doing it for thousands of years. Stories help to ground us in place, or set our imaginations free. They carry such weight and emotional impact that their influence can be felt throughout a lifetime and for brands this emotional response can have real and beneficial impacts.
For brands operating in today’s digital landscape, it is essential that they move from unidirectional messaging to developing more sophisticated narratives that audiences find enthralling and that connect with their emotions.
This blog briefly explores some simple tips to help you find and communicate your brand stories.
Discovering a brand story will not happen quickly. Careful planning needs to ensure that you bring together information from all the relevant channels of your business. Communicate outwardly, engage in conversation, look into all the sources of data you have at your disposal to bring together a coherent picture of what your brand is to your audience.
You may already have a good idea of what your brand stories are but how do they fit in with your audiences understanding of your brand? Find out who your audience is. What are they doing with your brand, perhaps they are doing something unexpected with your brand. How does your brand affect their lives? Not being aware of this simple step to find information could make your brand story futile.
If you are telling any kind of brand story – it has to ring true with your audience. Susan Gunelius notes that:
“Stories must adhere to the three primary steps of brand-building: consistency, persistence, and restraint. If your brand stories are inconsistent, they’ll confuse consumers who will turn away from the brand in search of another that meets their expectations for it in every interaction.”
Your story will need to resonate on an emotional level to engage your audience. Understanding and weaving in your brand values into your story helps your audience identify with core values and align themselves with your brand and the stories you tell.
Stories work best when the audience is the hero. Jonah Sachs says that today’s audience doesn’t want to hear a story in which your brand is the hero. We need to believe that we are the hero. There are many examples but Apple’s ‘Think Different’ ad is a great example of a brand not talking about how great they were but of how great their audiences could be.