e can all agree that:
In this modern marketplace, the buyer has total control due to the endless choice he/she has in every industry. They can jump ship in an instant when your competitors offer a better deal.
Therefore, In the current market where brands compete based on product features and price, developing a brand story that links your “why” to the values that you share with your consumers, will go a long way in setting you apart from your competitors and build customer loyalty.
According to the narrative transportation theory, when we immerse ourselves in a story, our beliefs and intention change to reflect that story and when there is a change in beliefs, behaviour also changes.
What is brand storytelling?
Brand storytelling can be defined as using a series of events or experiences to form a connection with your audience by relating why you exist to the values and beliefs your audience has.
It neither focuses on what you do or how you do it, but rather why you do what you do. Think of Nike, they come out as a brand that fosters athlete excellence, which is what the company has been known for since it started in 1964 and not just a company that makes shoes.
Looking at their mission statement “Do everything possible to expand human potential”, they have stood by it not just by blatantly stating it but through every marketing copy or Corporate Social Responsibility activities.
Nike understands the core belief that motivates its audience is the desire to be the best they can and they share this belief with them.
Brand storytelling should show a version of the company that its audience can relate to and show the motivation behind why you deliver the product or service.
Why is brand storytelling important?
As we earlier stated, the buyer is in total control of the customer journey. they have the luxury to choose what and when they’ll buy a product or service.
So the best way to approach today’s customers is not by only pushing your products through targeted ads and other marketing tactics but also, if not mainly, by integrating why you exist, in your marketing efforts and business operations and linking that to the values and beliefs you both share.
By so doing, you would be leading with a story rather than leading with a product feature or discounts. If done right, this would grab your audience’s attention because as humans, we are hard-wired for stories, stories that link an idea to our conscious mind.
We are immersed in the sequence of events that could happen and step into the shoes of the one experiencing the event- the protagonist.
The more we invest ourselves into the protagonist, the more memorable the story, and the longer your audience would remember your brand.
Additionally, stories sell, primarily because of the prior connection you created with your audience and how the story resonated with them emotionally.
And for this reason, the likelihood of influencing their brand loyalty and customer engagement increases accordingly.
In fact, according to Havard professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of purchase decisions are based on emotions cementing the fact that by tapping into your audience’s emotional triggers, you would influence their purchase behaviour. And there is no better way to do that than through a good, relatable story.
How to write a brand story
Stories are about overcoming challenges. Think of any movie or novel, the protagonist always has to face adversaries and fight through the challenges to secure what he or she desires and we all rally behind the protagonist to succeed.
Stories follow a common structure and brands can use this structure to tell their own story and connect with people who share the same beliefs.
Below is the 3 part structure to writing a compelling brand story:
- Define the existing state of affairs
The existing state of affairs is the way a situation currently is before facing any challenges.
For example, It can be how marketers and founders come up with marketing plans, go-to-market strategies and growth plans to build their businesses.
- Conflict / problem
In every plot of a captivating story, the protagonist has to face adversaries for the story to be a compelling narrative that resonates with its audience.
Same goes with brands. Going with our example, coming up with growth plans and marketing strategies comes with its challenges such as lack of knowledge, experience and resources, time needed to research and test, or the extensive cost of hiring specialists to do it for you.
This is where the protagonist comes out successful after all the challenges faced. Where marketers and founders are able to create comprehensive marketing strategies, go-to-strategies and growth plans without having a team of marketers and breaking the bank thereby taking a huge step in the right direction of building a successful business.
Some brands follow the same story structure to build customer loyalty and brand awareness.
Soulcycle, the fitness brand, follows the structure to write their brand story that builds its cheerful community of riders.
Current state: Normal workout routines are primarily focused on getting work done and seeing the results.
Conflict: But as much as we want to stay fit and healthy, the routines feel like work! Sometimes feeling like we need a rest even after doing a few workouts.
Resolution: Workouts should not only be efficient but also joyful. They should be a fun experience shared with others, pushing each other on and building relationships with fellow riders and transforming their relationship to exercise.
An audience is more likely to form a connection with the brand when they resonate with the brand story. This stresses the importance of being consistent with the brand story all through the marketing copies and in business operations and not just in the about page.
Tell your story as it is
Your brand story has to be real because it will shine all through your business operations and seek an audience that resonates with it.
When customers connect with a brand that shares the same belief as theirs, they are more likely to make purchase decisions based on that and spread word to friends and family about the brand.