The Internet is allowing us to get back to what’s really more natural, which is that storytelling is a shared thing. It’s our natural way to be communal.
Brands need to captivate their potential audiences. One way to capture your audience online is by telling your brand story. You need to understand what makes your “audience tick” and how they will relate to your particular brand story.
The guidelines I use when telling a brand story are
1. Know Your Brand Story
For me, Lancome was more than just a brand. There was something very nostalgic about the name, about the whole story.
Every storyteller will tell you that you need to know your facts. Tell a story to a five year old and you soon find yourself in hot water if you are unprepared. You need to know your brand story before you decide to share your version of it with the world. Get you co-workers to review your understanding of the brand story.
Your brand story is your brands “emotional heart”, it is the reason why your customers think you exist. No two-brand stories are identical because no two founders are identical.
Brand stories evolve over time as your brand evolves, keep your brand story current.
2. Make The Brand Story Unique
Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
There is no reason to try and “ape” another brands stories, you just need to understand what makes your brand unique. Your audiences are always looking for something different and if you can encapsulate the reason why your brand is different from your competitors you will arouse their natural curiosity.
Think of the way Red Bull uses extreme sports in its storytelling, Starbucks celebrates the customer and Google is all about connecting people using technology.
You need to find what will make your brand resonate with your customers.
3. Every Brand Story Needs A Structure
The answer is always in the entire story, not a piece of it.
Your customers will be used to hearing stories and will be familiar with the structures that people use to tell them.
At its very least a story needs a
This is where you create the opening scenario and give your audience an insight into the main protagonists. Brand stories sometimes use an inanimate main character.
An ideal storytelling device is to give your customer the lead role in the brand story.
This is where you set out the problem that needs to be resolved. Two brand stories that have good structures are Volkswagen’s video staring the Star Wars character and John Lewis Christmas videos. Both stories define the problem in a unique way and use creative storytelling.
This is where you need to give the viewer resolution. Surprise endings are fine, they do however need to resolve the problem in the audiences mind. Confuse your audience at the end and you have lost any chance to engage them.
By using a simple story structure you can tell a compelling brand story.
4. Establish an Emotional Connection With Your Audience
Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.
Your audience is swayed by a combination of emotion and logic. Emotion will usually trump logic every time. Involving your customer in your brand story will elicit an emotional investment from them. Make your customer the hero, as no one wants a “two bit part” in your brand story.
5. Be Creative With Your Brand Storytelling
I realized the importance of having a story today is what really separates companies. People don’t just wear our shoes, they tell our story.
One of the most difficult problems content producers now have is how to stick out from the crowd. With so much information available online it is hard to be unique.
How then will your customer hear your story?
It is definitely not about quantity, it needs to be about quality. Creativity and inspired brand storytelling will achieve this.
You can make your storytelling unique by combining unusual storytelling perspectives with technical innovations such as using the latest multimedia innovations. It could be as simple as using large screen cinematic techniques to tell your story or as complex as using integrated multimedia platforms to deliver your story on multiple platforms simultaneously.
A Word of caution, do not let the technique you use become the story at the expense of your own story.
6. Embrace Visual Storytelling
Visual storytelling of one kind or another has been around since cavemen were first drawing on the walls.
Visual storytelling is all about creating an instant picture in your audiences mind. Visual storytelling when done right captures your audience’s immediate attention and gets them to pause in their random page hopping online.
Complex storytelling can be achieved using visual imagery. Visual content has the added advantage of being easily shared by your audience.
You have many options when using visual storytelling from one unique powerful image to an entire web series. Think about the imagery you are going to use and what this says to your customer about your brand. How does the imagery support your story? Always get a range of opinions when using visual storytelling so you can be confident it is delivering the message you want.
Do not be afraid to experiment with your visual imagery until you find the imagery that best supports your brand storytelling.
7. Keep Your Story Honest
Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.
The truth is always only a click away. This means your brand story has to stand up to intense scrutiny. This is not the time to be vague or stretch the facts. Most customers will check your story out with at least one other person such as their friend, social network or source. This gives you added imperative to be totally transparent with your storytelling.
Brand storytelling is based on understanding your customer’s problems and how your solution makes their lives easier. You need to know how your story will emotionally connect with your audience. Crafting an honest, structured, creative brand story will engage your audience.
Storytelling is an art that can be improved with practice.