The Key To Telling Your Brand Story

The Key To Telling Your Brand Story

A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is

Scott Cook

Standing out online can be very difficult. With so much choice online our potential audience needs a compelling reason to consider our content. One of the ways to gain the attention of your audience is by telling your brand story.

What exactly is your brand story?

Your brand story is what your customers tell each other it is. The power has shifted to the customer, they control the flow of their information. The consumer is no longer waiting for your marketing department to carefully feed them a brand perspective on the product or service. The consumer is accessing product information from friends, networks, product experts and product reviewers.

 How do brands influence this diverse information flow?

Tell brand stories that consumers are interested in. This is different from the traditional one way broadcast medium used to market products in the past which has now become more of a two way dialogue. Everyone likes a good story and a brand that can capture its audience attention through storytelling will succeed. Brand storytelling has the ability to penetrate the more socially orientated information dialogue that exists today.

Brands need to have a strategy for their storytelling. They need to understand the power of storytelling and how to use this powerful communication tool. When developing a strategy a brand needs to understand that their stories have to respond to audience demand. The essence of a successful story is the ability to engage, entertain and amuse their audience.

Audiences online have very little motivation to give their attention to inferior content so unless your storytelling continues to delight they will go elsewhere. Good storytelling requires consistently high quality output and this should be fundamental to your storytelling strategy.

When developing a brand story I always ask myself the following questions

Does the story have a structure?

Does the story have a structure?

Storytelling is about two things; it’s about character and plot.

                                                                         George Lucas

Remember when you were at a party and a fellow guest told you a long rambling story you could barely follow. All you wanted was for them to finish so you could move on. A brand story without structure has the exact same impact on your potential audience.

 This is the reason why a story needs structure. It is a way of focusing your audience’s attention. It can be as simple and as recognisable as having a beginning, a middle and an end. Think about including a hero (your customer), a challenge (customer problem) and a surprising revelation (your product or service). Notice I intentionally put the customer at the centre of the brand story, most brands think their product should be the hero.

Does the story show my brand personality?

Does the story show my brand personality?

 You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   David Ogilvy

We all love a character at a party who captures our attention and amuses and entertains us. Nobody wants to spend time with a boring character. If your brand story does not reflect your brand personality in an interesting and engaging manner you need to rewrite your story. The story needs to reflect all the quirks, character, individualism, humor, temperament, distinctiveness and attributes that make up your brand. Think of your brand as a person and remember what that represents.

Will the story establish an emotional connection with my audience?

Will the story establish an emotional connection with my audience?

 When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.

                                                                                                                                                  Dale Carnegie

We often respond better to emotion than logic. Each has its place in storytelling. If your story does not establish an emotional connection with your audience all the logic in the world will not make it relevant to your audience.

If a charity bombards us with facts and figures we will probably ignore it. If it shows one starving child across the world we will start to be emotionally connected. If the charity showed us a starving child on our road we would be deeply emotionally affected.

Storytelling needs to establish an emotional connection and as in the case of the neighbourhood child, the more personal the better. Our audience needs to be emotionally involved in our storytelling to successfully engage with them.

Does the story have a personal trigger?

Does the story have a personal trigger?

There’s almost always a point in a book where something happens that triggers the rest of the plot.

                                                                                                                                  Jonathan Carroll

In every story we have ever heard there comes a point where we accept that the story has relevance for us. This point is our particular personal trigger point. Think of it as the point where we become personally invested in the story.

Something has happened that makes us personally identify with the storyline. This personal trigger point will vary from audience to audience. It is our job to understand our audiences so well that we know where their personal trigger point is likely to be.

Is it an honest story?

Is it an honest story?

 All stories should have some honesty and truth in them; otherwise you’re just playing about.

                                                                                                                              Nigel Kneale

Your audience needs to trust your brand and thus your story needs to have integrity. Remember at all times the truth is just “one click away”.

The key to engaging your audience with your story is to make them own your brand story. They need to think your story is really their story and your brand only has a supporting role. The audience is the real hero of your brand story.

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