storytelling
Friday, August 6, 2021

Brand Storytelling: How to Differentiate Your Business

Brand storytelling is the key to setting your business apart from the pack in today’s option-filled and competitive world.

Even though we live in a digital era and communicate through screens, consumers want to know that there is a human on the other side, a human with ideas, feelings and personality. As a result, your business must communicate your brand identity to your customers in everything you do.

When done well, brand storytelling brings a brand to life, gives it a personality that people can relate to, elicits the appropriate emotional reaction and establishes long-term relationships with customers.

When it comes to storytelling, just because you have an “about us” section on your website and generate social media content doesn’t imply you’re presenting your narrative successfully. Unfortunately, many companies have fallen victim to the quantity over quality mentality, forgoing a captivating narrative favouring product-centric content that fails to connect.

Origin and Hill Holiday conducted a study finding that consumers will spend more money (from hotel rooms to paintings) when the products or promotions were paired with a compelling story.

Let’s dig in a little further into brand storytelling. 

What is brand storytelling?

Storytelling is a human characteristic that dates back thousands of years. Long before humans could write, we depended on the spoken word to carry down our histories.

So it’s no wonder that narrative has become a tool for marketers looking to reach new customers.

Brand storytelling is a technique for creating a narrative that incorporates your company’s values, goals, and visions. 

People are natural storytellers; therefore, businesses that want to make an impact should tell excellent stories. The human brain automatically generates neurotransmitters when we hear an enticing story. These molecules are responsible for the development of our emotions.

What is brand storytelling on social media?

Using the strengths of multiple social platforms to convey your brand story to your target audience is what brand storytelling on social media is all about. Different demographics and narrative styles are favoured by the various social media sites.

You need the appropriate content paired with the right platform to connect with your audience—and, ideally, encourage them to share and interact with your narrative.

What are essential elements of brand storytelling?

Originality 

Brand storytelling should include original ideas that will keep the audience entertained. You want to give the audience something fresh and exciting that they don’t see or read daily. 

Relatability

A story can only be relatable if you’re talking directly to your target audience about their values, believes and problems. Creating brand storytelling ensures you have a clear persona in mind that includes age, location, education, and other essential demographics. 

Your audience is likely to fully engage with the story if they see themselves in character or personally understand the character’s problems, instantly becoming more personal.  

Emotion

Emotion is the most potent aspect you can employ in a story, establishing a connection with the reader. In addition, emotions have a longer-lasting influence than facts or statistics because they are more remembered.

Why is brand storytelling important?

It presents the “why”

Most businesses aim to maximise profits for their owners or stakeholders. But brand storytelling provides businesses with an opportunity to tell their audience why they exist in the first place, with products and services secondary.

The following sentences sum up socially responsible shoe company TOMS entire brand story: “While travelling in Argentina in 2006, TOMS Founder Blake Mycoskie witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need. One for One®.”

From this brand story, you understand the mission behind TOMS, which supported this through storytelling mechanisms including YouTube videos and collateral with online orders. 

Adds a human element

Companies are constantly looking for new methods to reach out to their customers. They experiment with alternative communication channels, new promotions, and even a complete rebranding to get attention. This will bring them down to the customer’s level, making them more personable. They do, however, require a human aspect for this interaction to operate.

Dove has dominated the narrative campaign game for a long time, focusing on “real” people rather than supermodels or airbrushed advertisements. The “Men Care” campaign centred on a military father who missed his child while on deployment, with Dove bringing his family to visit him.

Whilst they promote soap, it doesn’t feature predominantly throughout, instead Dove uses the video to address body and family issues, which resonates with their target audience and pulls on the heartstrings.

Showcases values and builds trusts

By communicating your shared values to your target audience, they will notice, listen, and act, helping to establish trust.

Patagonia’s brand storytelling focuses on protecting wild spaces, with its founder, Yvon Chouinard, featured in videos with breathtaking natural landscapes. Chouinard speaks passionately about the public land value and shares stories about how they’ve impacted his own life, making it a powerful message. 

This video showcases Patagonia’s values, positions what the brand stands for and resonates with authenticity to the target audience, building trust in the brand. 

It sets you apart from the competition.

While it depends on your business, many companies would undoubtedly be stating similar things about similar products or services. Instead of hoping and wishing customers choose you over the competition, it’s essential to differentiate yourself from the competition. One of these ways is through storytelling.

IKEA Singapore’s Shelf Help Guru campaign stars Fille Güte, a ‘Shelf Help Guru,’ who wants to take IKEA customers on a ‘shelf discovery’ journey to improve their private lives in their most intimate areas; bedrooms and bathrooms.

The funny scenarios and hilarious puns illustrate IKEA’s practical storage and furniture solutions, positioning them differently from other furniture businesses.

This was supported on Facebook with a competition, where followers could ask the Guru for advice and go in the draw to win a gift card.

If you’re not top of mind in today’s hyper-engaged culture, you’ll rapidly become an afterthought. Instead of repeating keywords, hoping they stick, brand storytelling allows businesses to showcase how they can help their target audience and why they matter in their respective field. 

Struggling to tell your brand’s story? The team from Coffey & Tea can help!