Why is it that Interbrand 100 companies are posting less but driving more engagement? What’s the reason behind the rising popularity of brand video content on YouTube? In no small part, it’s the fact that more and more brands are involving customers in their online communication strategy. One of the main ways they do this is through brand storytelling, which enables them to market products and services through the people who use them on a daily basis. Here are three key aspects of brand storytelling, as well as links to some great articles that served as inspiration.
As Bryan Kramer points out in this article, every great story needs an anatomy. This means deciding who will feature (will it be customers, employees, the CEO or someone else?), what the problematic is and how it is overcome. Remember what your teacher told you at school? Every story needs a twist and a conclusion. In the same way, brand storytelling needs to be compelling; audiences must come away knowing how your brand makes a difference for the protagonist, whether it’s by providing a solution to a problem, simplifying a process or bringing something new and exciting to their everyday routine.
Brand storytelling allows prospects and clients to better connect with companies, which is why the emotional aspect of every story is so important. This article from Salesforce hits the nail on the head, explaining that as humans we “identify with individual people, not corporations.” So whether it’s an employee, a customer, a partner or the company founder, focusing on an individual allows you to present the business in a relatable context. This is particularly valuable in a B2B context, with social media audiences tuning out of corporate communication and looking to connect with brands through real people.
Show Don’t Tell
This article from econsulancy.com presents six key aspects of storytelling, but we have a clear favorite. It’s “show don’t tell” – the idea that brands need to stop pitching products and start showing how they fit into and enhance customers’ daily lives. The author uses the example of Red Bull, a brand whose stories of adrenaline-fueled adventure allow audiences to “fill in the dots about the connection between such a lifestyle and its energy drink.” Indeed, the stories you tell don’t even have to mention products specifically, as long as they tie in with the nature and vision of your brand.
Social network users are naturally receptive to stories, which present products and services in a human context that encourages them to connect with your brand on a personal level. The focus is therefore less on the “what” (what a product does and what the price is) and more on the “why” (why customers and employees are prepared to vouch for your brand). For more on brand storytelling, check out the article Go On, Tell Us a Story.