Stories. Since childhood, we’ve been drawn to them. They are our relationship to the world. Fables teach us lessons about life, which usually takes place under the filter of cute animals. Myths provide allegories with powerful gods and goddesses. Even video games have stories that keep us busy and play.
So how can brands use storytelling to sell themselves?
When you tell the story of your brand, your company stands out. You probably have dozens – if not hundreds – of competitors selling similar products or services at similar prices. So how do you convince even one customer to choose you?
You could have a superior product. . . . but that may not become apparent until after the purchase. Instead, you can tell your story. Attach a story to the customer that will resonate with them.
The story does not even have to be about your product or service. Or why you started your business. For example, it could be about why your name is the way it is.
If they ask you for the story behind your brand name, you can put the business aside for a minute and just have a conversation. Usually they giggle about the story, and that paves the way for a more personal interaction afterwards.
Find the Story Behind Your Brand
You may not feel that your brand has a history; in fact, it has many. The key is to expose it. Think of the stories about:
- How you started your business
- Why you sell, what you do
- The difference you are trying to make
- How you helped a customer
- What makes your employees unique
- What you have learned
If you are getting into your stories for the first time, writing them out can help. Keep them relatively short; aim for high-level details rather than the details.
Remember that people want to be touched by a story in some way, be it to laugh or even to tear up. You want to create an emotional connection with your audience so that your story resonates. And they want to relate to it! When you talk about how you helped a customer, start with the problem that customer had (probably your audience had the same problem).
Put Your Story in the Right Places
If you have practiced your story (I have told mine so often that it slips off my tongue), then you know where you can use it most strategically.
The power of storytelling works great in your marketing. Tell your story on your website. Maybe in a blog post or an email. Find ways to include it in your social media posts.
When you’re in sales calls, use that as your argument, rather than showing how amazing your product is. Get to know your audience in advance so you can optimize your story to get the most impact.
Pay Attention to How People React
If they look at their phones, you won’t hit your target. Rewrite the story until they turn off their phones and pay attention. You want to be the one they remember, even if they hear a dozen sales calls that day.
Also, think about the time when you tell your story. If you have a big pivot point in the direction your business is going, you should make the story behind it transparent.
Here are the best tips for effective storytelling and building your story.
#1: Set the Parameters
Your company history should be appealing. But if it does not have a clear focus, you will quickly lose the attention of consumers. Establish the context immediately.
Answer the following questions to get your brand story started:
- Who is telling the story?
- Why is the story being told?
- When and where does the story take place?
- Who are the people in the story?
- What do the people want to achieve?
- What challenges do they face?
Parameters help you to develop an appealing story that makes sense for your audience. Set the scene so that consumers know exactly what you are talking about. Most importantly, find out why you are telling them the story. This will guide the audience through the story and draw them to the end of the story.
#2: Be Authentic
Authentic storytelling is the key to gaining consumer confidence. Do not try to deceive your audience with an exaggerated story. Customers know when you’re trying to take them by surprise, and they don’t appreciate it.
The story of your company does not have to be elaborate. If your company doesn’t have an earth-shattering story, your story shouldn’t try to create one either. A true story is more likely to be associated with consumers than one that doesn’t contain a shred of truth.
Transparency celebrates your uniqueness and recognizes the human aspect of your brand. Recognize that things are not always easy by highlighting your own challenges and failures. This creates an emotional connection and also shows admiral qualities such as innovation and resilience.
Perhaps you should design your communication with your customers according to the principle of the “open book”. Explain how things are made/made in your company. For example, you could use all local ingredients in your restaurant. Use these details to tell an interesting story.
#3: Have a Clear Result
A great business story leaves something behind with your audience. What lessons have been learned in the story, and what should consumers learn from the story?
Business stories should have a clear outcome. Provide a hopeful, thought-provoking message with actionable points that will force your audience to connect with your brand.
Your stories should convey an idea of what your business is, how successful it is and where this success comes from. The result inspires confidence in our offers and values. You can use the real results of your business to deliver a message to your customers.
#4: Be Consistent
An unorganized brand history leaves customers confused and uninterested. Make sure that your brand is consistent across all communication channels. Use the same colours, logo and slogan for digital and printed marketing materials. The repetition of images and phrases associated with your company creates brand awareness.
You need to be consistent when you talk about your brand. Business storytelling requires practice. You need to know the story inside and out before you present it to customers. This helps you tell the story in a natural way.
#5: Involve Customers
Use business storytelling to create an emotional connection to your customers. Talk about how an event related to your business has affected you and what you have experienced. This creates an immediate response that makes your story unforgettable and shareable.
People like being part of stories. Your customers can be characters of your brand. Think of ways to involve your audience.
Telling the story of your brand is an ongoing process. Every day your company grows, changes and adds new chapters to its story. Make storytelling an essential part of your business to attract and retain customers.