This is a guest post from James Rosene, creative director and partner at EraserFarm, a strategic, creative and branding agency in Tampa. Since joining the firm as a junior copywriter, James has built a number of award-winning branding campaigns for a multitude of companies.
Creating a brand that’s meaningful and memorable to your audience is no simple task. Not exactly brain surgery, I know. But with the rise of social media, storytelling has become not just an effective tool for achieving that, but a necessary one. Stories are such a great way to create depth and sympathy for your brand. And even more importantly, they’re a super powerful way to build trust from a modern audience that can smell BS a mile away.
Storytelling is something you can weave into most of the brand marketing you do already. It can be tied to your advertising as well as your social accounts, outreach and design. You can try to devote your efforts to adding to your own story, or focus on gathering a tapestry of them from others to reinforce your brand. Here are five ways you can use storytelling to kick your brand marketing into high gear.
1. Give people something they can support
Everyone wants to believe in something they can get behind. A good brand story is no different. It needs a hero. That’d be you, by the way. A hero needs a cause, or some sympathy. Are you devoted to seeing that your customers get the best service all the time? Sure, and so is everyone else. So even though you may very well be, that story really isn’t believable to most people.
Base the story in some human truth. Your customers want characters whose problems are rooted in the things that they have to experience. Good brand stories are about things you had to overcome to start your business, the things you do that no one else anywhere does and the little obsessions that drive you to want to do things differently. The bottom line: it needs to connect with them on a real, heartfelt level.
2. Learn to use the essentials of stories
A story isn’t just a string of events. If you want to create a special story, it needs a central ‘character’ that readers can grab onto. A conflict to be overcome. And obviously, a satisfying resolution. This stuff is so important whether you’re trying to build out a company story or present a customer’s experience with your product or service.
3. Share the stories that become part of yours
You can create a strong “story” for your brand on your own. But really, nothing is more powerful for a brand’s appeal than having the community get behind it. Make sure you focus on getting customers to share their experiences on social media as stories. Make them advocates of the brand. They have such great stories of their own about their purchases all the time. Watch your feed for these stories, and encourage your current customers to share their experiences. Everyone believes their stories because they have nothing vested in the outcome. In other words, their stories are real. And you can’t get anything better than that!
4. Capture experiences, not just facts
The quality of the details makes the difference between good and great stories. Sure, it can be good if it’s made up of an interesting sequence of events. But great stories are the ones that allow us to experience them as if they were happening to us. No matter what kind of stories you’re trying to tell, make sure the focus is always on a human truth or experience
5. Don’t underestimate the importance of authenticity
There’s nothing wrong with injecting a bit of drama. In the YouTube age, most folks are forgiving of a little mythology in your background and stories, particularly when it involves things you’re genuinely passionate about. Passion is the important part, though. Trying to build a brand story around something the company isn’t, and a lifestyle no one at the company lives, is not going to do a lick of good. The BS meter alienates readers and you can wave goodbye to them. So start every story with something that is true for you.
Use stories to take your brand to the next level
Do I have all the answers? Hardly. I’d like to think I do, but my wife keeps proving me wrong. With that said, these are just some of the ways I believe stories can help you better build and communicate the idea behind your brand. Give ‘em a whirl. Use them to start planning the stories you want to tell about your own company, products or services. And use them to create more powerful brand marketing than you’ve ever thought possible.