Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a terrible— no, wait. Hold on. (clears throat). It was a dark and stormy night, when suddenly a— er, no, that’s not it either. Let’s try one more time. Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called— Believe you me, that’s not my story. Stories move us — all of us — and they have since we were in short pants, as my grandpa used to say. Brands who understand and harness this power can see extraordinary results, and brands that don’t are missing out on massive opportunity. So let’s take a look at how telling your brand story elevates your business.
1. TELLING YOUR BRAND STORY ELEVATES YOUR BUSINESS BY HELPING YOU STAND OUT
In the milieu of marketing mush online, good brand stories stand out.
The reason telling your brand story can help you stand out is because there’s no other brand story that’s like yours. Your brand story is yours, and it’s yours alone. It’s a chance to convey your unique brand personality and message in a way that no one else can.
This is one component of building a loyal fan base — carving out a distinct identity. Telling your brand story helps people understand who you are as an organization, why you’re doing what you’re doing, how your business does what it does, who it serves, what you’re like, and so on. Stories can be an incredibly powerful tool for helping people get to know you and how you’re not just like every other business in your market.
Telling your brand story can be an incredibly powerful tool for helping people get to know you and how you're not just like every other business in your market. #brandstrategy #contentmarketing #socialmedia #marketing Click To Tweet
2. TELLING YOUR BRAND STORY ELEVATES YOUR BUSINESS BY HUMANIZING YOUR BRAND
As human beings, we’re wired for story.
There’s a reason our eyes glaze over when we encounter what we perceive to be just another ad floating across our screen. It’s akin to something called banner blindness; and whether you call it information glut or data smog or plain old sensory overload like some researchers have, and it’s an actual thing that will serve to turn people into zoned out zombies who are entirely disinterested in whatever you’re serving up for them.
And here’s the kicker: sometimes, it’s not even an ad that people are seeing.
Fair or not, sometimes, they’re just seeing a regular post from us; but it feels so corporatized and sterile to the general viewing public that they can’t tell much difference between the post they’re seeing and a paid post from some nameless, faceless, mega-corporate account that’s set on auto-post with AI-generated images of AI-generated people with AI-generated tans and AI-generated smiles full of AI-generated teeth posing on an AI-generated boat sailing on an AI-generated body of water whilst holding AI-generated cups while their AI-generated hair remains in AI-generated-perfect place despite sailing the AI-generated high seas at however many AI-generated knots.
Do you see the problem? No one can relate to that. Not even people who own boats. Or ships (tip o’ the hat to ya). There’s no perfect anything on a real boat, and certainly no perfect hair.
Know what there are, though? Sunburns, windblown everything, and tall tales of the one that got away. People relating to each other.
People can relate to a brand that shares stories that are human and relatable. Origin stories about the brand itself. Hero stories about folks with whom you do business. There are countless examples of things you could do.
3. TELLING YOUR BRAND STORY ELEVATES YOUR BUSINESS BY BUILDING TRUST
People want to trust the brands with whom they do business.
People want to trust the brands with whom they do business. Telling your brand story helps build that trust. #branding #marketing #brandstrategy #contentcreation #socialmedia Click To Tweet
There are myriad reasons people invest their trust in organizations. According to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: In Brands We Trust, consumers trust companies more when those companies (1) are more involved in societal issues, and they (2) reflect their values.
Take Warby Parker, for example. Warby Parker, of course, is the noted direct-to-consumer eyewear retailer. Their approach has been “modeled” by other, similar direct-to-consumer retailers like Casper, et al.
Warby Parker’s story is an interesting one, and it’s one that is central to why they do what they do. After one of Warby Parker’s founders lost a pair glasses (which, if you’ve had glasses, you know can be rather pricey), they had a very difficult time finding a quick, inexpensive replacement pair. In the process, they learned that one, massive conglomerate owns basically every aspect of the industry — from brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley to retailers including LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, and Pearle Vision.
Something began to occur to them, and eventually, their story began to unfold.
According to one of their founders, they took more than a year and a half to figure out their purpose and brand, with the result being a coherence that surprised a lot of people. He went on to say that 50% of people at that point were coming from word-of-mouth.
How will people know if your organization is aligned with things that matter to them? If you’re telling your brand story online.
4. TELLING YOUR BRAND STORY ELEVATES YOUR BUSINESS BY BUILDING COMMUNITY…
We hear people talk about “their tribe” (or some synonymous term) often, and there’s a reason for that.
There’s a fancypants term, neural coupling, that describes what happens when your brain starts to get in sync with someone else who’s telling a story.
Princeton’s Uri Hasson, who authored the above research, points out that…
“By simply telling a story, [a person] could plant ideas, thoughts and emotions into the listeners’ brains.”
No, that’s not some voodoo mind trick. It’s what every filmmaker hopes happens when they shoot a film, pair a score with it, and so on.
They’re hoping that it produces a particular emotional response in those who view the story.
5. …AND PEOPLE SHARE STORIES WITH THEIR COMMUNITIES
Think about it. We gather around campfires together to….what?
Well, I mean aside from making and devouring fantastic s’mores.
Right. We tell stories.
And that’s what people do online, too. They share stories they find compelling, and there’s no reason your content can’t be like that. When you share your brand story, and when you invite people into the ongoing narrative in a way that’s real, human, and vulnerable (read: not corporate); you’ll be surprised at how people will gravitate towards it.
This isn’t just something we’re guessing about, either; research shows us that several things play into this.
People Share Things With Which They Agree
Remember that neural coupling concept we just mentioned above? That’s starting to loom a little larger now, right?
Part of what science and research together continue to tell us is that when someone is listening to a story — when they’re really engaged by it — they start to get on the same page with the one telling it.
Translation? If you, as a marketer, content creator, or leader can grow as a storyteller (and yes, you can), you can connect with people in new, surprising, and deeper ways than you perhaps previously imagined.
When our online community is on our wavelength, and we share a mutual cause, they’re more likely to share our message.
When our online community is on our wavelength, and we share a mutual cause, they're more likely to share our message. #contentmarketing #brandstrategy #socialmedia Click To Tweet
People Share Things That Evoke Emotion
A study published by the Journal of Marketing Research found that people were far more likely to share stories that evoke strong emotion, and surprisingly even if that emotion happened to be an emotion we perceive to be negative.
In a previous post about how to make your social media content more shareable, we mentioned something very similar to this idea. People share things with which they find themselves nodding in agreement. Or perhaps they find themselves shaking their heads in disagreement. They may even get excited by what they’re seeing in a post, and want others to be just as moved as they are.
HERE’S WHAT TO DO NEXT:
1. What is your brand’s unique story?
What’s your brand’s unique story? Who are you? What are you about? What’s your purpose? How are you different from others in your market? In your industry? Can you answer those questions without using the words service and/or people?
2. What’s your unique storytelling method?
You know how your friend or neighbor or parent or grandparent — you know that one person — had that way of telling stories that made them the person that by end of the night everyone was sort of gathered around listening to while they regaled them with stories? Your brand can do things like that…if you have a methodology.
We’re talking about going beyond the facts of the story now. Rather, do you have a great plan for how to tell your brand story in a way that’s compelling, uses good story structure, sparks curiosity, and so on? If you’re a little unsure, we can help with that, too.
3. What brand personality is going to show through in your brand story?
If you don’t have a unique content brand personality, you run the risk of your story sounding a bit more like a 2:00 a.m. History Channel documentary (not that there’s anything wrong with those, but that’s not why people are checking out your social media channel).