I can still remember the first “big girl” book I ever received – Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby, Age 8. That little book sparked a lifelong fascination with stories, stories that I’m still eager to absorb today as both a reader and a consumer.
A good story can make or break a brand. But getting your branding story right is one of the toughest exercises a high-growth company will go through. It takes an open mind and the guiding hand of a well-practiced marketing firm to lead the way. With the right foundation in place, your brand can attract both customers and influencers.
So in celebration of National Tell A Story Day, let’s take a look at the best practices that drive the unwritten art of a compelling brand story.
– Set the tone for your brand identity. One of the key elements of your brand story is figuring out what your narrative is and to whom you’re telling it. Ask key questions about your company, your culture, your product and your target audience to set a tone for your brand. Place a high premium on creativity, but don’t go so far out on a limb that you risk alienating those who you’re trying to reach. For example, a casual approach in your materials and accompanying visuals might fall flat with an older, conservative audience.
– Ensure your story has a beginning, middle and an end. Throughout all of your materials, tell compelling stories that draw in the audience. Each piece – whether a webpage, product flyer or case study – should set up a challenge and have a conclusion that spurs the audience to act. Your story should also connect with the audience on an emotional level and be more than a list of product features and benefits. But don’t give it all away either; engage the audience with dynamic content that keeps them coming back for more. And above all, be honest about both your company and your product.
– Establish yourself as an authority. We all see Apple as tech innovator for a reason – its branding. What good is your branding if your target customers, the media and other influencers don’t see you as a subject matter expert? Communicate a passion for your field, your product and helping your customers solve their primary challenges, and people will recognize your experience can help them overcome their own business problems.
– Borrow inspiration from your favorite brands. While we don’t encourage lifting messaging or branding from other companies – especially competitors, there’s no harm in looking to leading brands for a little inspiration. Does the storytelling in the “Share a Coke” campaign resonate with you? Or would the humor in those Nationwide “Mayhem” commercials really land with your target customer base? See if there’s a way to adapt it for your brand, product and audience.
– Communicate across all channels. No brand exists in a vacuum. Now that you’ve written a brand story, don’t leave it on the shelf. Tell it across all channels – web, print, social, videos – wherever your audience is. Ensure your story is consistent (and persistent), with social campaigns that promote eBooks, case studies and other written content; media and analyst outreach that reinforces the pillars of the brand and further establishes authority; and a dynamic website with compelling content that takes the customer on a journey.
Everyone loves a good story, especially one they connect with on an emotional level. Create an honest, compelling brand story that keeps your audience coming back for more. And then deliver it, far and wide via dynamic content.