Written by Kit Falvey
The components of a good story are as ancient as the art of storytelling. Interests and audiences change over time, but a good story always delivers a unique and memorable message. A good story changes readers’ perceptions. A very good story motivates their actions.
Brands, like people, have stories to share. Brand stories aren’t pitches – the intent of storytelling is not to persuade, but to build a relationship with the customer – to connect, inform and engage. A brand story may result in a sale, but the long-term objective is to create an ongoing relationship with the customer.
Before crafting your brand’s story, start by identifying your objective in telling the story – are you introducing a new company, an innovative service or a unique point-of-view? Do you understand your target audience and its interests? And does your story have a take-away – a specific message that you want customers to remember? Avoid the temptation to speak to everyone about everything you have to offer. Remember, you have lots of stories to tell.
To keep away from pitching or selling too hard, include the following criteria in your storytelling approach.
Authenticity – be genuine. Deliver content that reflects your core values, your company’s particular culture or your unique differentiator as a brand. Avoid making your story a data dump or a list of features and benefits. Whole Foods serves up produce and its story with a healthy dose of values around environmental stewardship, ethical sourcing and employee excellence – as well as a commitment to delighting its customers.
Relevance – be relatable. Provide information of value to your audience. Your story may be about you, but it has to interest your customer. Ikea understands what its customers want: inventive small-space solutions, sound functionality and clean design – at a great price. Their storytelling moves beyond product offerings to decorating tips, lifestyle trends and design fixes for nesters looking for form, function and value from a trusted source.
Engagement – be emotional in the smartest way. Apple knows how to deliver a positive user experience and the latest technology and functionality in a way that evokes an emotional response among users. Their story includes an independent approach to the marketplace, a dedication to the pursuit of beautiful design and intuitive functionality and a refusal to consider value pricing – and in doing so they’ve created an almost fanatical devotion to the brand among users who value these traits.
Don’t be dissuaded – your brand story is as unique as the brands mentioned above. And whether your story is simple, insightful, serious, inspirational or even entertaining, just tell your story consistently, authentically and in a relatable way. We rely on these techniques daily when crafting stories for our clients. Check out our Reuben Rink portfolio to read about Steele Group Architects’ authentic approach to practicing responsibly social architecture, Forsyth Tech’s relevant messaging to students looking to build a career, or Grayson National Bank’s engaging communications in support of the community it serves.