How do you grab your audience's attention and maintain interest in your brand? By employing brand storytelling, of course! But what exactly is brand storytelling and how should you go about telling your startup's story?
What is Brand Storytelling?
Brand storytelling is a way to show what your brand has to offer, rather than just telling your audience about it. You employ the concept of brand storytelling by creating a long-term story arc, being consistent, and showing what you care about.
Our brains are hardwired to respond to stories. This has been confirmed repeatedly by the field of narrative psychology. Stories don't just help us make decisions; they're how we make decisions.
Here are some tips, best practices, and things to remember in developing your brand's story.
Be authentic and consistent
When building out the story of your brand, it's important to be, well, you. Start from the beginning. Why does your brand exist? What hole in the market are you striving to fill? What inspired you to launch your company? What were the earliest days like? Find some of the magic moments that helped build your company into what it is today. What do you have to offer? Why are you different from your competitors? What are some setbacks you faced?
For your story to be a compelling one you should describe something happening, not a static set of facts. Set out the goals your brand aims to accomplish on behalf of customers. Talk about what stands in the way of achieving those goals and which obstacle is the greatest challenge.
Tell the audience what insight or conviction defines your approach to solving their problem. After all, your origin story plays a large role in making sure your brand (and its story) is seen as authentic. Other than making money, what motivated you to start your company? Detail the convictions you followed. Talk about mission and passion and how they influence how your team operates.
Then, make your message consistent across the board. Share your story in your voice on your About Us page and across your social media bios. Your company's mission statement should guide your brand's story. They should mesh and work well together. Often a simple phrase that illustrates your unique sell proposition is all you need. Use it as a reference tool for a marketing playbook.
Know your audience
You have to start out grabbing people's attention so they can get invested in your story, and in order to do that, you need to know who your customer is. This will take some research. Ask yourself these questions about your target audience:
- What's the core demographic?
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- What are the issues you want to help solve for them?
- What motivates them?
- What problems do they face?
Doing the necessary research upfront allows you to base your story arc on things you have a solid reason to believe will resonate with your audience. You know them and their particular pain points and passions so you can determine how your brand story fits into their lives.
Knowing your audience will also guide how you tell your story in that it will show you how you should best talk to them. Do you want your tone to be formal or playful? Well, this will depend on who you're speaking to.
If you choose the wrong tone, your information won't get read. So, it's also important to figure out what kind of language will keep your audience interested.
Often it's helpful to think of your brand as a person who your customers might meet in their day-to-day lives. Develop that person's distinctive voice and style in a way that you know will speak to your target market in a way that's effective.
Consistency is key
We know we started out talking about consistency, but it merits another mention.
People are exposed to tons of advertising and are generally good at spotting a brand that is not authentic. Keep your brand consistent with the values it associates itself with. When you make a promise, keep it. If your brand touts a value, be sure you don't turn around and contradict that value. Inconsistent behavior will cause customers to leave.
Your startup's values are part of the brand story. Show why they're important and tell how you intend to abide by them. Keep your message consistent in all marketing channels to maintain the trust in your brand's authenticity.
Connect with your community
Providing exceptional products and service is important, but it alone can't ensure the audience will love your brand and keep coming back. Foster a sense of connection using social media. Interact with customers who have taken the time to interact with you. All of them, even if what they had to say wasn't complimentary.
In today's crowded marketplace it can hard to reach people. The conversations you have with current customers or followers on social media is a great place to showcase your brand's personality and, thus, your brand's story. This social back-and-forth is also an essential piece of using your current customer's voices to encourage prospects to take a chance on your brand. Nothing you say or do will ever be as powerful as a customer testimonial. So don't ignore the connections that can be made on social media.
Every business has a story
Regardless of the particular business, no matter the industry, product or service, every business is built of people, by people, and for people. People start a business and run a business. People are your customers. The people are where you'll find your story.
Each customer-facing aspect of your business should tell your story: your website, blog, social media platforms, and all marketing materials. Your invoices, receipts, and emails are also part of this effort. Any physical location should also reflect what you're all about.
The goal is to get customers so familiar with who are and what you can provide to them that they seek you out as a trusted, reliable resource for their needs. Tell your story, do it consistently, and you'll be well on your way!