If your brand doesn't tell a STORY, people won't give a SH*T.
Updated: May 5, 2021
Pardon my language, but storytelling is the most important part of marketing your brand. Let me explain...
Storytelling is weaved into everything you market.
Think about your favourite brands.
Think about why they're the first ones you think of.
Some of my favourites are West Jet, Apple, and American Eagle. I choose to love these brands for three main reasons:
They are inspiring.
They are innovative.
They stand for something more than their products or services they sell.
Okay that's fantastic, but wait... How do I know these things about these brands? How do YOU know that the brands you love are great?!
...because they have captivated you with some narrative that tells a story about innovation.
...because they have inspired you with a story about the ways they contribute to society.
...because they have presented a story connecting them to a cause that aligns with the values that you perceive to be important to you and the world you live in.
A brand that is able to communicate a story wins.
I'll break it down for you a little more:
West Jet = Canadian Airline Company.
Apple = Sells technology.
American Eagle = Sells Apparel.
West Jet = Love Where You're Going
Apple = Think Different
American Eagle = Live Your Life
These are all current company slogans. But here are some specific examples of marketing initiatives that contribute to solidifying that general statement.
Have you ever seen the WestJet "Women in Aviation" video? They tell a story about their commitment to inclusivity and change in a 40 second video announcing their dedication to women moving forward.
I believe that Apple is committed to propelling our world forward. I believe they aim for an environmentally sustainable way to improve technology. Watch them tell the story in this video that gives me chills.
If you're a female living in 2020 you likely know about American Eagle/Aerie Body Positivity campaigning. They're a brand that sells clothing. But they are dedicated to capturing real people. No airbrush, no retouch.
There are so many other brands who have mastered the art of storytelling that I could literally list examples forever. But I hope I've proved my point by now.
Figuring out your brand's story...
...is not always easy. But it really is essential to figure out how to tie your marketing initiatives to a story. Information travels faster, farther, more accurately, more frequently when it is disguised in what seems like chatter amongst friends.
"But, Jes, I'm a *insert business here*. How do I tell a story about THAT?"
Here's some tips for your storytelling brainstorming session:
Consider what makes you go to work everyday.
Leave income on the sidelines for this one. We know income is important but other than shareholders, no one cares about your bottom line. Think about your family, your community, the people's lives you want to change or help, the things you want to build, the future you want to create.
Give your brand a personality.
People buy from companies they can relate to. By getting a little bit more personal, you are humanizing your company. This also helps to build trusted relationships with your consumers. Create a consistent voice for your company that you can commit to using across all digital platforms as well as offline ads.
Go back to your mission/vision.
Your company's mission statement is usually a great start. You would have had an idea early on about the foundation you wanted to build your company on. What were your thoughts for your company's conception? Can you tell a story about that?
Employees are the face of your brand.
For most small to medium sized companies, your employees are the closest thing you have to brand ambassadors. Talk to your employees about why they wanted to work for you. What kinds of things do they experience? What is there experience, their point of view, their perspective on your company or industry at large?
Existing customers experience with your brand.
Testimonials are a strong way to create social proof of your company's ability, only they are not the same as storytelling. Consider a special customer, someone who stands out because they had an experience with your product or service that was so great that they had to share it with you. Can you retell the story using photos or videography?
Think of your ideal customer.
You're going to hear me say this one a lot. That's because I believe marketing is a study about people. "People like us do things like this." My favourite Seth Godin quote. Who is your product or service created to help? What does their life look like? Build a profile for them and then tell a story about how your product contributes to their life.
Say you are the owner of a small tomato farm. You might have some photos that, together, look something like this:
Don't get me wrong - these photos make the tomatoes look really fresh and yummy. They make me want a caprese salad right now! BUT... they don't tell a story.
With a simple stock image search, I've added some photos of people. Employees or children help give the tomato farm some personality. This kind of imagery is relatable. They entice action.
Sooo... I admit, the title of this blog might be a little extreme. You may have loyal customers that give a shit about your company without investing in storytelling marketing and if you do that's great! But please remember, if your competitors are effectively marketing using a narrative that your prospective customers are buying into, than you run the risk of losing out on sales and stunting the growth of your business.
Stories separate the lively brand from the small business and draw the line between brand ambassadors and one-time buyers.
Give your brand something that people can form a connection with. Something that makes them feel good for doing business with you.
If you need further help packaging a story that accurately and authentically represents your brand, reach out to us at Cuckoo Brand Partners.