Brands don’t stand out simply on their features, functionality, and specifications. That’s what defines them, but it’s far from what sells them. This is where storytelling comes in. It’s the story that you tell that makes people care. It’s what builds relationships that last a lifetime and it’s what makes you a success. If you’re looking to fine-tune your story, now is the time.
Find Your Voice
In their “Beginner’s Guide To Internet Marketing,” marketing experts Neil Patel and Ritika Puri open up this guide with “dos and don’ts” for brand storytelling. While you do want to highlight the purpose of your company, its products, its customers and reasons that your team is motivated to come to work every day, you don’t want to push a one-dimensional boring (or obscure) marketing play. Instead of making your company the focus, it’s your job to put the spotlight on your customers. They are why you are here, and you’ll find differentiating success when you play the supporting role. Early hint: Customer success stories are a key element of good brand storytelling.
While this guide is packed full with helpful content, the top-line takeaways are generalized and summarized below.
Don’t be marketers: Well, don’t come off like one, at least. Instead of being boring and sticking to your marketing messages, think about the human being you are trying to appeal to. Would they care about your product sales sheet? No. Instead, appeal to emotion of why they should give you a second thought.
Perfect the conversation: These authors recommend pretending that you are out to coffee or drinks with a new friend. Now in this setting, how would you talk to them? Skip the formal presentation talk and find your comfortable (and engaging!) conversational voice that brings them in and doesn’t tune them out. This includes staying authentic 100% of the time. And, if you are taking this conversation to paper, keep it short and sweet since that’s how you’d talk to them in person.
Build your message architecture: Before you craft individual stories, you need to define your message architecture that will be the all-encompassing personality across all your outreach in every single channel. This is your blueprint. In getting started, brand strategists often rely on a “card sorting exercise” which goes something like this:
- Make your keyword list. Taken from your customers and your employees, compile a list of keywords that are relevant to your brand.
- Put these on note cards.
- Then, categorize them by relevance and in order of priority.
- Put these most important words into sentences that best reflect and describe your brand.
This process will then allow you to put together your message architecture in a more clear and effective way.
Unify your site presence in both the on- and off-line mediums: It’s really important to maintain the same image and brand story in all your homes. Even if you are featured in very different spots, you need to be consistent, truthful, and real in all of them.
Be smart with your words: First, who are you talking to? Is your target audience older and a bit more formal? Or, do you appeal to young people that use more hashtags and abbreviations than anything else? This is incredibly important that you know how to speak to your customers, so use your words and style wisely. It’s very smart to have a brand style guide on hand to better gauge how on-point you are. Here’s a very brief outline as an example:
- Website goal: What are visitors looking to accomplish and can your website get them there?
- Audience: Who are you talking to?
- Core concepts: What should your audience feel after their site visit and/or reading your content? These concepts need to be reinforced.
- Tone: What emotions should they feel?
- Perspective: Who is telling the story? Is it better in first, second, or third person?
- Voice: Are you super relaxed in conversation or a bit more buttoned up? It matters to the story otherwise you may not be heard.
Are You Ready to Be a More Effective Brand Storyteller?
You cannot find brand success without a story. It’s what shapes every facet of your organization including your content, advertising, and public relations. It’s impossible to get off the ground without making your customers your shining focus, as both your inspiration and as your grounding anchor. The customer is what you need to think about as you craft your heart and soul brand story.
What about you? What tips would you share to build the most engaging and powerful brand story?
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