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Brand storytelling is the magic touch most brands need these days. In the world of machines and digital technology, people have a strong need to connect.
People need a story to relate to on a personal level, a belief that’s not too different from theirs, a concept to make them feel something. While, a brand needs to engage its target audience, introduce its backstory and turn its customers into supporters.
And this is exactly what storytelling does.
What is brand storytelling? Why do you need it? What are some tips for successful brand storytelling? These and more questions about this powerful content marketing tool will find their answers in this article.
So, buckle up, and let’s jump right into it:
Say, you meet a person, that you’ve never seen before, at a bar or on social media. They have something attractive about themselves that interests you and just pulls you in.
So, what would you do about it?
You try to know more about them - their story because everyone has one, right?
The same goes for brands. When people accidentally bump into your brand, they want to know the story behind it, your inspiration, and of course - what you really are about.
Successful brand storytelling brings the facts, reasons, and emotions together. It forms a faithful community around the brand and maximizes its impact. It gives people something they want to be a part of because they know that you get them, they care about your backstory and where you’re heading to.
Almost everyone is captivated by stories because they connect people and ideas. Stories make it easier for people to remember and trust a person or a brand.
In fact, it’s even proven scientifically. According to research, chemicals like oxytocin (creating deeper connections), cortisol (formulating memories), and dopamine (regulating emotional responses such as sympathy) are active in our brain when we’re told a story. This is also why stories are 22 times more memorable than facts and figures.
So, what is brand storytelling?
Brand storytelling refers to creating a narrative that shows the values of your brand, in order to connect your brand with your audience.
Are brand storytelling and brand story the same?
You’ve probably come across “brand story” mixed with "brand storytelling". However, they are slightly different in some contexts.
Now, what is a brand story?
A brand story is exactly what it says - it’s the story, the history of your brand. It can include everything about the company: from the idea about starting it to how it’s become an influential brand.
Here’s a great brand story example by Starbucks Coffee. They start from their beginning days and ease into the charities they support and the good they’ve done throughout the years. They show what they believe in and what more they plan to do.
However, when it comes to brand storytelling, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the story of your brand. In this case, the brand shows its traits and characteristics through a hero's story, that most people can relate to or feel emotional about.
Here are two brand storytelling examples for you to get the hang of it.
In this ad released by Mercedes Benz in 2016, the hero of the story is a kid wanting to get to his date, even when the weather is not on his side.
It’s emotional and insanely cute. It tells a touching story while showing (not telling) the durability of their cars, and that with this car you'll get to your destination no matter what.
Ryan Raynold’s famous not only as an actor but as the co-owner of the Aviation Gin company as well. His commercials for the brand are iconic due to his humor and style, which is somewhat fresh air in the digital marketing world.
In this Aviation Gin commercial, he’s sharing his dedication to his company, by asking the audience a question “How far would you go for your company?” and showing the process of creating the Ryan Reynolds signature bottle. It’s touching and a bit humorous if you’re familiar with his acting.
The story makes you appreciate the hard work he’s done by blowing the bottle himself and etching his signature.
These days we bump into various examples of storytelling by the majority of brands. Storytelling is a huge part of marketing campaigns due to these advantages:
Whether your brand is new or a well-known one, storytelling will help you grab the attention of your potential customers faster. Just like we get enchanted when someone tells us their life story, customers too are attracted to a catchy beginning. They will keep listening to see where the story leads, so it’s crucial to think of a captivating opening scene.
In 2018 Disney released a cute and inspirational story with a baby duck hero, who follows its dream to meet the famous Donald Duck in Disneyland. You can see the story unfold within almost a minute, and from the very first scene, you are hooked, aren’t you?
With the world population trying to make positive changes, most people stand with brands that have a positive impact.
These days most people don’t get things because they like them, they’re support brands that have a message and purpose. They want to see what you stand for and share something that’s not just a brand, but a whole culture.
When you show that there are actual people behind the product, with values, aspirations, and dreams, people are bound to trust your brand.
iPad is one of the bestselling tech products. Their commercials full of people and their everyday stories have surely played a huge part in it.
In 2020 Apple released a crazy (in the best way possible) story about working from home. They’ve come up with diverse characters to promote iPad and other Apple products with their features, such as the measuring tool, the scanning tools, etc.
The story shows the whole working process of this hilarious team, and the best part is that people watching the video can actually relate to them. Check it out, and see if it’s a page from your life as well!
It’s true, every story is different and unique in its own special way, and the same goes for your business.
By coming up with various tactics to share a story as a part of your marketing campaign, you’re taking a huge step closer to standing out in the market. You can say the same thing as your competitor, yet, the way you’re doing it is going to leave a stronger impression and have a greater impact.
Warby Parker is an eyewear company that's promoting their glasses by showing the process of creating them and telling about the material they use. They help people have an idea about how the brand operates. It makes their customers feel like they are a part of the process and not just customers.
Storytelling has helped many companies find their brand voice and style on digital platforms. Nike is one of those brands that has made the stories of its customers their voice.
These days it’s hard to imagine a Nike commercial without a story to impress. They share captivating and motivational messages which make it hard to ignore. They put the stress on equality, strength, and unity - concepts that most are trying hard to spread.
In yet another golden campaign called “You can’t stop…”, Nike has chosen several athletes to share their powerful stories. In the particular storytelling example above, professional tennis players Venus and Serena Williams share their story of being sisters, rather than competitors like the whole world sees them as.
With this story, Nike shows their support for the “Women support women” movement, not just their sportswear. And how can one ignore such amazing brands?
Every good story has elements. They make your storyline more organized and help your audience follow without any difficulties and unanswered questions. The elements of a narrative are:
The protagonist, the hero of your story has to be the representation of your customers. It has to be someone (or something) they feel like they can relate to, and connect with on a personal level.
The setting includes the time, the place, and the mood of your story. It creates the surrounding of the hero, so the story can develop.
The conflict of your story can be anything - wrong assumptions, personal struggles, a misjudging community, etc. What matters the most is having your hero overcome the difficulties in an inspiring, fun, and relatable way.
When it comes to the basic brand storytelling structure, it’s made up of:
Exposition: The introduction of the setting and where you grab the attention of your audience with a hook.
Rising Action: Where you set the story in motion by highlighting the conflict.
Climax: The pick of your story, the turning point.
Falling Action: The path to a satisfying ending.
Resolution: The final message and where the story comes to its end.
But knowing and applying the basic structure to your story doesn’t mean it’s going to be overly successful. There are a couple of qualities that people usually look for in every story, and having them in yours will surely put you at an advantage.
The overall purpose of brand storytelling is to connect with your audience. To do so, you have to come up with a meaningful story. Show your company values and characteristics through indirect techniques, such as choosing a hero that represents your values.
For example, by watching the “They can’t stop sisters”, we don’t think Nike is promoting its sportswear, we accept it as a support move for all women and athletes.
What we love most about Google, is that it never feels like they are promoting a product.
In the video posted recently, Google is promoting the Google search bar with their iconic style for videos.
They are showing the timeline of quarantine, something everyone in the world has gone through since 2020. Within a minute they make you feel and relate to the video while taking you back through it all. And then, they make you almost tear up when they edit the text in the search bar, because well… we all have been there.
So, for successful brand storytelling, you need to show emotion in your voice and script. Even when you haven’t shot a single scene, your words and text have the power to affect people, and vise versa: you can have no words, but emotional scenes that tell a whole story. At the end of the day as unique as every story is, some are completely relatable, and your customers will appreciate it.
Take this brilliant story by McDonald’s UK. Many of us have bumped into an unfamiliar coffee shop, where the coffee we got is not the coffee we know. McDonald’s has used those stories in marketing and turned them around to promote their coffee (McCafe).
Don’t use big words that take too much space and time in your script. Try to be as friendly and interactive with your audience as possible. Instead of telling about something with endless descriptive adjectives, try to show them.
Don’t be a fake, because even if you think people don’t notice, they will.
So, say what you mean and avoid saying what you don’t. Making up stories about the start of your business or your values with a lot of fiction and no facts whatsoever, will come back and haunt your brand at one point.
Visual storytelling has been around since long ago, and the old carvings on stones are good evidence of that. The evolution of visual storytelling happened gradually as society developed and became more aware of the surrounding world.
Now the most common practice of brand storytelling is visual storytelling. Visual storytelling can be found in ads, billboards, posters, banners, etc.
The ultimately famous form of visual storytelling is video. Video storytelling has become such a widespread phenomenon, that these days it’s hard to imagine the marketing world without it.
According to statistics, 70% of businesses say that videos boost brand awareness, which makes video storytelling even more enhancing. It helps a brand show, rather than tell, and seeing is believing.
To know more about creating meaningful and brilliant videos for your marketing campaign here’s an article about 8 powerful video storytelling tips, that can help you in your video storytelling journey.
Create your story right now with beautiful brand storytelling templates, by clicking the button below, choosing a template, and adding your media files.
Brand storytelling is the process of connecting with your audience through a narrative that shows your brand values.
It has become a vital part of content marketing since it’s also a great way to promote your product or service. A great story makes a brand unique, grabs the attention of your target audience almost immediately, helps you find your brand voice, and boosts your sales.
But how do you come up with a mind-blowing story? You can start with understanding the structure and the elements of a story, making your storyline simple, emotional, authentic, and relatable.
Stories unite people and concepts, so why not share yours?
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