We all grow up with stories. From the fairy tales we get told before going to bed, to the reality TV shows that become our guilty pleasures in our adult lives. Stories are easier to relate to, they lead to a better understanding and they evoke emotions that are familiar to us.
People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
This is no different for companies. As a strong and engaging brand, you should incorporate these stories into your marketing strategy. Telling stories is all about connecting with your audience. You want them to understand your passion, your brand and the people behind it. It gives your audience the chance to identify shared traits or desired goals. And it will help them understand who you are.
A lot of brand stories are based on how and why you originated. Why did you start your business, what is your purpose or the change you want to create? You want to explain your vision and mission and show them how you are unique compared to your competition. The ultimate goal is to inspire people – and convince them why they should listen to what you have to say.
But your brand story goes further than just your About Us-page. Sure you want to tell your audience what you do, what drives you and who the people behind the scenes are. But your story won’t be very convincing if it’s merely a combination of strategically chosen words that are put on one of your landing pages.
Your story has to be told everywhere. It should be integrated into your omnichannel marketing strategy. Everything you say or do, should be in line with what you stand for. When you create a social media strategy, you have to keep your brand story in mind. And every piece of content you create – should be contributing to the tale you’re telling. With the ease we can create video’s, blog posts, podcast or infographic we create nowadays, we have so many platforms that we can use for our storytelling – and we should make use of it.
What makes a good story
A good story tells about your brand. It’s not a sales pitch where you talk about the features and benefits of your products but it’s where you show what value you can bring to the customer.
And those values have to be real. Creating an authentic story is the only way to establish a longlasting relationship of trust with your customers. Don’t try to push values you don’t actually esteem, in order to follow popular trends such as greenwashing or creating social impact.
Another feature of a good story is an easy structure. You can start by pointing out the need your customers might have. If customers can relate to an existing need they might experience, they are more likely to believe you when you tell them about the solution you offer. A third step would be highlighting your success, and how you achieved to create a solution for a common problem that people are experiencing.
Brands that are doing it right
Both big and small brands make use of storytelling – some do a better job than others. There are a couple of brands that managed to incorporate their brand stories on such a broad scale that every message they send out is in line with their unique brand story. Here’s a list of my favourites:
Coca-Cola is a well-known brand that is known all over the world for bringing joy. That’s what I’d like to call good storytelling. From the big Santa truck that brings you happiness in winter times, to a shared coke with your friends on a hot summer day – we all relate Coca-Cola with smiling faces and togetherness. Coca-Cola brings people together all over the world and everybody knows exactly what the brand stands for.
Key takeaway: A good story takes time. Coca-Cola has been building on its brand story for years, but by being consistent and keep spreading their Coca-Cola happiness their were able to create a long lasting brand image engraved into people’s minds.
HISBE is a supermarket chain in the UK that changed the way supermarkets work. The story starts with ‘chicken pies‘, a relatable topic for many British customers. The founder discovered how big supermarket chains operate in order to cut costs and didn’t agree with it. That’s why she founded HISBE (How It Should Be) – an independent supermarket chain where everything is locally sourced and products are natural.
Key takeaway: This story is a good example of how they present a situation and offer a solution as an improvement. They make their problem relatable for their audience and make their values standing out.
My favourite story is probably the one from AirBnb. Their story is all about communities offering travellers a more authentic and local stay on their travels. The great thing about their storytelling is that they let their customers create the stories with them. They don’t focus on cheaper travel but they aim to create unique experiences. This goes together with beautiful visuals and videos – making you want to book a trip instantly.
Key takeaway: They let their customers have a say in their story. They focus on the people, both the ones that offer their homes as the ones travelling. Furthermore, they understand the importance of compelling and engaging visuals, especially having such a central part in the travel industry.