As a company, Novel Coworking has grown from one to 31 locations nationwide, and we’ve come to realize that our narrative isn’t just our own — it’s comprised of the thousands of unique stories of our clients.
But how do our clients tell their own stories? This week’s blog post explores why storytelling is important for brands and how to share effective narratives.
What is brand storytelling?
Everyone is familiar with storytelling through books, television, and art, but what does it mean for your brand?
Brand storytelling builds awareness, engagement, and relationships with audiences by leveraging relatability. It encompasses more than the messages sent by the brand itself. The story includes facts, feelings, and interpretations which become messages shared by both the brand and the public.
According to Small Business Trends, brand storytelling combines:
– Who you are
– What you do
– How you solve problems
– How you engage and contribute
How is storytelling related to content marketing?
While brand storytelling more broadly refers to both intentional and unintentional messages sent by a brand, content marketing focuses on materials published by the brand itself. Content marketing can include blogs, videos, newsletters, and social media posts.
Why is storytelling so important?
Quality brand stories inspire trust and foster engagement. Below are three key benefits of brand storytelling.
Stand out from the crowd
Attention is the new currency. Brands are producing endless streams of content in order to compete for brief seconds of consumer attention. While the internet has made marketing more accessible, it has also made it more difficult to stand out from the crowd.
Instead of focusing exclusively on statistics and testimonials, brands can use storytelling to make their content memorable and relatable. The best stories provoke an emotional response from audiences. Brand stories can include history, challenges, successes, and value propositions. Stories make a brand unique and difficult to replicate.
Attract the right audience
By using stories to create a deep emotional connection, brands can turn one-time customers into brand advocates. How does a brand build these lasting relationships? It starts conversations, builds engagement, and asks audiences to take part in the story. One of the best ways to foster a digital community is by providing emotional value — and that’s how storytelling can help. What emotions, values, and ideas can you offer your audience?
Make your brand more human
Consumers want to support brands that are making a positive impact on the world. Storytelling is a great way to share a brand’s mission and connect with audiences on a human level. According to Harvard Business Review, “There is a direct link between empathy and commercial success.” Use storytelling to inspire audiences to share their support.
How can you tell better stories for your business?
Draw on emotion – When crafting a story it’s important to consider what emotions should be conveyed and what anecdotes support that emotion.
Focus on authenticity – Decide what makes the brand authentic and then be consistent. Consumers will disengage if a brand does not live their values and consistently project authentic messaging.
Make it relatable – What problem is your core audience facing and how can the brand relate? What concerns or tensions can be addressed through the story? By relating on a human level and providing solutions, the brand can ingrain itself into the lives of viewers and readers.
Identify core values – The brand and its audiences should align with a few non-negotiable beliefs. Sharing these value systems will help to connect the brand to consumers.
How to measure storytelling success
Storytelling is not always about an immediate financial gain. One of the benefits of telling great brand stories is that the brand becomes more human, so the measure of success should examine how audiences are relating to the material. Consider the following examples: social and community engagement, audience growth, press coverage, and increase in earned media.
Successful storytelling examples
Warby Parker – This is a socially-conscious brand with a genuine vision. Warby Parker donates a portion of their profits to make eyewear available in underserved communities around the world. By making a social impact, the brand has developed a loyal following.
Burt’s Bees – The company’s founder models how to live simply, naturally and responsibly. Brand stories share Burt’s lifestyle and how products are made. This mini-documentary is just one example.
Airbnb – The property rental company provides a forum for customers to tell their own stories. These micro-stories add up to tell the larger brand story. Airbnb’s strategy is effective because it builds consumer affiliation while also building a sense of trust, safety, and familiarity.
Narratives play a key role in any brand’s marketing strategy. Want to start writing your own success story? Join our community of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and enterprise companies today.
Interested in learning more about growing your business? Read our guide on startup growth hacking here.