Recently, when speaking about branding and promotion, experts are increasingly focusing on storytelling as the most important communication tool. While brands have always understood the importance of creating an emotional connection with their audiences, storytelling as a brand discipline has only recently begun to gain traction and is still in active development.
Founder of a branding agency Maeutica Aya Taksildaryan talks about why storytelling has come to the fore in branding communications in today’s world, what a good story should be, and how it can help a brand stand out from its competitors.
According to marketing platform OneSpot, 92% of consumers prefer brand advertising in the form of stories. And this is not surprising, since personal stories and gossip, on average, make up 65% of our conversations. They reflect a person’s need to understand and emotionally perceive certain events.
People are waiting and wanting to be told stories. It is the simplest and most effective tool for creating a connection between a brand and its audience. The story, and the emotions embedded in it, make the brand communications bright and memorable. With equal objective characteristics, the audience chooses those brands that were able to bind to themselves precisely at the level of emotions.
So what should be good brand storytelling?
1. This is a story by all the rules
Good brand storytelling requires narrative elements. The narrative is structured according to certain canons and includes characters, setting, conflict, rising action, climax and denouement.
All elements must be put into a logic puzzle, where the pieces of the story support each other. Breaking down into parts helps to capture the most important moments in the story, maintain continuity between statements and control the rhythm.
2. She is unique
The story should be built on your unique vision, morality, and brand values. It is the driving force behind the business that sets you apart from the competition.
First of all, the company must identify the main essence of the brand, and then convey it to its audience. Find those few words that most accurately answer the question “why are we doing this?” This is how Disney creates a “family party”, not films and attractions.
3. It is constant and stable.
The story is based on the unchanging essence of the brand. The foundation on which the brand and its communications are built should be as stable and flexible as possible, and the values should be timeless.
A strong brand and an inherently eternal history can withstand any changes to come.
4. It is relevant
The information field and society around us are in constant motion. Not following these changes and not adapting is stagnation, which invariably leads to image losses.
While the core of the brand is unchanged, the individual elements of the story should be relevant in the period of time in which the potential brand carrier is in contact with it.
5. She is adaptable
The story should be adaptable and the narrative should change depending on which audience the brand is telling its story to.
So, for example, a story that a brand tells its customers (aimed at external audiences) is likely to cause much less emotion among company staff (internal audience), and vice versa.
6. She is close and understandable
The topics that the story touches must resonate with the audience for which it is intended.
Understand how your audiences live, what they strive for, and what they sympathize with. Which story will be relevant to them, and which will cause rejection. Build communications based on this knowledge.
7. It’s about people
History is not just a list of facts and events. History is how people react to these facts and events, how they feel and how they find the strength to overcome circumstances, find a solution, and win. It is based on human experiences and emotions. A story from people, about people and for people.
8. It was created with a precise purpose.
Ultimately, any company has a purpose – to realize its commercial / non-commercial potential. A brand and its attributes are tools created for a specific purpose and for a specific audience.
A beautiful emotional story that does not fulfill its marketing / communication goal is a literary artifact.
9. She inspires change
Great brands, like great leaders, they lead.
The best stories inspire, make you dream, change. They are not necessarily about what was or is, they are about what we believe in, what we strive for, how we want to see the world and what we do to make our vision come true.
10. She’s true
Finally, the brand story must be true. And the brand, accepting the truth of its story, must confirm it with every step.
The discrepancy between the words and promises of the brand and its actions will inevitably lead to a communication crisis and, ultimately, the loss of trust of its audiences and the general public. The greater the emotional contribution, the stronger the return, both positive and negative.