WELCOME to Storytelling Your Brand 101!
During this crash course, I’ll be discussing some storytelling elements that will assist you in building a marketing narrative that is 1) accurate and 2) human.
When we direct the majority of our focus and efforts on generating sales and building clientele, it’s easy to forget to throw a dash of humanity into the mix.
I live for analogies so let’s start off with one:
Your business’s marketing narrative is a chocolate cake recipe, and it calls for one egg. The egg here is humanness (ironic I suppose), which adds structure, color, and flavor to your “cake”. There are businesses out there that forget the egg entirely (and if your cake has no fluff, then someone WILL call you out on your bluff.) Of course, there are businesses that add just the one egg because it’s required, bare-minimum, does the job, etc. Then, there are passionate businesses that add multiple eggs to their cake, because they want to show just how fluffy they can get.
The takeaway? Cake is always a good idea… and you can never be too human.
At some point in our business plan, we’re forced to circle back to square one and come to the realization that without compelling stories that showcase our humanness, we’re just the generic brand…or a really flat cake.
Storytelling is just about the most human thing we do on a regular basis. It’s how we learn and connect with people, places, and things without leaving our personal bubble. For some, it’s a way to cope with the trials of everyday life.
Now, it’s easy to tell others our own business story because it’s OUR business. If you’re a business owner, you may jump at any opportunity to tell someone about how your business came to be and how large your footprint in your respective industry is becoming, or has already become.
But that’s only half the narrative.
How is your business helping its customers RIGHT NOW and how are you communicating that to your audience full of potential customers?
You already know what you’re doing for your current customers, but part of answering the second half of that question falls into understanding your potential customer’s needs, which may require a little research on your end. Perhaps the worst that we can do as business owners is assume what our potential customers want. Your narrative will need to express that you, as a business owner, can relate to your potential customer’s feelings and desires. By default, this makes your brand more memorable, which in turn will highly influence purchasing decisions.
This leads into establishing trust and rapport with a potential customer, which is arguably the toughest part of the process.
According to Psychologists, a neurochemical in the brain called Oxytocin increases a person’s level of trust in a storyteller. If you tell a story well enough, Oxytocin is released in the brain as a listener is engaged, increasing their chances of trusting you, your brand/service, and validity of your story.
A good story should be accurate, but it should also be a UNIQUE one. Make it relatable, engaging, and human. Add those eggs!
Let’s say you’ve created a clothing brand and you’re selling apparel online. I have a couple questions:
- Are you asking your current customers for their reviews of your clothing quality and selection? If so, how are you currently responding to negative reviews? Turn a negative into a positive for someone who invested in your brand. Give that story a happy ending!
- Are your sizes exclusive to those that are also plus size and petite? If so, are you taking suggestions from customers and responding with action? If able, expand your size range. Another happy ending!
- Has your product helped to impact a customer’s self-confidence in a positive way? If so, have you asked them to share that story or user experience with you? Happy endings all around!
Collect that data and (with permission) make it a reflection of your brand’s power to positively impact the lives of others. Not only does your business grow organically, but you now have created a group of ambassadors that have connected with your brand and will inevitably use their own platforms to story-tell your brand too.
Another analogy, just for fun:
Your marketing narrative is a 1000-ct puzzle and your storytelling efforts are JUST the pieces that comprise the puzzle’s borders. It’s the way we always start, right? We start to see the picture, but it’s a process to add to the middle, piece by piece. The rest of the puzzle is to be filled from the stories of those you’ve impacted through your brand’s efforts to stay connected beyond the sale or transaction. The need to appear more accurate and human in your marketing narrative is nearly done for you at this point.
This is applicable to any small to large business—regardless of the industry you’re in, you just have to showcase what you’ve helped create or do for the customers and clients you’ve already had, to the potential ones that are looking for the same service or results. Help them see what you’re able to see on a daily basis.
Of course, targeting those audiences is an entirely different crash course, and I look forward to delivering that course to you in the near future.
Thank you for taking my crash course! I hope it was EGGStremely valuable.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Marketer,
*About the Writer/Marketer:
Dounia currently serves as the Business Development Manager at Momentum Marketing Consultants, with a background in English and Creative Writing.