Humans have been telling stories since the dawn of time. The art of storytelling is an ancient and powerful device for communicating ideas, emotions and values.
Did you know that we’re 22 times more likely to retain messages that are delivered to us in a story?
On a fundamental level, our lizard brains filter through the usefulness of the stories we encounter by asking one primal question, “is what I’m hearing helping me to survive and thrive?”
As we’ve evolved through the Digital Revolution, this elemental method of communication remains absolutely essential. In commercial spaces, storytelling helps to move the audience from the intellectual plane to the emotional plane.
In today’s marketing landscape, compelling and emotionally driven storytelling is more important than ever before as content is forced to battle for users’ limited attention in crowded digital spaces.
The Framework of a Brand Story
All great stories don’t simply move from point A to point B. They highlight an experience of transformation that goes even further, to point C. In branded storytelling, the brand comes in at the climax of the story to carry the hero towards resolution and facilitate their transformation.
In Donald Miller’s Building A StoryBrand, he lays out a framework for successful storytelling:
- A Character. A character that resonates with the viewer garners empathy and draws their attention into the story your brand is telling.
- Has a Problem. Problems can be external, internal or philosophical. These problems must be relevant to your viewers, or they will stop paying attention to your brand.
- And Meets a Guide. The brand is always the guide, while the consumer is the hero of the story.
- Who Gives Them a Plan. A step-by-step plan creates trust in the guide.
- And Calls Them to Action. Unless you clearly call audiences to action, they will not take it.
- That Helps Them Avoid Failure. If there are no consequences of not doing business with your brand, there is no real reason to do business with you.
- And Ends in a Success. The story should paint a vivid picture for consumers of what their lives could look like with the brand’s products or services.
In general, this story should result in a simple, relevant message with one main point. The process of repeating this message until it sticks in public consciousness is the essence of branded storytelling. When brands lack decisiveness in their messaging, it leads to overwhelming and confusing their audience. The worst possible outcome.
Stories should highlight the brand’s expertise. This could involve telling stories about how the brand solved a difficult problem for a customer, or about how the brand’s products or services have helped people achieve their goals.
By positioning themselves as an authority in the market they are trying to fill, brands can build trust and credibility with consumers.
One of the best ways for a brand to build trust is by showing empathy rather than only focusing on the solution(s) it provides its customers.
First Person Point of View
First person storytelling tends to be the most effective in building empathy because it allows the audience to feel like they’re living the story alongside the protagonist.
While second and third person storytelling definitely have their place in the brand communication world, in my opinion their usage is less broadly applicable.
Second person can feel prescriptive and while third person storytelling is more objective, it can also be less engaging.
Some Other Tips
Storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to connect with consumers on a deeper level. By following the principles of effective storytelling, brands can create stories that are memorable, engaging, and persuasive.
In addition to the points mentioned above, here are some other tips for effective brand storytelling:
- Use strong visuals. Visuals can be a powerful way to tell a story and capture attention. Make sure your visuals are high-quality and relevant to the story you are telling.
- Be authentic. People can spot a fake from a mile away. Be genuine in your storytelling and let your personality shine through.
- Be consistent. Your brand’s storytelling should be consistent across all channels. This will help to create a strong brand identity and build trust with consumers.
By following these tips, you can use storytelling to create effective brand communication that will connect with consumers on a deeper level.
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