How a Brand Story Helps Build a Strong Relationship With Your Audience
Our whole life is woven from stories. In childhood, we discover the world through fairy tales. As we get older, we tell friends about our adventures. The interlocutor who is ready to share experiences or dreams does so with a pure heart and is not afraid to seem strange; they intuitively inspire credibility. Conversely, if commonplace things are told to us, we try to sneak away to the other end of the room. The same thing happens with brands. To earn the trust of the audience, you need to build a dialogue with customers, i.e., present yourself in an original and witty way. Building a brand story is the best way to highlight the character of your company and introduce your product with additional meanings.
Storytelling is the Key to the Heart of an Audience
Have you ever wondered how we perceive new information? Figures and facts can be impressive, but if abstractly presented, they are unlikely to remain in your memory for more than a couple of days. And vice versa, even the most difficult information is easier to comprehend and remember if it is narrated with an example, i.e., with references to real situations, emotions, to something close and familiar.
Uri Hasson, a Psychology professor from Princeton University, explains this by the formation of neural connections. When we are listening to the interlocutor, a mirror effect occurs. A well-told story activates the parts of the brain responsible for sensory sensations – as if we are passing through someone else’s experience. This is how compelling brand stories become personal customer stories. People want to share them. And, of course, to purchase a product to feel even more of a sense of belonging and relive the experience passed down through history.
How to Write a Brand Story
Make Sense of WHO You Really Are
Ironically, companies can release a product for years and still not understand why and, more importantly, for whom they are doing it. The ultimate goal of any business is to make a profit. But why should buyers give money to you and not your competitors?
The broader the niche you choose, the more critical it is to build a strong brand story. With a wide variety of offers, people are more interested not in the product itself, but the associations related to it. How much a specific thing fits into their lifestyle, emphasizes status, charged with emotions.
Someone remains loyal to the old-school Converse for all their lives, someone cares about the innovation and support of big sports from Nike or Reebok, and someone is in a hurry to pre-order the latest sneakers from Kendrick Lamar without having ties to the collaborating brand. Fashion brand story examples prove that things have long ceased to be just things. Your task is to endow them with those additional meanings that are as close to the audience as possible.
Brand history is not an ad, at least not in the usual sense. Do not try to sell yourself or your product. It looks intrusive and not credible. Tell your customers who you are, what prompted you to launch this business, what challenges you have faced, and what has helped you succeed. Each brand has its path, strengths, and values. They are making the story unique and evoke an emotional response.
Learn About How Your Audience Lives
Have you noticed how the manner of speaking changes when you talk to colleagues, friends, or parents? The topics of conversation, intonations, and accents depending on the circumstances, as we intuitively find an approach to each interlocutor. The only way to tell a good story is to know to whom you are talking. Speak the language of your customers. Be on the same page with them; share the same interests, desires, concerns.
Before creating a brand story, it is worth doing serious marketing research. It is not just standard demographics, geolocation, and purchasing power that matter; you need to learn how this community lives. What problems excite buyers, what brings them joy and makes them smile. Who are they in real life? How do they want to appear to others?
Stay Near and Be Useful
People do not want to hear again that any brand or product is the best in the world (even if it is). First, they would like to form their opinions based on personal experience, and not because someone else has told them. Secondly, it is much more important whether you can solve the pending problem. Theodore Levitt, a professor at Harvard’s Business School, provides a simple example. When people buy quarter-inch drill bores, they do not need the tool itself, but the appropriately sized holes to hang the bookshelf.
The best way to earn trust is to share how your product will be useful in a specific situation. NEST Labs managed to explain this with examples from everyday life: “Saving energy is a beautiful thing.” Over time, safety was added to beauty: thermostats can detect smoke and carbon monoxide, and they were also equipped with surveillance cameras. How successful the brand story example turned out to be can be judged by the fact that Google acquired the company for $3.2 billion just four years after its foundation.
Personalize Your Story
Behind every story is the narrator. Often the founder of the business takes on this role. The Apple success story will always be the Steve Jobs story. When we talk about Tesla, we mean Elon Musk. But even with a charismatic leader, the story of a brand should not be centered around their biography. The brand story should admire and inspire. Therefore, the story should always be centered around unusual decisions, brave experiments, and a challenge to accepted standards.
You do not have to build your brand story around one person. Tell your clients about your team, what inspires you to do your job, stick together, strive to succeed.
Another option is to make your customers the protagonists of the story. People trust other people. It is the best way to show that you share their aspirations and that you are happy and sad about the same things. Empathy-based relationships are more durable and trustworthy.
Use Simple Language
It is important to speak as equals to build a strong emotional connection with your audience. The brand story is not a manual with technical characteristics, complex formulas, and unpronounceable names of ingredients. Even if you think they sound authoritative, for the public, they are just informational noise that only distracts from what you are trying to say.
By the time the iPod appeared on the market, there were already many high-spec MP3 players. Nevertheless, the new device was a sensation. “1,000 songs in your pocket” sounded much more convincing than the promise of several gigabytes of memory or high bitrate. In an interview with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk talks about an exclusive batch of flamethrowers, which sounds both strange and funny. He understands that such a story has every chance of becoming a meme. As a result, the Boring Company has become the main topic of discussion for a long time.
Show That You Care
Every year, society becomes more responsible. People want to be better: to take care of their health, protect the planet, achieve equality for all social groups. The challenge for brands today is to help them realize positive endeavors. Your clients are not always ready to volunteer, donate, or take other active steps. But they need to know that with every purchase of a product, they contribute to an essential common pursuit.
Tell your clients the values you share, what your company has done to implement them at this stage, and the tasks you are setting for the future. Love Beauty and Planet is an excellent eco-friendly brand story example. The tagline of the company is “looking good, and doing good should go hand-in-hand.” In the brand story, they emphasize the use of natural ingredients, renewable resources, and recycled plastic. Even more, the company is offering a $100,000 grant for projects that will help keep the planet healthy and offer solutions to reduce our carbon footprint.
Dove chose a different approach. An important component of the brand story is its social mission. The Self-Esteem Project aims to break the stereotypes about feminine beauty and counteract bullying. The brand communication focuses on the natural beauty of girls and women, and company representatives regularly conduct training for parents, teachers, and young opinion leaders.
Establish a Connection With Your Clients
You can launch a viral ad or shoot an exciting video worthy of an ADDY Award or even an Oscar. They will draw attention to the brand, spread across social media, and raise sales. But riding the wave of success requires transforming casual shoppers into a united community. People must trust the brand and want to come back to it again and again.
When a brand story settles down in a society, it acquires additional mythology. You have probably heard the jokes about how the arguments between supporters of Xbox and Playstation, iPhone and Android, Burger King, and McDonald’s, can be watched for hours with a bucket of popcorn. We do not urge you to pit the fans of brands against each other. We are just emphasizing that brand loyalty sometimes borders on fanaticism.
Five Ways to Tell Your Brand Story
Find Your Plot
For companies with a long history, it is important to emphasize their significance, social contribution, and adherence to traditions. Johny Walker is one of the best examples of storytelling. The entire media content of the brand is imbued with the idea of family values and the harsh atmosphere of misty Scotland that is the homeland of the worldwide-famous whiskey.
In a way, this is easier for young companies. They have the right to determine from the start how to present themselves to the world. Oculus VR is among the brands that started with a story. To intrigue the whole world, it was enough to announce that the future of video games had already arrived.
In 2012, thanks to a successful Kickstarter presentation, the project received $2.4 million in support, which is ten times more than the previously announced amount. In 2014, the company was bought by Facebook for $2.3 billion.
The first virtual reality headset was marketed as being “Designed for gamers, by gamers.” The modern brand story has found new narratives: Oculus VR is changing the concept of education, the interaction between people and cultures, allowing people to prepare for extreme circumstances, and even rethink memories. The future is still ahead.
Choose the Right Format
Visual storytelling is the most effective way to make your messages heard, as the human brain processes graphic information many times faster than text and even spoken phrases. The video format remains the most memorable and emotionally attractive. A powerful identity – logo, corporate colors, graphic elements – is not just a way to stand out from other brands. Visual elements perfectly convey metaphors, emotions, and atmosphere. When telling a brand story, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Use the Power of Social Networks
The best way to build trust with your audience is to be in the limelight as often as possible. Tell your story wherever it can be heard. Analyze which platform is more preferred by your customers. You can use several social networks at once, presenting your story from different angles. For example, to keep in touch with an adult audience, Facebook is more suitable, for young members of the brand community, use Instagram or TikTok.
Create Stories That People Would Like to Retell
People love to share stories, but under the condition that they are interesting and resonate with their values. The exchanging of stories can be used to the brand’s advantage. Encourage users to share their experiences: how your brand inspired them to take a big life step, or how it helped make special moments even brighter. When you post stories from real people, you strengthen an emotional connection with your audience. All of the readers can imagine themselves in these stories and feel a greater connection to the brand.
Whatever you do, Stick to Your Brand Story
People should easily be able to easily read the message in everything related to the brand: advertising, corporate blog posts, outdoor advertising, packaging, or product functionality. It can be achieved by various means; clear text messages and general mood from corporate colors, tone of voice, characters, and emotions, will come to the rescue. Be honest. If your brand story is about something you do not adhere to, the public will sense the insincerity instantly.
The most extraordinary thing about creating a brand story is that you never put an end to it. While the business is developing, new challenges and missions arise. You interact with more and more people who become new heroes or retell your story in their ways. New storylines and semantic accents are constantly appearing, but the main thing is that the story becomes an integral part of your audience’s life.