Marketing is about emotions and your brand creates an emotional connection with your customers. Brand is how people feel about you and your company. What vibes are you sending? That’s your brand!
What separates your company from the big name powerhouses in your industry? It’s your brand story, and if you have a compelling one, you’ll have a successful business.
What is a brand?
Brand is your company’s reputation. It’s the feeling people get when they encounter your brand online or in print. Many people confuse it with marketing itself, but marketing is actually the vehicle for delivering customer-facing messages to customers via different channels. Your brand strategy guides that vehicle and messaging. Your company logo gives the customer an image to connect with, and the website is the main part of your marketing strategy.
What is brand strategy?
You might say your brand strategy is your road map. How are you going to guide those customers to your doorstep? Through feelings and an emotional connection. We buy from companies that make us feel good about the sale. We don’t buy from companies that give off a negative vibe or message. Connecting with your target audience on an emotional level is the key objective in your brand strategy. Having a well-defined brand strategy will help all aspects of your business.
How are emotions connected to your brand?
People share on social media for many reasons, but the most common one is that they feel something. They aren’t using social media platforms to see ads and engaging with them isn’t a habit – it’s an emotional reaction. It might be sharing a funny meme on Facebook or tweeting about a new product on Twitter. It might be posting a selfie with your brand-new Samsung device on Instagram, but the emotional connection is what drives people to share and interact.
Emotions can be triggered by compelling storytelling, which creates an emotional connection between the marketer and the consumer. Creating this through all platforms builds awareness of your brand and the people who feel the emotions you’re creating will hopefully become your most loyal customers.
What makes for a compelling story?
A great story needs an engaging character, something with stakes – something at risk – and strong conflict. A strong protagonist is your brand or company, so it needs to be someone that people like and root for. The stakes and conflict create an emotional connection and is what makes a story compelling. So, there needs to be some sort of problem or struggle that the character goes through, something that affects their life in a way that will connect with your consumer.
Good storytelling can be found in brands like Apple, Red Bull, Nike, and Land Rover.
So, if you’re starting a new business or are looking to grow your existing brand, try creating an engaging character (brand) with these components. It doesn’t have to be fleshed out into the whole plot of your story at first – just have it in mind as you develop your marketing strategy.
How does storytelling fit into your marketing strategy?
Marketing is all about delivering customer-facing messages – mostly through online and print channels. So, the brand story is what you plan on using to build awareness of your business among target audiences. The big picture here is that you need to connect with people on an emotional level if they are going to buy into your brand.
The way you deliver that story will vary, but should be guided by your company’s values. Is your company value around environmental responsibility? Then explain it with a story about the planet and people who benefit from your products or services. You can align values to pretty much any type of brand out there.
If you can deliver customer-facing messages in an engaging manner, then people are more likely to share them and link back to your brand.
What makes a great brand story?
Now that companies are aware of the importance of creating customer-facing messages that connect with their audience on an emotional level, there is a lot of competition out there. This makes it all the more important to make sure your story is compelling.
A good story needs conflict, stakes and someone for your consumers to root for (if you’re creating your brand story with your company as the protagonist). All of these things need to be relatable, so the characters and stakes should be ones that most people will empathize with. Make sure you keep in mind who your consumer is.
Where can I find inspiration?
A great place to start looking for inspiration is by looking at your competitors (if they’re doing a good job with their storytelling). You can also look at the ways you interact with your consumers – what calls them to action? Is it things like sales and special offers, or is it more personal messages that speak to people on an emotional level.
An example of a company with a good brand story is Nike ‘s “underdog” story. Nike is known for creating sports clothing and equipment, but their brand story focuses on how hard work pays off. Remember their “Just do it” slogan? It may sound cliché, but it makes people feel like anything is possible – even if they don’t live in a high-profile city or play the top sport. This is because of Nike’s underdog story which is often expressed in inspirational ads.
Where should a brand story go in a marketing plan?
Depending on what stage your business is at, you might want to consider telling your brand story in one or more of these places:
- Your about page – this will be the place where people learn all about your company and what you stand for. It’s also good for showing consumers that you are an approachable, friendly company.
- Your marketing plan – this is where your storytelling skills come in handy when you write out your goals and how they fit into the bigger picture. If people can relate to your brand story, they’re more likely to support it by sharing it with their friends and family.
- Your website – this is where you’re most likely to give your consumers the complete picture of what you do and why you’re different from other companies in your industry.
- Social media – it goes without saying that social media is a great way for brands to build relationships with their consumers. If you can show people that your company is a friendly place, they’ll share your story with the same positivity.
- Your ads – if you have a strong ad campaign, make sure to include some storytelling elements in it. This will help people connect with what you’re trying to say.
- Your email marketing campaign – not every company uses this type of marketing, but it can be a useful tool for storytelling if you have the right content to share. People are used to receiving ads in their inboxes, so your goal is to make these messages stand out from the rest by incorporating some storytelling elements.
In order to create a compelling brand story, you need to take the time and make an effort. This is often difficult for small business owners who are also trying to run their company day-to-day – but it’s worth the investment. Start by figuring out your core values and what makes your company stand out from competitors or other businesses.Then think about where this content should go: social media, advertisements, email marketing campaigns…
Once you have these basics down pat, start thinking about how you can incorporate storytelling elements into all of your digital marketing efforts so that people will relate with your message on an emotional level. By telling stories through different mediums at various stages of the customer conversion funnel or just to connect with customers, you can increase customer engagement, trust and revenue.
Does your company have a compelling brand story? ViviScape’s marketing team can help you define and execute your brand strategy across all mediums and channels. Contact us to find out how ViviScape helps businesses like yours grow their brand awareness and increase their profits.