Do you remember the favorite book your mom read when you were a kid? And what about a movie that sticks in your memory since school days? Let alone an advert that wowed you so much that you can name it just after someone wakes you up at night!
All they are stories. You are a story: the protagonist of your life, you can turn its every episode in a storyline. Why do you think most influencers on the web tell stories for building their brands? They know that a story is the only way to communicate a message to consumers and make them want to listen and remember you.
- We retain 70% of the information through stories and only 10% — through bare facts and data.
- We use emotions, not rationalism to evaluate a person or buy from a brand.
- We remember the positive or negative emotional response we experienced when reading or watching a video story about a brand. And from that perspective, we build an attitude toward the brand and make a decision whether to buy from it.
Do you see how huge this is?
A brand story you transmit through all media channels influences people’s perception and regulates their emotions, therefore allowing you to obtain the desired decision-making from them.
In other words, you need to create a brand story that would convey essential meanings through storytelling, hook consumer attention, and motivate them to buy from you.
And now, let’s see how you can do that.
1) Grasp the Concept of Brand Storytelling
When you start writing a brand story, make sure you understand the goal and the result you plan to get. The biggest mistake would be to tell a story for the sake of a story itself. Bonds are what you need to build with brand storytelling.
Your strategy here should be the following:
Create a correlation between your product/service and events that benefit your brand, and stir a reader into your desired action through his perception of this correlation.
Start with a conclusion. What conclusion do you want the reader to make while reading your brand story?
So, follow this scheme when writing a brand story:
Conclusion (a message) –> Story –> What is it all about? (facts)
Facts are your answers to questions such as “Who?”, “What?”, “When?”, and “How?” Turn them into a story including a set of related events, rhythm, and structure. And remember: your story is a cover to use for wrapping up the contents. It’s worth nothing without four main components.
2) Include Four Main Components to Your Story
Your brand content won’t turn into a stellar brand story without these four components:
- A hero
- A structure
- A story’s cohesiveness
- A story’s proximity to the real world
Make your brand story a combination of marketing and fiction. Creating it with these components in mind, it won’t sound like duplications of competitors’ and won’t look like a standard “About Us” text, full of boring data and cliche phrases.
Decide on the protagonist of your story. In marketing, it’s often your product or your customer who solves his problems or reaches his goals thanks to your brand.
You’ll never master the art of brand storytelling if you don’t know the core elements your message should have to become a story. These elements create a structure (a plot) of your story, and there should be three of them as a minimum: set-up, narrative arc, and resolution.
You know it from books and movies as a hero’s journey:
In marketing, you make a target customer your hero who leaves home to solve problems and comes back with a reward (your brand’s product or service). You can do that through stories reflecting your brand’s nature: blog posts, interviews, video storytelling, or personal stories on social media.
Example: Aaron Orendorff
Another example comes from Volvo Trucks video storytelling.
You remember it by all means: the epic split with Jean-Claude Van Damme as a hero demonstrating the benefits of Volvo through a story that makes us “wow” and watch that video again and again.
The narrative arc of your brand story should be cohesive and relate to the real world. Make it a combination of experience, process, and feelings for consumers to recognize themselves in your story and want to share it.
You are welcome to use alternative structures to make your brand stories stand out. But there’s one tiny element in a narrative arc that you can’t ignore:
3) Resolve a Conflict
When writing your brand story, check if it answers these questions:
- What happens?
- Where does it happen?
- When does it happen?
- Who is a hero?
- What happened to the hero?
- How did it resolve it?
- What changed?
The hero in your brand story should solve a problem. Always. It’s a conflict, a must-have element of every good narrative.
Conflict is a contradiction you use to build the plot. Without it, the story becomes flat, uninteresting, and does not attract the attention of the reader.
Conflicts can be external (a hero vs. the world) and internal (something that “eats” a hero from within). But one way or another, it’s an enemy he struggles to get a reward.
Your brand may be a matter of the conflict (a struggle for your product, a desire to get it, short of your product, a dispute over it, etc.) or it can help a hero to resolve the conflict.
4) Integrate It Like a Boss
Pay attention to where you can integrate a brand into the story.
- Set-up. Integrating the brand here, you simply turn it into a story’s visual component, with no role. It’s nothing but product placement. You could see it in movies: a hero resolves conflicts, drinking your beer or using your laptop.
- Narrative arc. Integrating the brand here, in the beginning, it will not become a part of the conflict but may help the hero on his way to catharsis. For example, your beer inspires him to find the resolution of the conflict. Or, you can integrate the brand into your story’s catharsis, therefore making it a conflicting reason or a conflict’s resolution.
- Resolution. Integrating the brand here, you dot the i’s and cross the t’s. If the brand was a subject of the conflict, now it’s finally clear who happens and who gets it. It’s the best place to mention your brand, and that’s what big dogs like Nike do.
5) Think Like a Scriptwriter
To make your brand story even better, more imaginative and more emotional, try to look at it on behalf of a scriptwriter, not a marketer.
Think like a reader or a viewer: they will not read your script but evaluate the result. Remember that you won’t stay nearby and explain what you intended to say with your content. The consumer should “read” your message.
That’s a very moment when the “Show, don’t tell!” rule works the best.
Describe something that could show the point of your story and reflect the hero’s worries:
- What can illustrate a thought?
- What can illustrate this or that emotion?
- What can reflect the mood of your hero?
- What elements can you use to make the conflict visible?
The context of your story will help consumers understand what’s happening. For example, if a hero laughs at the stand-up show, we understand this is joy; if a hero laughs when his friend dies in his arms, we understand it’s grief and the hero experiences it through hysterics.
Learn to tell your brand stories visually, and your content will get an emotional response from your target audience.