Creating a captivating and authentic brand story
Every brand has a story to tell. Whether it’s how your business was developed, the reason why you exist or your meaningful connections to your audiences, the environment, sustainability or a solution to a particular problem, there is something intriguing about your business that your audience needs to know.
Storytelling is a skill that marcomms professionals and business owners have refined for decades – the only change is the medium. In the 1930s, a brand’s story, purpose and key messages were shared via word of mouth and the local newspaper. Today, brands have a multitude of owned, earned, shared and paid media to work with and a global audience of 7.5 billion.
The human brain is conveniently wired to respond to a compelling narrative – neuroscience proves that storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention and drill information into their memories. Humans also appreciate content that’s relevant to them – soaking up a good story is instinctively primal and enables us to make connections with people and products. The catch? We only have a moment to hook someone in – the average attention span for a human is just eight seconds (less than a goldfish!).
The art of brand storytelling can make your business stand out in an ultra-competitive world. Scope Media recently attended a business storytelling workshop presented by Park Howell, a professional brand storyteller and ad industry veteran from the USA. Howell teaches the following framework to marketing and communications professionals and business owners to assist in creating their own authentic stories. Try it for your brand and see where it leads:
- History: Where have you been? Where are you now?
- Your brand’s hero: Identify a main character – it could be you or your boss.
- The driver: What does your brand want to achieve?
- Call to adventure: Define that moment that propelled the founder of your brand into developing its product or service.
- The villains and conflicts: What are the obstacles?
- Trials and tribulations: What has made your quest difficult and your success sweet?
- Victories and resolutions: What have you overcome to achieve success? What does success look like?
- The moral: Why do you exist? What part of your story connects the values of your audience to your brand values?
- To be continued: How do you take the reader on your journey? What are their next steps?
If your brand story lacks a little intrigue, incorporate these simple-but-effective words: And, But and Therefore. This useful “ABT” method can be adopted in all comms to create a theme or refine a narrative for your storytelling in anything from high-level strategy to website copywriting and EDMs.
Although a meaningful story is golden for a brand, we do need to address the elephant in the room: COVID-19. Like most areas of business, the coronavirus has had an impact on brand storytelling. Consumers in the current climate are highly sensitive so it’s important that your brand story is adjusted to resonate with how your audience is feeling, as well as reflecting what’s going on in your locality and your industry.
Here are some helpful hints on how to adjust your brand story after COVID-19:
- Utilise data to find out what your audience needs and wants in this time, then adapt your brand story to suit.
- Emphasise the emotional connection of your brand to your audience. Any story that conveys empathy, kindness, togetherness, solidarity, adaptability and positivity about the future will be well received.
- Humanise your brand. Now, more than ever, audiences want to get to know the people, not just the product.
- Seek out the positives and the opportunities. Some of the best brand stories were born during World Wars and trying times in history. Perhaps you developed a more efficient way of working during lockdown, or the idea for a new product line transpired. This already provides a base for an excellent story – triumph over adversity is always a winner!