Brand building is serious business these days across all platforms and avenues accessible to companies, products, entities and individuals. The importance of brand building cannot be doubted in the present competitive scenario where customers have multiple options to choose from and price wars are becoming a common affair. Brand building is the foremost route towards distinguishing oneself from the competition, boosting customer retention and loyalty and creating a personal connect with the targeted customer base at large.
While brand building employs several techniques across innumerable platforms, storytelling is a new and popular entrant in this space.
New Age Business Tales
One may well wonder about the efficacy of storytelling when it comes to extolling the virtues and benefits of a brand in the market. However, this is one brand building technique that is now being employed by companies across audio visual, print and online platforms. Storytelling is seen as a way to engage customers without push-selling, something that automatically sparks interest, retention and conversion in turn. However, a story needs to be well told, especially when it comes to the World Wide Web.
While audio visual and print media platforms offer easier ways and methods of dissemination with regard to fleshing out that big idea, the web world is a different story altogether! Establishing one’s brand online is a difficult task, particularly when you think of overall reach and one-click availability of information, competitors, packages and options that has come to define much of our web experience today. Immaculate storytelling is definitely creating many a success story online but there are certain principles that must constitute an aspiring brand’s Bible in this context.
The impact of proper storytelling can be summed up as follows:
> Differentiates a particular brand and tags it as a desirable option for customers
> Boosts brand recall and gives new life to the same
> Competitive advantages are garnered from such exercises
> Positions brands as visionaries in their particular domains
> Elicits higher responsiveness and results from target markets
Successful Online Storytelling
The big question is, how do you integrate a commercial entity and its take-aways into a contemporary story? A writer has to be an able custodian of a particular brand. According to bestselling author and Real Living founder Kaira Rouda, relationship networks are the actual net worth of companies and brands and as a result, successful customer relationships must be crafted on the basis of genuine passions and a bird’s eye view of reality without artifice. The first thing to zero in on is the actual message you wish to convey and the universal meaning that is to be showcased and made decipherable in the guise of the story.
One of the most successful story telling endeavors in contemporary times, the Scarecrow created by Chipotle actually engages viewers in understanding how ethically produced food journeys from the farm to the consumer’s plate and how the brand remains committed to food ethics and healthy livestock production.
The Scarecrow’s ambitions of creating a farm in his own little garden and the eventual establishment of a burrito stand represents a touching story that subtly got across the hidden message to customers, going by the sheer popularity of this story which garnered in excess of 11.6 million YouTube views in spite of not being broadcasted on television. What can be seen here is that personal connections are what actually define business. Problem solving, benefits, advantages and customer experiences are all facets of dealing with people. Sales and loyalty are automatic byproducts of such branding exercises.
Components of Successful Stories
A successful brand story is usually representative of the following elements:
> Motivational points for the brand
> Reasons for establishment of the brand
> Building beneficial products for customers and the entire product-building process
> Insights into the actual company and its philosophies
> Value offerings for customers
> Teams and other intangible assets of the company or brand
> Relationship building and alleviation of pain points
Brand storytelling does not revolve around the company directly. It is about the value offered to customers and how they are prioritized above all else in a subtle manner. A successful brand story is an honest and sporting look at weaknesses and strengths equally in tandem with the exciting journey undertaken to arrive at this particular juncture. Avoid being exceedingly formal or artificial while writing; customers will sniff you out with ease.
Tips for Storytellers
While penning down a brand story, always keep it conversational, transparent and honest. Imagine a heart to heart conversation with a new person where you want him/her to know more about yourself and your journeys throughout life. This vibe works like a charm when it comes to brand storytelling.
Do not opt for long winded stories and try to show a lot more than you actually write or say. Keep your writing as compact and crisp as possible without sounding like a user manual. Also, make sure you delve deep down into the architectural aspects of the message including subtle positioning of keywords and other phrases without disrupting the original quality of the same.
Brand storytelling is definitely a great tool to distinguish, boost and showcase any company in the web world. All you need to do is emphasize on the human aspect and steer clear of fragmented, isolated and artificial illusions. Do not treat your brand story as a PR and marketing exercise; treat it as a genuine face to face conversation with the people who care about (and who you want caring about) your brand!