5 Tips to Improve Your Brand’s Storytelling
Anyone working in marketing and advertising over the last few years might have noticed a gradual and broad shift towards storytelling in relationship to how brands communicate with their customers, stakeholders and community. For those active on social, mobile and digital platforms, content marketing is becoming very dominant mode of marketing and a large percentage of marketing messages are being packaged in the form of stories that are designed to be shared, commented on and ultimately drive traffic, views and clicks. A sizable cottage industry of consultants and firms have emerged that promises to help companies “tell their brand story”.
Storytelling is a very powerful marketing and communication tool because it taps into a very primal way that the human mind works; our brains have evolved over millions of years to make sense out of sequential events, whether communicated by words or through images. We are conditioned to infer intent and meaning, cause and effect with any seemingly random sequence of events. Whether it's around the tribal fire, or in our children's nursery or at a reunion of old friends, we use stories and narratives to convey important information that we feel would be important to others.
For experienced marketers this has had a very disruptive effect in that the traditional disciplines that fed into corporate marketing; sales, product development, market research, are being marginalized by the influx of journalists, bloggers and film makers who are trained and equipped to tell compelling narratives that connects with audiences on an emotional level.
To help get you up to speed on how you can help tell your brand's story in a way that resonates with customers - and integrate it into a digital strategy - we've identified five tactics below that should help solidify your storytelling and content marketing effort:
1) Create Buyer Personas for your Brand
In the field of user-centered design and marketing, personas are fictional representations of people that might be customers or users of your product or service. They are extremely usual to help segment marketing efforts and identify the rational and emotional goals and motivations of customers and influencers of your brand.
If you imagined a customer using your brand, who would that person be? What would they look like? How do they spend their free time, what movies would they watch? Defining the personas for your audience is critical to creating the content that will resonate with them.
Below are some useful resources you can use today to create buyer personas for your brand:
HubSpot: Creating Buyer Persona for Your Business
Martket: How to Create a Buyer Persona and Journey
Buyer Persona Institute: Persona Templates
2) Be Authentic
In today’s selfie age, people seek authenticity. Airbrushed stock photos of smiling people will no longer cut it, audiences seek to connect with real moments, real people and real places. Invest the time to create original visual content that reflects the sensibilities of your company's employees and customers.
With the ease and availability of digital photography and smart-phone photos, there’s never been a better time for companies to document all of the myriad behind-the-scenes and internal brand touchpoints; customer service, research and development, employee training and community service. Users clicking on photos of real life people are twice as likely to buy that product or service.
To learn more about the power of visual storytelling check out this PDF co-authored by Getty and NewsCred today.
3) Educate Your Audience
According to this paper from HP: 83% of human learning is visual.
People seek out content to be informed and in turn be a viewed as a resource for others. Brands that seeks to constantly educate their customers and buyers and make them experts within their organizations are brands that will command fierce loyalty from long time customers who will act as advocates. This is all part of the buyer's journey.
A good example of this is General Electric which has devoted considerable time and resources articulating their vision of the future and providing helpful content detailing current R&D projects.
4) Provide Sensory Experiences
In today’s online world people are bombarded with competing data. We seek relief from the constant emails, texts and calendar entries by seeking sensory diversions; Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and Youtube, these channels and platforms offer momentary breaks from our daily online routine and savvy marketers have made it a point to synthesize a lot of the aesthetic sensory cues of these emerging platforms by incorporate
Squarespace recently launched a campaign called “Details” the video below features close-up visual and audio of the micro-textures and details that fuels creative people who use Squarespace to host their web presence.
The key here is to incorporate tactile content (photos, video, and audio) that viewers can almost touch. 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text so select images with textures and details that viewers can recognize and identify. These selections will help audiences connect emotionally with your content.
|Maersk on Instagram @maerskline|
You can also create a heightened sensory experience by choosing larger macro scenes and landscapes to create an immersive experience and convey a sense of location.
5) Be Relevant
Like musicians, brands can become stale and irrelevant if they fall behind on the current communications landscape allowing upstarts to take their place. Brand managers must be constantly vigilant for any opportunity to communicate product innovation, technology or a bold new vision or point of view that sets them apart from their competitors.
|National Geographic on Instagram @natgeo|
Don't let opportunities slip pass to communicate your brands unique vision and tell a story that resonates with contemporary audiences. Brands that recently re-invented themselves for a younger audience include National Geographic which recently revamped their online digital brand presence by posting award winning photography from around the world on emerging platforms and engaging a new generation of people who probably never picked up their iconic yellow bordered publication.
Take advantage of real time communication platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to communicate with users instantly. Ephemeral media apps are on the rise with millennials that allows them to share momentary content that resonates on an emotional level and creates context that isn’t intended to be permanent.
These five tactics outlined above should help any brand manager or freshly minted CMO get started with impactful storytelling as a meaningful brand strategy.