Brand storytelling is a powerful marketing strategy that helps you create an emotional connection with your audience. It’s a way to humanise your brand and inspire people to take action.
Storytelling is backed by science, and is one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience. But how do you start?
1. Get to Know Your Audience
There are many different ways to tell a story. These can include written stories, such as articles, blog posts, or books; visual storytelling, such as videos; or spoken stories, such as podcasts or live events. Your chosen medium will depend on the type of story you’re telling and how much time or money you have available to create it.
Before you begin writing your story, make sure that you have a clear understanding of your audience. This will help you craft your story in a way that resonates with them.
You can find out a lot about your audience by analyzing their habits and interests using data from social media platforms, online analytics, or market research. You can also get feedback from them in a variety of ways, including surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
Once you have a solid understanding of your audience, it’s time to start putting your newfound knowledge into practice. One of the most important things to do is to learn more about your audience’s biggest pain points so you can create products or services that address them.
A great way to do this is to run user experience workshops where you have your team walk through a product or service and mark any pain points they can see. It’s a good idea to have people from different areas of your company participate in this, since each team member will have a unique point of view about the problem at hand.
In the workshop, it’s also a good idea to have each participant write down their thoughts on a piece of paper, called a story map. This helps your team to visualize and understand how each step in the user’s journey should be completed, and to think about any pain points that might have to be addressed before moving forward.
Once you have a map of your customer’s journey, you can start creating a story that will tell them what to expect from your product or service and why they should care about it. Having a story will also make it more likely that they’ll follow through with your call to action, which is crucial for any marketing campaign.
2. Create a Story Map
A story map is a visualization tool that helps product teams outline or deliver new features to customers. It’s a great way to get your team on the same page about what you want to accomplish with your product, and it can also help teams prioritize work based on how valuable it is to users.
A good Story Map should have a backbone that shows the customer journey or process, including all of the high level activities that a user would complete while using your product. It should also include a series of stories that describe each step in that journey.
It’s important to make sure that you have a full, holistic picture of your application’s user story and customer value before you start building. Without that, it’s easy to get lost and build something that doesn’t do the job it should.
Your user story map can be created in a number of ways, including by creating a whiteboard and writing down your ideas on it, or using software such as Aha! That’s a great place to begin, since it already comes with templates for user story maps.
Once your map is ready, it’s time to go through each step and write down what you need to do next. The best approach is to take one persona type at a time and brainstorm ways that you can provide the most value to them, as well as how they can interact with your product.
You can do this on a paper or digital map, and you can even use your Story Map as a tool to guide collaboration on other projects. It’s a great way to keep everyone on the same page about what you want to do, and it’s a valuable resource for your marketing materials.
Once you have your user story map, it’s important to keep it visible and accessible to your team so they can always check to see if it’s up-to-date and accurate. It’s especially helpful to use your Story Map as a reference when you’re working on iterative and incremental development, because it helps everyone stay focused on the big picture of what the application is actually solving for users. It also encourages teams to prioritize their work, and it’s a great way to spot gaps in your product and get them fixed.
3. Write Your Story
The power of storytelling is in its ability to create an emotional connection with your audience. It’s also a way to build trust and foster loyalty among your target customers. By telling stories that speak to your brand’s core values and the problems you solve, you can inspire customers to feel more engaged and trust you enough to convert them into repeat customers.
When it comes to marketing, the most important question is, “Why should I buy from you?” Storytelling can help answer that question with authenticity and a heartfelt reason for your company’s existence. Companies like TOMS shoes use their story as a bedrock for their business, explaining that they exist to improve people’s lives.
In addition to helping you connect with your target customers, a well-crafted story can also help you boost SEO and grow your online presence. This means more organic traffic to your website, which in turn can lead to higher sales.
You can share your brand’s story through a blog post, social media posts, or even an ebook. But be aware that these types of platforms are public and can get tricky, so you’ll want to think carefully about what you say.
If you’re a blogger, it’s especially crucial to take your time and write with your voice in mind. Avoid rushed writing and overly sarcastic or judgmental language, as this may make your content less interesting to your audience.
It’s a good idea to start by thinking about your main character, who will represent your company in the story. They should be someone who is relatable, and have a clear goal or desire that they will work towards.
Once you have your hero, add conflict to the story and figure out how they will overcome their challenges to achieve their goal. It’s also helpful to let your hero evolve over the course of the story, which will help keep your readers interested and captivated.
The best stories don’t have a definitive end, but rather a cliffhanger that leaves your reader wondering and wanting more. This can be a great way to capture your audience’s attention and compel them to share your story with their friends.
4. Share Your Story
There are a number of ways to share your story. A blog post, short-form video, or a tweet are some common options. However, it is important to consider where your audience might be most likely to see the content you create. For example, your Snapchat account might be more appealing to younger audiences, and your email list might be more interested in information about your product line.
One way to get started is to choose a story you want to tell and start there. This can be a promotional story that showcases how your business makes people’s lives better, or it could be a story about a customer who has experienced a life-changing event thanks to your products.
Then, you can begin to craft the story around that point and build the rest of it out. This might include telling stories about how your team got to that point, what roadblocks and small wins were overcome along the way, and so on.
This will help you craft your message in a way that is both memorable and dynamic. In addition, it will ensure that your story is relevant and relatable to the target audience you’re sharing it with.
It’s also vital to understand what you want your audience to do after they read your story. Perhaps you want them to buy a product, enroll in a course, donate to a charity, or otherwise take some action.
Using your audience’s needs and preferences to guide your storytelling can be one of the most powerful strategies you can use for marketing. It can lead to more engagement, higher ROI, and ultimately a stronger brand.
Next, you’ll need to determine how and where to distribute your story. You might need to create a series of videos, short-form articles, or even an entire blog. Be sure to check out the platform requirements for your chosen channel so you can create a compelling, engaging story that will reach your audience and drive action.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to be a professional storyteller. In fact, many of the best stories are those that are shared with friends and family. This is because they are authentic, relatable, and evoke the emotions of others.