When I was a kid, I couldn’t go to sleep without a bedtime story (or two or three, if the folks were feeling generous).
While those stories activated my imagination and brought me into different worlds featuring talking animals and royal kingdoms, they had a big impact on how I felt toward the characters I read about.
And you can be sure that they influenced the ways in which I acted toward others during the day.
I was sure to never give a mouse a cookie, if the situation were to present itself.
I’m sure you can think back to a time when a story enraged or elevated you, and maybe to the point that it caused you to take a specific action.
And there’s a reason, a scientific one, as to why that happens.
Related Article: Telling Your Brand Story: How to Engage the Masses
According to researchers, stories have the ability to stimulate the brain in a way that actually influences how we behave in our daily lives.
And by adding details to the story, (creating an environment, characters, and action) it becomes a sensory experience that activates the brain as if we were living the story out in real life.
As we allow ourselves to view the world from the character’s point-of-view, it also teaches us more about the world around us through other perspectives.
Now think about how that might apply to your business. When a brand shares its story, others can begin to perceive them as more than what they do and/or create.
More importantly, it can encourage them to take action. But first...
What Is A Brand Story?
Ann Handley, author and Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, defines it as the story, “about how your business... exists in the real world: who you are and what you do for the benefit of others, and how you add value to people’s lives, ease their troubles, help shoulder their burdens, and meet their needs.”
Whether your brand story centers around customers using your product to enhance their lives in a specific way or to leave a geo-friendly footprint on the world, your story should give soul to your brand in a way that becomes the core of everything it does.
Why Are Brand Stories Important?
Consumers today hold all the purchasing power. And they look to content to help them make decisions; seventy percent of consumers prefer to learn about a company through content (such as a blog post) rather than ads.
They read your website, product reviews and anything else they can find during a quick online search. They want to know more than what your product is; they want to understand its value and whether you’re a company they can trust.
And when you explain that in a story that allows your consumers to connect with you on an emotional level, that can be extremely powerful.
Discovering, Creating, and Sharing Your Brand Story
There are a lot of ideas about the best ways to shape and communicate your brand story to the world. Let’s address the basics:
Gaining a thorough understanding of your brand and what it represents is fundamental to determining your story. It’s not just about how it came to be, it’s also about the why.
Why your company exists as well as what it does to help others.
To avoid getting lost in the competition, you should also identify the key characteristics that separate you from others in the industry. Your story should be uniquely yours and recognizable without your logo and brand colors.
If it’s unclear as to how your business helps customers, you may benefit from talking with them about how they use your product or service, how they perceive your company, and how their lives are impacted by your brand.
Every story has a beginning, middle, and end, and your story should stick to these basic story writing principles. This means it should also have elements such as characters, plot, conflict, and a resolution.
As you write your story, be sure to include details and context that will make it more authentic. And of course, be sure to edit, rewrite, and repeat until it’s perfect.
You might also find that your story isn’t necessarily going to be a single written piece of content. Consider other ways to present it, whether it’s a video, ad campaign, social post, etc.
Once your brand story is complete, it’s time to ensure your story is woven into every element of your brand. And that begins with educating your internal team.
Hold meetings, create assets, hang up posters around the office. Feel free to get creative in finding ways to get your story to become a part of everyone.
Once your brand story has stuck internally, you’ll want to ensure it comes through in every consumer interaction.
This means mapping out every point of interaction your brand has with your audience (e.g. website, social networks, email, ads, store) and creating a strategy that will engage your customers along the buyer journey.
Related Article: What's Your Story: Staying True to Your Company's Vision
A Story that Never Ends
Think of your story as one that continues to evolve over time. While the core of your story should remain the same, it should be flexible enough to grow with your business.