Lauren Bates

It is no new news that the role of a marketer has changed, especially with the increasing importance of social. So, traditionally, the copy was a marketer’s responsibility, and while that piece hasn’t changed, the copy has.

Copy of old was designed to convert shoppers into buyers. Today, writing compelling I-need-it-now copy has turned into storytelling. This means telling relevant, timely, captivating stories that inspire, educate, entertain, and connect with the intended audience without selling said audience anything! Mind blowing right? Ok, perhaps not mind blowing, but it would be to marketers of the not so distant past.

Why Does Storytelling Matter?

Stories are the absolute best way to connect with your audience. Stories go deeper than the superficial content of old to create an emotional connection. Take Belstaff, for example, and their “Falling Up” short. The short is just under three minutes, but that is enough time for the brand to really connect with the audience. This film inspires and capitalizes on the longing for adventure and discovery, which really captures the aesthetic, and story, of the brand.

A common misconception is that good storytelling is about you or your brand, and the need you fulfill. It’s not. It is about emotion.

So, not only is Belstaff telling an inspirational story (one of Amelia Earhart), they are creating their own story, their own dialog. Content that is both compelling and inspirational has the propensity to foster loyalty. Loyalty because the consumer isn’t being sold to, they are truly creating an emotional connection. Today, consumers have (almost) complete control over their media consumption and as a result, have a very low tolerance for overly sales-y marketing copy.

What is a Brand Story?

A brand story is more than just content or a narrative. Now, that is a part of the equation, but it is so much more. Your brand story needs to go beyond what is written on your website, marketing materials, case studies, and even your blog. Your brand story isn’t just what you tell people. It is what they believe your brand to be, what they associate your brand with based on the signals you send.

This story is the whole picture and everything is taken into account. Each element, everything you do, is contributing to your story. From the colors you choose for your logo, to your staff, everything should reflect your story back to your audience.

But don’t mix up storytelling with the inventing of a story. You don’t want to invent a story, it isn’t authentic. Though, you do need to find your story, and sometimes that can take a while.

How do You Begin?

Think of the desired outcome for your brand, that is what will drive your story. Couple that with personal stories. Now you have the baseline for your brand narrative. The very reason that your brand exists is filled with stories! Choose the ones that are the most personal, they create the best emotional connection. So think of things like how your brand was born, what inspired you, and what your personal mission is. Do this while thinking of what your audience/customer needs. The customer needs to be the main character, with your brand in the supporting role.

The story you create for your brand must be captivating and factual. While it is vitally important to tell your unique story, client narratives have a lasting impact. So be sure to weave those stories into yours too.

Many times, marketing happens when we are not listening. Your story begins at the moment your (potential) customer hears your name, sees your logo, reads a blog post, visits your site, or interacts with you on social media. Knowing this will help you craft the signals you send.

But this conversation isn’t one sided (mostly because conversations aren’t), this conversation starts with listening. Find your unique voice, and listen to the dialogue where your brand and audience meet. Shh, do you hear that? It is the winds of change.

“The best brands are built on great stories.”
—Ian Rowden, Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Group

Building a successful business starts with your story, make yours standout.