Think of a brand you’re loyal to. It could be anything– a watch, clothing, or shoe brand, for example. Maybe it’s your favorite restaurant.
What made you buy that product in the first place? Chances are you were converted because you bought into both the product and the story of the brand.
A fun, engaging, or heartfelt story connects us to the brand. Suddenly, they’re more than just a faceless entity. They’ve become humanized, and we relate to them. We have something in common with them, or we want to.
Read on to learn more about turning the age-old art of storytelling into a relationship-builder between you and your target audience.
Our brains love a good story. Maybe that’s why storytelling is as old as language itself. It’s how each generation passed down knowledge, traditions, and culturally significant information to the next generations. Stories helped us make sense of the world around us for eons. They help us organize information for better understanding and easier recall.
Studies have shown that multiple regions of the brain fire during a story–areas responsible for senses, emotions, and language. Your brain even releases pleasure chemicals in the process of listening. The brain is alert and entertained.
Stories make powerful strategies for sales and marketing. They grab the attention of their target audience better than any sales pitch.
Consumers remember brands more easily when messaging contains a story. Content marketing is next-level when customers experience a brand’s mission and values through a story.
Stories build more than brand identity. They produce a strong bond with the audience.
For example, there are a million different jewelers in the world. What makes this one special?
Well, it’s a single, independent jeweler making one-of-a-kind pieces found nowhere else. Love and skilled craftsmanship go into each unique detail. The owner volunteers their time and regularly donates to their local soup kitchen. That’s a cause any customer would love to get behind because the brand is more than just a business to them after connecting with your purpose.
We don’t just enter the audience's minds when we tell a story. We enter their hearts.
Customer connection occurs on deeper emotional levels. They are inspired to action. They completely trust the brand, setting them apart from the competition. Most importantly, the brand isn’t a faceless, soulless company. They are personal.
An individual saw a need and wanted to make a difference. That is why their product or service exists; now their audience is aware.
An impactful story must be:
Memorable stories include all the above and are broadcast to the right audience for the most appeal. Businesses must know and understand the needs and problems of their target audience so that their messaging is relatable.
Your audience should see that you get them. In return, they get you.
Stories connect brands to people through emotion and make impersonal companies personal again. Heartwarming and inspirational accounts create emotional connections that leave a lasting impression.
While customers quickly forget a sales pitch, they remember a story. In fact, feelings outlast memories. That’s what stories do: leave the audience with an unshakeable feeling.
There are different types of stories. Like there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing strategies, stories are as unique as their owners.
Look at a few to determine what kind of stories to use in your content.
1. Brand Story: This is a brand’s start-up history or a relevant current issue that the brand fights for. Center the story on the values of the brand, what it stands for, and what makes it different from competitors.
2. Product Story: Again, this can be a historical account of how the product came to be, but you can also focus the message around the causes that drive the business as a whole. This story should include the problems the product solves. Customers learn and connect to its purpose and value.
3. Educational Story: Educate customers on the need for the product or service, how it should be used, its advantages, and who might benefit most. These are especially useful if the product is physically shipped to the customer, but even more beneficial if it’s also complex, a never-before-used technology, or something new or rare.
4. Customer Stories: Customers participate in a brand’s legacy by telling their real-life experiences with a product, service, or company. Potential customers get to see the impact the product/service/company has had on the lives of others.
5. Interactive Story: Customers engage with the brand. It could involve a customer story, games, or quizzes.
Storytelling is a great marketing device in any business’s toolbox. We are all hardwired to crave and pay attention to a good story. Stories are more memorable than direct sales pitches.
Consumers want to see the human side of a product or service. It helps them relate to brands on a more personal and emotional level.
Trust is built on those vulnerable, emotional moments. With trust comes loyalty. Loyal customers return for repeat business. Plus, they promote your business by word of mouth online and in their social circles.