Can you recall the last time you’ve gotten lost within a book? How eagerly you turned its pages, completing each chapter with lightning speed? There’s nothing quite like a good story!
Neuroscience research credits storytelling with being the best way to capture the attention of an audience while simultaneously committing information to their memory. Stories allow us to connect on a personal level and at the center of this connection is trust. By sharing your story, you can develop a stable following for your business, but it is important to not use your story solely as a marketing tool. Doing such will cause you to appear insincere. Here are a few ways you can craft an authentic message that resonates with your brand and share it with the world!
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Write the Vision
The world begins with you. Before developing your brand’s story, you must first consider your own. Why did you choose to start your business? How can people benefit from the services you have to offer? Solidifying your core values and goals is a great way to set the foundation for your brand’s story. Through introspection, you can come to a solid understanding of who your company is, what it stands for, and what your clients need from you.
This process allows you to go beyond trying to “sell” your company to others and makes it easier for you to “show” them who you are instead. A well-developed vision can become a useful resource that can benefit your company as a whole. When entering new partnerships, creating new campaigns, or expanding your team, the company’s vision statement can be referenced when clarity is needed.
Once you’ve written out the core values you’d like to be associated with your brand, take a step back and get ready to exercise your word-smithing skills. We’ve all heard about the power of the pen. Certain words evoke certain emotions, so it’s important to consider how you’d like your audience to interpret your vision and craft it accordingly. Writing your vision from a first-person perspective conveys a sense of wholeness. Phrases like “Here at (insert company name here), we believe that (insert value here)” demonstrate the certainty of oneself and beliefs. If you don’t have a solid foundation, whatever you set upon it will eventually crumble. So go confidently in the crafting of your brand’s vision!
Create an Outline
When cooking up a story, the recipe almost always remains the same: beginning, middle, and end. These are the same ingredients you’ll use when creating your brand’s story. When creating your brand story it’s important to share your entire story and not just highlights. It is notably said that “failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor,” so don’t be afraid to mix in the good with the bad. Doing so will create transparency and may also serve as inspiration for some!
Creating a clear view of the points you’d like to cover in your story can be helpful. Seeing the path of those points can be done by developing an outline. This particular outline will elaborate on how your product integrates into the consumer’s story. One of the many ways this can be done is by establishing a fact, explaining a problem, and showing how your product or service can be used as a solution. To demonstrate this formula, we’ll be using our own brand story.
Fact: Sharing the current state of a situation is a great way to set up the introduction of problems that often arise in this area. Ideally, you’ll want the fact to support why your product or service exists.
Ex: As the digital age continues to advance, more businesses are integrating digital methods into their marketing strategies.
Problem: Oftentimes, a product is created to serve as a solution to a problem. When beginning your brand story, consider the purpose of your product and the conflict that prompted its creation.
Ex: Not everyone possesses the skills or capabilities to stay afloat in the world of digital marketing.
Solution: It is here where you will express how your product or service is the perfect solution to the problem stated above.
Ex: “ We have the expertise to help your company succeed in its digital marketing endeavors. Seeing strategies come to life and impact your business in a positive way is a big part of why we love what we do.”
While writing your brand’s story, it’s important to remember that it isn’t intended to be an autobiography, but rather, it’s meant to exhibit the evolution of your company. As you’re writing, don’t shy away from adding a dash of personality! Allowing it to shine through will help your story feel relatable to the reader and will set your company apart from the rest.
Understanding Your Target Audience
Hello? Is this thing on? When telling a story, grabbing and retaining the attention of your reader is of the utmost importance. If no one is on the receiving end of the message you’re publishing, you might begin to feel like your efforts are in vain. So, how do you tell a story that sticks? You begin by understanding your intended audience. Becoming knowledgeable about their likes and dislikes can guide you when making important decisions regarding the marketing strategies your company deploys. Reviewing data from the following subject areas could improve your understanding of your target audience:
- TV Shows
- Lifestyle Influences
So, how will you know what resonates? Creating personas along with your brand story is not only essential, but it can be a fun part of the brand development process that allows you to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. As the reflection of your brand’s vision, your business’s persona should be the embodiment of both its personality and values. Some companies choose to have an actual figure serve as the spokesperson or persona of their company (Ex. Flo from Progressive or the gecko from Geico) but using a logo or symbol is just as effective as witnessed by Nike’s “swoosh.”
A persona is a tool oftentimes used as a conduit of relatability between a company and the audience. Consistency is its strength. Fluctuations in personality or value alignment will weaken its staying power. To create a memorable persona, it is suggested that you first consider an archetype that best reflects your brand. Are you outspoken about your values and the need to improve the market your product or service caters to? The “hero” archetype might be just the tone you’re looking for! Would you rather take a nurturing approach and serve as a guide for those who are in great need of assistance? The voice of the “mentor” might be more suitable. To help with this process, most consult Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces to better understand archetypes and their functions.
Incorporating a persona into a profile allows you the freedom to vary your messaging, while making sure your story stays consistent with the people you are hoping to reach. The more creative you are with developing your personas, the more fun you will have in reaching your customer!
All work and no play makes for dull content. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t need to be all business, all the time. One of the many ways you can connect with your audience is by being relatable, but you should be mindful in doing so. Using trends as a means to connect with an audience will only result in temporary gain since trends typically leave as fast as they arrive. If your brand’s story is fueled by your own morals and values, your business’ mission will be strong enough to withstand the changes that come with time. Sharing behind the scenes content is a great way to show the world that your staff is human, just like them. This can be done by sharing a snapshot of your office space or a teaser of an upcoming project!
Everyone’s story is different, but your product or service could be the thread that weaves them together. UGC or user-generated content is referred to as the content that is created and uploaded by consumers that features a specified product or service. While lengthy reviews in blogs remain prevalent, common examples include: reviews through different platforms such as Google or Facebook, post likes, post shares, comments, real-life photos, etc.
Studies have shown that 70% of consumers are more trusting of peer reviews rather than professional content. By sharing real stories by real people, those who are on the fence about your product or service might be more inclined to give your company a try. UGC shares a “preview” of your business with others. Uploading it to your social media platforms on a regular basis not only shows your customs how much you value them, but it could promote an increase in its production, as others might decide that they’d also like to partake in experiencing what your company has to offer.
There are many ways to tell a story, but it’s important that it remains authentic. People engage best with content that is relatable. Don’t be afraid to share the highs and lows of your journey. Transparency is always appreciated and could be encouraging to those in similar situations. Having an understanding of your company’s vision and goals for the future will be the foundation that your brand’s story will be built upon. By learning the demographics of your target audience, you’ll be able to convey this information in a manner in which it’ll be best received. Stay true to your core values and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through!
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