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In a previous post, we discussed the power of storytelling. We explained how brand storytelling affects your online visibility and popularity. In this post, we will cover a few techniques you can implement when writing your brand story that all marketers and marketing consultants should know.
Take the time to prepare. Understand that however you decide to write or approach your brand story, it will be a story you will be sharing with everyone, including the media and your social networks. Regardless of the medium you choose--blog posts, videos, eBooks, speeches, sales calls or business presentations--your brand story should convey your company mission and ideals.
Carefully plan and write out what you want your audience to know about your brand. It takes time to carefully review the entire history of your company’s existence. Learning about the specific motivations behind the creation of your company will require more than just a simple email response.
In order to craft a moving brand story, you must take the time to gather as much information as you need to come up with your company story. This technique will allow you to verify every vital fact in your story.
Storytelling is a skill. Your story preparation can go a long way if you know how to put together the right elements. For example, you should be able to create a basic plot, develop the characters, evoke emotions in readers and, most importantly, you should have a good understanding and use of imagery.
Audiences are inspired by heroes who overcome obstacles. A story that focuses only on the aftermath of a struggle doesn’t provoke interest or engagement. Instead, it bores the audience. However, if you weave stories that portray an active pursuit of love, justice or triumph, you have a much better formula for engaging your audience.
Take, for example, The Hunger Games movie. The film tells the story of a young girl who takes the place of her sister in a brutal reality-show-like survival game. By facing and overcoming any number of obstacles, she wins the hearts of many.
Stories that depict characters’ active struggles are interesting because they reveal the steps taken to survive and conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges. Highlighting the drama is what keeps the audience engaged. Remember, storytelling is all about emotional connections.
In brand storytelling, your focus is on winning the hearts of your audience. You spend a great deal of time building up to the struggle and eventual triumph. In order to craft the most captivating story, it’s necessary to handpick the right details from your company history.
Also, you want to focus on the parts that have had a great impact on your existence today. Skip unnecessary details that will not showcase your struggles and triumph.
Consider each detail by asking yourself if it is helpful in making your audience understand what you do and in moving them to take a certain action.
You may share your story in different formats, but you have to be mindful of the strengths and weaknesses of each format.
For stories told in video format, for example, you should pay attention to:
For textual formats:
Pacing refers to the speed in which the story is told. A slow-paced story will bore your audience, while a fast-paced story will leave your audience behind.
You can play with the pacing when necessary, but don’t overdo it. You have to make sure that your audience stays with you every step of the way.
This technique is vital when creating video and when using stories in speeches and in sales calls because your voice should be well modulated when you present your story.
Audiences appreciate stories that are not afraid to mention failures and problems. This practice will show the audience that there are real people behind the brand who are experiencing the same pain points they have.
Acknowledging fears, failures and shortcomings allows customers to see the people behind the brand and bond with them. When a bond is established, it makes it easier to be liked, known and trusted.
Stories are all about emotional connections. If you can incorporate a human element in your story, you can connect with your audience and persuade them to try your brand.
In an article on brand storytelling, we showed you how much more powerful it is to see a child receiving a cochlear implant and being able to hear her mother’s voice for the first time, as opposed to citing statistics and case studies.
Empathizing with your audience is the best way to have them consider using your product or service and the most effective way to accomplish that is by visual communication. In other words, you have to sell the experience, and the best way to do that is by showing, not telling, your audience what you want to say.
Every story has a conflict or a situational crisis that needs to be resolved by the protagonist. When you identify the stakes that matter in your story, you allow your audience to become more immersed in your story and connect with the protagonists on a deeper level. They become involved emotionally. The audience beings to invest in the character and root for the protagonist so that he can overcome the hurdles presented before him.
Showing what your prospects can gain or lose in your brand story is just another way of emphasizing the problems they have and how you have the solution to put an end to it.
Let’s go back to the Lifebuoy commercial, in which we see how a boy’s life was spared because he washed his hands. Although it didn’t expressly send the message that the only way to have good personal hygiene is to use Lifebuoy products, it did effectively communicate what the character gained by washing his hands.
Story patterns are very useful, especially if you’re still trying to find your footing. You can use tried and tested storytelling archetypes. This way, you allow your audience to predict what will occur.
The most commonly used story archetypes are:
An unexpected twist in every story is gripping, captivating and compelling. It offers your audience one more reason to pay attention to what you have to say and, at best, it throws off the competition.
A great example is how TV series add unique twists to their season-long stories to keep their ratings in place. This technique creates suspense and keeps the audience engaged, waiting for what will happen next.
Establish a solid beginning, middle and end to your story. These are the three main parts to every story. Each has a separate and distinct purpose. The opening, for example, must effectively hook the audience. You must be able to capture your audience’s attention early on to ensure they keep turning the pages or continue glued to their screens.
The middle part should have a good twist that will keep your audience interested .
The resolution is the part where all the struggles are resolved. It should offer a good conclusion that influences your audience and leads them to take action.
Never tell your audience what they should learn from your story. Let them discover what it is for themselves. Don’t take the opportunity from them; let them discover on their own what it is that you want them to understand. In the end, a moral story pitch will fail to entertain and influence your prospect.
Speak or present in a natural way and avoid having an editor choose your words for you. Brand storytelling is all about communication and connection. It is not about using the right politically correct term to deliver your message. It’s about showing your prospects that you understand their pain points just like any normal human would.
Using natural language makes you sound more like a real person in your stories. The use of formal language in storytelling, on the other hand, can make you sound inauthentic.
Essentially, what we mean is that you should be more approachable and mindful of your prospects and not your image. Your brand story should be about how you can help your prospects and not about how they should see you.
Last and definitely not least, use visual communication to tell your story. Paint a picture in their minds or tell them a story to evoke the right emotions in them.
Focus on the setting, senses and visuals of your story. The setting of the story makes it easier for the audience to visualize the events taking place in the story.
Appealing to the senses leads the audience to use their imagination, while visuals make stories more interesting and memorable.