Storytelling. Why, do’s and don’ts, and how to create a strong brand story yourself.

A strong brand story let you experience a brand and communicates exactly where the brand stands for. It describes the intrinsic drivers, the essence of why you do what you do. Putting your brand message into a story makes it easier for people to understand and will help you to reach your target audiences, according to Mattersmost(2020). Storytelling is the number one communicative translation of your brand identity and brand concept. Here’s why.

Why it is so powerful

It’s simple, people naturally tell each other stories because this is the best way to convey information. Besides that, stories activate our emotions and therefore we are eager to listen along. Just like your favorite books and movies, if you can craft a compelling brand story, your audience will remember who you are, develop empathy for you, and, finally, care about you (Chi, C2020). Furthermore, people remember stories much more easily than complex lists and difficult texts. Creating a story around your brand not only humanizes it but also inherently markets your business. 

Start with the WHY

Simon Sinek created his thinking model after researching successful leaders and brands. He launched his book ‘Start with Why: How Great Leader Inspire Everyone to Take Action and is a real phenomenon ever since. Actually, after his (one of the most seen) TED-talkson YouTube. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should watchit right away. The Golden Circle is based on three levels as you can see in the model below. His thesis is that the question usually remains underexposed and that real success is not achieved. (MT/Sprout,2020)

If you start by telling people why you do something that you do, it immediately creates a distinctive character. At the same time, it gives an emotional charge to your brand, where people are sensitive to. “How” deals with distinctiveness, such as a special value proposition or Unique Selling Proposition. The “what” stands for the result and is the outcome of “why,” or the proof. Results include profit or fulfillment of needs through the sale of products or services. (Eelants, M)

I think I’ve mentioned enough why’s and guidance on how you should start with storytelling. Let’s take a look at the best practices to get some inspiration! 

Land Rover

In 2018 Land Rover released a campaign where storytelling was used to create more depth with their current users and appeal to potential users of Land Rover’s cars. This was in celebration of Land Rover’s 70thanniversary. The campaign video was about ‘the land of the Land Rovers’ a remote area in the Indian Himalayas. The video tells the story of the local drivers who rely on a fleet of meticulously maintained 1957 Land Rover vehicles to provide transport and supplies along the treacherous mountain roads between two small villages, Maneybhanjang and Sandakphu (J. Gioglio2019).  

Land Rover teaches us that you won’t have to tell your brands’ story yourself. A good option is to let other real people share their experience with your brand, which can serve as social proof. But keep in mind that it’s important to share a truly authentic story, don’t make things up. Be transparent to your audience. 

Tony Chocolonely 

In my opinion, the worldwide chocolate brand Tony Chocolonely is the number one when it comes to storytelling. They found out that child slaves work on the cocoa plantations in West Africa, while chocolate eaters are completely unaware of this, and chocolate makers don’t take responsibility for this. The child slaves and farmers don’t get paid fairly as they should. Tony takes responsibility by creating awareness around this problem by trading directly with the farmers to produce chocolate bars. (F, 2020)

So, what Tony Chocolonely sets apart is how they handle the ‘why’ and translate their story into every aspect of their communication. Tony makes the problem physical, by putting a product on the market which you can’t share equally. They also share their story in the packaging as you can tell below. As I told you earlier, you have to build a brand around the ‘why’ and start from there. Not the other way around.  

Conclusion

So, I’ve told you about how stories bring people together and inspire action and response. Also, today’s consumer doesn’t decide to buy based on what you’re selling, but rather whyyou’re selling it. Start telling your brand story to communicate the “why” creatively and engagingly. It’s eventually more fun than a boring text, right? 

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