Storytelling for your brand – how to build a great story?
A story is one of the most basic forms of communication, something we learn throughout our lives. Storytelling is not a discovery of contemporary marketing, nor was it born in the beginnings of advertising or literature. It may sound like a cliche, but the art of creating stories was already practiced by the first people. We imagine them sitting by a campfire or in a cave, talking about hunting and struggling with unbridled nature – even this image is a story. The conclusion is very simple – storytelling is a natural mental need – we want to be told stories, we want to tell stories, stories will always be important to us.
Why your story matters
Customer’s attention is an extremely expensive currency today, and whether we will be able to turn it into our product, service or concept is one of the factors that determines success. “Why would I choose your brand?” There is no big philosophy here, the recipient has to be convinced that he knows the brand and be able to identify himself with it. Learning about history creates a bond of curiosity, understanding, sometimes shared beliefs and values, but also a bond of shared experiences. The story brings your reality closer to the client, makes him go where you lead him, see details that he might have missed if it weren’t for your story. Brands that have the ability to be interesting or surprising become recognizable, the ones that have done it perfectly become iconic. Pay attention to the models of cars, clothes, equipment, which are a symbol today – each of them tells a story, carries a lot of information, identifies with an idea, lifestyle. It can all be called storytelling.
How does storytelling work?
We are an excellent mechanism for receiving and analyzing stimulants. Observation and experience let us put ourselves in a situation that’s not real – we think abstractly. There are several neurological theories related to this, including those concerning mirror neurons, which claim that observation itself is a substitute for experiencing. And hearing a story is almost like participating in a story – it guides us through sets of feelings and events that become ours. All we have to do is look at someone’s effort to almost feel it, analyze which muscles we should tense, how to position the body. When we see falls, injuries – we almost feel the pain, although the accident didn’t happen to us. This ability to transfer feelings also includes emotions, it allows us to relate to struggles, mental states, pleasures that are not our own – art uses this mechanism of empathy from the beginning of history. This is where the ancient concept of catharsis comes from, associated with the experience of certain cleansing emotions. We are empathetic and we have a need to connect the dots and build a whole story. This is why storytelling works.
Here are two examples of already well-known, iconic commercials that are all about engaging storytelling:
What subject to pick?
Talk about what’s unique in your offer. It can be something obvious to you, but not necessarily for your audience. A well told story may be about the creative process, finding solutions, creating a product, or even the way we operate. A good story is true and about us, which does not mean that it has to include all the boring details, it’s about showing our recipient only what we want him to see. Could the way the varnish is applied to a car be interesting? Sure, if you make it into a good story. Great storytelling about the process will make an average person say “I didn’t think it was so complex” and a specialist say “I didn’t think it was so interesting”. A good example of a well-structured story is “The day of La Prima” – an advertisement for the new Fiat 500, which tells the story of the model and shows for whom and for what purposes the car is made. Interwoven into the story is a thread of a completely new edition of the vehicle, tailored to modern requirements and the pleasure of using it, which the brand president speaks about during the test drive.
Show the beauty of craftsmanship by talking about the process, unique solutions, even routine activities – often unusual recipes or implementing a well known recipe with exceptional commitment is the superpower of your brand. Or is the client most important? Maybe his story needs to be told, because the audience is the greatest strength of your brand. It is important that your story is authentic, true, shows who you are and what you do, or what your audience does. You can also use the idea of “people like us do things like this” – perhaps the story you need is to present your audience’s lifestyle and show how your product will complete it?
How to do it?
Determine who will be your hero that will overcome adversities in pursuit of a goal, his problems will be solved by brave helpers or a wise man. Maybe your product solves unusual problems, fights using unique functions, ultimately giving the recipient a victory? The hero can also be a customer looking for a solution, he can meet you or your product on his way, and from then on you overcome difficulties and achieve success together? Or maybe you are the hero of your story? Do you experience any adventures to achieve your goals? The possibilities are endless, there is no good process that you can’t visualize with a great story.