What’s Your Company’s Story and How are You Telling It?

Jan 07, 2019

Article ImageBrand storytelling is an art and a science, and in today’s world it had better be highly strategic. Storytelling should convey not only what a company does, but who it is, and why—as well as tap into the emotions of its readers all at the same time. Really great storytelling begins with making the reader feel something, which isn’t always the easiest thing to do as a marketer.

Mastering the art of brand storytelling isn’t easy. Here are five best practices to help you improve your content strategy and increase engagement:

#1: Be Real

Storytelling should convey who you are as a company and not only focus on what you do. Improving your brand’s story involves tapping into the power of emotions and connecting with your consumers on a personal level. Be authentic. Make your readers feel something. Feelings cultivate brand affinity.

Loyal customers are willing to stick with a brand even if presented with meaningful and available alternatives if they feel an emotional connection. Strong emotional connections to retailers result in 32% more store visits and 46% more money spent, according to a recent Gallup poll.

There are seven emotions that result in stronger sales through increased customer connections. They are fear, frustration, hope, excitement, anger, fear of missing out, and desire to be first. If you can tell your story in a way that makes the consumer connect with one of these feelings, a sale may be imminent.

#2: Take a Stand

Put your newsroom hat on and broadcast your message loud and proud! You need to show the world—not tell—what makes your brand unique.

Learning to think like your consumers and provide answers to their problems is the first step. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm and collaborate with your team about news topics that may be impacting your consumers. Make your storytelling demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of trends and current issues happening in your consumers’ world. Here’s how you can turn your communications into news bites: 

  • Quickly State the Problem: Today’s consumers are bombarded with messages; statistics show brands have eight seconds to get a consumer’s attention. If your message doesn’t resonate immediately, you’ve lost. Win your consumers over by demonstrating that you understand their challenges and can provide a solution. 
  • Be Timely: What is top of mind today? Review and analyze current headlines and social trends to make connections whenever and wherever possible with your brand. Demonstrating this level of knowledge is a convincing way to engage consumers.
  • Share Your Mission: Define your brand responsibility in society. What is your corporate mission? What issues does your brand stand behind and how do you support those causes? Create communications that share the work you’re doing and publicize it via print, online, and social channels.
  • Take a Stand: Consumers are loyal to brands with a conscience and respond favorably to companies who own their truth. A recent report by Cone Communications found that 86% of U.S. consumers expect companies to act on social and/or environmental issues. Customer loyalty heightens when you take a position on issues that pertain to your industry or services. 

#3: Embrace Technology 

Technology should be at the heart of all your storytelling efforts. From initial concept to optimizing keywords, technology can amplify your brand message across all channels. However, technology for technology sake is an endless road. To achieve maximum results, your technology investment in brand storytelling should include:

  • Ease of Use: The ability to host multiple web pages, images, and conversations simultaneously, managed with a platform that lets you publish content and respond to consumer comments quickly and easily, is essential.
  • Distribution Across Channels: Your brand needs a solution that allows you to publish across any channel. Consumers want to hear from brands where and when they want, so if you aren’t delivering your message on their desired device at the time they want it, your brand isn’t maintaining a consistent user experience. 
  • Measurement Tools: Successful marketers understand the importance of analyzing how and where content is consumed. A key to your success is adjusting content accordingly when measurement tools report that certain communications are underperforming.

#4: Change the Channel

Marketers and content contributors have to master different channels and content as new devices are introduced. Each channel comes with its own set of rules for display experiences and mastering those techniques is essential. Make sure that the quality of your communications doesn’t diminish when published across various channels.

Don’t be afraid to try new forms of content. The written word is just one of many ways brands are creating emotional connections with consumers. Videos and images can also be powerful communication tools that resonate.  

#5: Be Scientific

Your brand story is always a work in progress and it’s important to measure the success/reach of each component to discover which topics, types, and channels perform best. Pay attention to all the specifics you can: bounce rates, social metrics, conversions, leads, etc. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Are you analyzing things like number of visits, sessions, channel-specific traffic and any other metrics that are important to your particular business?

A Brand Storytelling Success: Johnson & Johnson

One of the most sophisticated and successful examples of impactful brand storytelling is Johnson & Johnson. Over the years, Johnson & Johnson has taken take control of the company’s narrative and evolved its communications into a corporate newsroom with the creation of a Global Content Lab.

The three keys to Johnson & Johnson’s success with brand storytelling are:

  1. Telling authentic narratives that connect the whole storytelling process. Being genuine is essential; it humanizes your brand, making it easy for your audience to establish an emotional connection to the story being told, as well as the brand behind that story.
  1. Being attentive to the ever-changing world that we live in, as well as flexible in accommodating an audience’s fluctuating needs. It’s not just about producing stories that align with your brand but reaching an audience that cares about the point being made at just the right moment in the most effective way.
  1. Staying true to a story that a brand feels best represents them, as well as developing that story to the fullest, is how that one story will remain effective and relevant. Continuing to build upon your brand’s story will not only keep your audience intrigued but get across a relatable message that will allow people to feel linked to your brand and thus take a greater interest in what you have to offer.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” method. Approaching your content distribution with a real-time mindset and tailoring it to align with your brand mission will go a long way toward connecting with your consumers and keeping your company relevant.

You have a big opportunity to inspire consumers through effective storytelling and complementing this with the right technology is key to success. Implementing these tips will help you build stronger consumer relationships and increase engagement.

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