Building your brand image should be an important part of the marketing strategy for your business. In a recent article for Zilliondesigns.com, blogger, editor and business coordinator, Janil Jean discussed the benefits of utilizing storytelling to boost your brand. As a small business owner, I found her advice to be helpful. In this article, Ms. Jean’s expert opinion will be shared on how to effectively utilize storytelling to boost your brand.
The Story behind Ms. Jean’s Storytelling Advice
Author Margaret Atwood said, “You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built into the human plan. We come with it.” Ms. Jean begins sharing her advice by asking you to think about a time in your childhood when you were happiest. Many times, it was when we were with our parents, grandparents, relatives or a babysitter and being read a story. Those were powerful formative moments in our lives. According to Ms. Jean, “smart brand managers realize that because stories stay with you for a lifetime, it’s the best way to get the word out and influence people.”
How to Use Storytelling to Effectively Boost Your Brand
To be an effective marketer, you need to become an effective storyteller and emotionally engage your customers. The most important thing that customers need to know about your business is where you’re coming from and what your specific mission statement is. This article shares advice on ascertaining whether or not your mission statement is effective and doing its job. Customers will notice your brand when you tell your story in a captivating manner that inspires them to make a connection with your products. The following is a list of six tips that Ms. Jean shares on effectively using storytelling to boost your brand.
Tip 1: Show Your Genuine Side
The best storytellers know how to appeal to the human side of the situation. This translates into the business world when marketers know how to show their genuine side as well. Not every business owner knows how to achieve this elemental connection. Take the time to think about your own story and figure out what aspects customers will be able to connect to. Ms. Jean shared a story about the Askinosie Chocolate Company, who understands how to connect with customers. A photo of the farmer whose beans were used to make the chocolate bars is utilized on the packaging of each bar. The strings used for the packaging are cut by women who have stayed at shelters in the town of Springfield. The company management wanted to connect their customers to a human element in their marketing by promoting the farmer and sharing how they have provided jobs for women in the shelters.
Tip 2: Maintain a General Appeal
The popular movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, has wide appeal across all age groups. If a story is great, it is loved by a wide audience. This also translates well into the world of marketing. Ms. Jean shares that branding needs to appeal to young adolescents “ready to explore the world as well as the slightly older generation who are interested in something a little more enlightening.” According to Ms. Jean, The Lego Movie exhibits the best example of brand storytelling as it appeals to all ages and is a “movie of pure joy.”
Tip 3: Short and Sweet
Some people’s stories as business owners are longer than five minutes. However, the most effective stories are the short and sweet ones. Most likely your story will be posted on your website and online in videos or on TV. It is important to catch the viewer’s attention immediately and not bore them with a story that goes on too long. According to Ms. Jean, Google has perfected the art of keeping it short and sweet. They promoted a short video, “We’re All Storytellers” which went viral in a matter of minutes. The spot aired during a commercial break when the Oscars were on ABC. Their branding method completely mastered the 60-second slot that it occupied.
Tip 4: Make Your Story Count
The great stories are the ones which have an impact on the majority of people who watch them. Ms. Jean advises that they have an impact because they hit it where it hurts. Think about the issues or topics that are trending in the current market and in world events. Your story needs to truly hit your target market where it hurts and this should be reflected in every aspect of your marketing campaign. According to Ms. Jean, Chipotle has been effective in their branding because they have tapped into a hot topic. In recent years, fast food has come under the radar and many people have been seeking out healthier food alternatives. They have worked hard at helping people to understand that “not everything labeled ‘natural’ is good.”
Tip 5: Make an Emotional Connection
The best advertisements are the ones that can pull on the emotional heartstrings of viewers and prospective customers. Ms. Jean advises that you should create branding that motivates your customers to be inspired and believe in themselves and their strengths. According to Ms. Jean, Dove has “always been one of the pioneering brands in storytelling.” They created a documentary, “Beauty Sketches” which is a short film where a sketch artist compares various perspectives on how people view themselves, compared to how others view them. The film showed some astounding positive results.
Tip 6: Close the Deal with Style
You’re story needs to end with a concise message which causes people to think long after they’ve seen your message. Ms. Jean advises that the art of storytelling has two objectives. First, it helps the target audience connect with your brand. Second, it helps them to see an in-depth view of your message. According to Ms. Jean, Ron Howard and Canon created The Imagin8ion project which completely tugs at the emotional heartstrings. Mr. Howard selected eight photographs with a goal in mind to craft a story from these pictures. The film created a moving storytelling experience which helped viewers to become emotionally invested in the stories they heard.
Storytelling can be a useful marketing strategy if utilized properly. This article showcased six storytelling strategies from expert business coordinator, Janil Jean. Remember to share your own story straight from the heart and always be genuine. It is important to keep things short and sweet and not too convoluted so customers get unfocused. Be sure to tug at the emotional heartstrings and wrap things up in a concise and professional manner—with your branding ringing in your customers’ ears long after they’ve heard your message.