The Story is the Brand: Four Ways to Build Your Brand through Storytelling

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In a time of rapidly compounding technology generations, the most successful businesses will consistently deliver high touch to customers with one of our oldest traits – the telling of a story

                                                                                          ~ Jim Blasingame

We live in a world where communication is ensconced in storytelling. Simply, we communicate through stories. Storytelling has a practical application when we talk about brands and increasing brand awareness.

Every business has a story to tell. The story of a brand is a combination of

    • core competencies
    • competitive advantage
    • experiences, beliefs, and values
    • the promise to their customers

Telling your unique story is paramount to a business's overall communications strategy. A good brand story will display promise, loyalty, trust, and inspiration. It becomes more than a simple advertisement to get the word out about the company; it is now more about who the company is, rather than what it has or what it can do. Here are a few ways to leverage the power of storytelling to connect brand and customer.

4 Ways to Build Your Brand Through Storytelling

1.    Create content Ask any marketer and they will confirm: content is king. Content drives people to a product or service when it is emotionally-driven and value-based. A brand's communication content strategy must include the brand’s story. Brands must first identify and understand their target audience, and then understand their competition. Brands mustidentify what characteristics set them apart from their competition – what gives them a competitive advantage, a competitive difference? From there, brands develop their unique personality, their story. As your brand's story evolves, sharing your story is the key to your content strategy.

2.    Choose your channel Selecting appropriate communications channels is often tricky. Some business owners think it is necessary to communicate their story on every popular channel from traditional advertising to blanketing the social networks. This is probably not the best strategy. If a business’s target customer base is 18-24 year old males, it may not be an effective choice to use Pinterest, which so far is primarily followed by females. Either Facebook or Twitter might be a better channel. Choosing the right communications channel comes down to knowing who the target audience is and where they live in on media. Does the target demographic watch a lot of television, listen to the radio, or is very active on social media? Research before choosing your communication channels will go a long way when sharing your brand’s story.

3.    Live your story The relatively new world of social media allows customers to peer behind the curtain to evaluate the truth behind any campaign or brand story. Brands must be authentic and transparent when developing their story and when spreading the story to their audience. Brands with deep authenticity render more powerful stories that speak to their audience. Brands must live up to their stories, live their values, be committed and authentic.

4.    Practice makes perfect Storytelling is an art, not a science. It takes practice, skill and talent to know what to include in a story. However, effective storytelling is something that can be learned. Brands first need to know and understand their customers. One of the best ways to start generating your brand story is to have conversations about it. Storytelling is a shared experience, and getting insight from existing and potential customers, suppliers, or partners can be very helpful when deciding how your brand will tell your story. By engaging with other people, your brand gets feedback on how your story is heard and understood, and you can adjust accordingly. Remember: sharing your story takes time and practice.

Whether your business is a large multinational or a start-up, sharing your story is central to building relationships. All brands have a story to tell; the successful ones tell their story strategically and with passion. For those businesses who are not sure where to start,  communications professionals aid a brand in ensuring that their story is being told in the best possible way. The story is like brand DNA: every business has it, and it is very unique. Tell your story; grow your business.

For More Information:
LinkedIn: Four Steps to Build Brand Awareness through Storytelling
Sprout Content: No Story No Brand: Transparent Storytelling in Marketing Helps Brands Win