July 10, 2014

The Art of Effective Brand Storytelling

Brand StorytellingBrand storytelling has always been an important way to communicate the values and backbone of what your brand’s about. The curiosity of consumers who want to know more about what they’re investing in is natural and has been around as long as brands have been putting themselves out there.

Some bigger brands pulling of great storytelling include Coca Cola, Allstate, and Chipotle, with its highly effective Scarecrow campaign.

A lot of what makes brand storytelling powerful is the emotion it’s able to convey, often creating awareness so we look at a brand in a new way, or cementing ideas we have about what’s important, and what drives them. It isn’t salesy or spammy. Instead, we’re compelled to watch and find out more based on a few important factors that draw us in.

Taking a few tips from the bigger guys, here’s how effective brand storytelling comes together:

Who’s the character?

Your character needs to pass the Why should I care?  test. Consumers need to feel some sort of attachment to the person placed in the starting role.

Sometimes that means creating a buyer persona, someone who looks familiar to your audience and provides a perspective that rings true to them. Whatever point of view you’re using, the bottom line is that your audience needs to connect with them emotionally and actually care about what’s happening to them.

Have some structure

You might not be a seasoned fiction writer, but you know the basics, right? There’s always a beginning, middle, and end to every story. Same goes with brand storytelling. What happens in the beginning sets up who your characters are and the setting. The middle will introduce a problem and any potential solutions, while the end wraps things up and shows how the problem was taken care of.

Emotional appeal

Make sure the sequence of events allows your audience to not just follow along, but take interest in how things are unfolding, so they’ll stick around and also take something away from the ending. Emotional appeal comes not just from the message of your story, but other elements you infuse, including imagery and music choice. It’s one of the magic ingredients to your storytelling that’ll allow for your audience to become invested in what’s happening and solidify your message. Chipotle’s Scarecrow campaign is the perfect example if you’re looking to get an idea of how emotional appeal can be pulled off with sometimes subtle, but important, details.

Be true to your brand

One of the top mistakes of brand storytelling is a lack of clarity or consistency about the message they’re trying to put out. There needs to be long-term thought and strategy behind storytelling, rather than simply putting something clever or interesting out there for the sake of attracting attention. Don’t let the point of the story you’re telling get away from you in favor of some meaningless attention.

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