Building a strong brand is no easy feat, but in today’s age the use of storytelling can help set your brand a part from the rest. With the growing digital revolution and shifts in how media is consumed, we are continuing to see not only how “content is king,” but branded content is becoming more important than ever before. As part of their content marketing strategy, savvy marketers are creating authentic content that aligns with their brand values. And it just so happens to be that storytelling is at the frontier.
Are you capitalizing on your stories? Branded signature stories have the power to do four things effectively: 1) Attract attention and break the clutter, 2) Enhance customer’s attachment to the brand, 3) Help articulate a brand vision and set the organizational values, and 4) Inspire and guide employees.
These are five ways to include storytelling in your content marketing strategy:
Brands with great beginnings tend use founder stories as their storytelling method of choice. These are usually stories of average Joes, underdogs, or ambitious college students who either had a passion or saw a problem they thought needed fixing. A great example of a company that uses its founder story to build its brand is L.L. Bean. They are a 100+ year old company whose story began with a gentleman who simply got tired of always having damp feet after his hunting trips. People resonate with this story of an average guy buying into the American dream, and that’s part of how this family-owned business continues to grow. Leon L. Bean believed in high quality products and unmatched customer service, but the brand also saw that their story as another asset.
Product stories are the stories where the product is at the center of attention. Often times the product is either something the world has never seen before or it just absolutely crushes the competition. These stories use the strength of the product’s attributes to build an even stronger set of brand stories. Take Blendtec’s extreme product testing as an example. Its founder, Tom Dickson, created one of the most popular YouTube shows ever by blending extreme (non-food related) things to prove that their blender’s are unmatched. They’ve blended everything from marbles, crowbars, to iPhone Xs.
Ever heard, “The customer is always right?” Well, brands are taking that to a whole new level. Consumer stories use the consumer experience and the lives of real customers to express either a brand’s values or new initiatives. These tend to be the stories that hit home for many buyers. In 2013 British Airways saw that there was an upward trend in flights from North America to India. They learned that people were taking this 12+ hour flight to visit home, more specifically, to visit their moms. From this opportunity came the “Visit Mum” campaign which increased British Airways Indian market share by 3% and helped them take control over flights between North America and India.
There are 1,000’s of unsung heroes working day-to-day at companies across the country. Every once in a while, brands are smart enough to highlight those extraordinary employees in a big way. Take for example the Frito-Lay janitor that created one of America’s most popular snacks – Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Another great example is the Zappos employee who once stayed on the phone for an 11 hour customer service call. These are the types of stories that can build both customer and employee loyalty if used properly.
Business Revitalization Stories
Sometimes stories of new life and change within a company can be enough to build (or rebuild) a brand too. Consumers find comfort in knowing that companies are actually trying to serve them as best they can. Dominos was facing flack for their bland and “cardboard” tasting pizza. As a company that prided themselves on quality, this news took them by surprise. Their response? They used that critique to revitalize their recipe, delivery, and customer service. Dominos did a complete 180, and then they shared their story with consumers. Now, the Ann Arbor-based company is the largest pizza company in the world.
The takeaway is clear, storytelling is significantly more persuasive than attribute-based information alone—which is why it should be a key component of your overall content marketing strategy. When marketers create branded content that consumers actually want to consume, brand equity is bound to increase. Branded stories have the potential to convey powerful messages that signifies key brand associations and aligns company values with that of the target consumer. All-in-all, the right story can sell your brand perfectly.