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What’s the purpose of your branding campaign?
It’s all about causing an effect. The brand needs to stand for something unique and different. It should be memorable enough to cause some kind of emotion for the target audience. Ultimately, the brand itself should inspire action.
If you ask ten different business owners why they engage in the branding process, you’ll get ten different answers. But they have something in common: they want their businesses to thrive and they want to engage the audience. Engage the audience.
Now we’re getting somewhere.
There’s a particular marketing strategy that can help you take engagement to a whole other level.
Why Is Storytelling Important for Branding?
The human mind is naturally inclined towards stories. Think of little kids. Why do they love bedtime stories?
Oh; you’re not interested in kids but in people who can actually buy your products or services? Well they liked stories when they were kids and they never abandoned that preference.
Think about your own behavior for a moment. When you want to buy something new, such as an air purifier, for example, you won’t just look at the descriptions on Amazon. You’ll scroll down to read some reviews. You want to know what the product’s features are, but most of all you want to know how it works. How it changed someone’s life. You want to see social proof. You want experiences, and in their essence, experiences are nothing but personal stories.
The statistics are clear: 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know. 70% trust consumer opinions that they read online. 58% trust newspaper articles. As the advertising approach gets more “salesy,” the trust levels drop.
A great story feels like experience. To show it through an example, check National Geographic’s Instagram profile. This is not an advertising campaign, but it sure is branding. What do you see? It’s not just random snaps. These are stories told through images. The photo descriptions take things further. There, you see the real storytelling approach of the brand. And it sure works. At this point, the profile has over 94 million followers. That’s a huge number of people being attracted to the stories of a brand.
How to Boost a Brand’s Reputation through Storytelling
So storytelling is important. Now the only question is: how do you make it happen? We’ll give you 7 simple tips that teach you how to tell great stories.
1. Use Jaw-Dropping Images
National Geographic has published some of the most amazing photographs the world has ever seen. Visual storytelling is the whole essence of the brand. When you see one of these photos, it makes you stop and think. Where is this place? What are these people doing? How did they get so close to photograph these animals?
The photos are jaw-dropping and that’s why they work.
Don’t be overwhelmed!
You can achieve such level, too. First of all, you must plan the concept of your photographs. Remember: they must tell stories. Snapping random photos of your products won’t work. You want the photograph to show how people use those products.
If, for example, you own a store selling skiing equipment, you won’t just photograph the products. You’ll want to show it in action, so you’ll photograph people skiing. You’ll show the story behind those products.
That’s how visual storytelling works.
If you’re not that great at photography or you don’t have good equipment, hiring a professional is a good idea. But if you’re willing to learn, you may start by taking online courses and exploring the top photography blogs.
2. The Written Word Matters, Too
If it was Pinterest, National Geographic would just focus on the visual effect. But on Instagram, Facebook, and the official website, you’ll see great stories accompanying these images. Now; we’re talking about a brand that thrives on editorials. If you own a simple e-commerce business, that might seem like too much. But remember: storytelling is never too much.
Maybe you won’t write an editorial about skiing. But you can write about beautiful places that are popular among people who like this sport.
Whatever your business is, you can always relate it to stories.
If writing is not your thing, you can always count on a professional. You’ll find great writers at freelancing websites and cheap writing services. Just make sure to hire someone who understands your industry and knows exactly what you need for this campaign.
3. Master the Art of the Hook
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”
Now that’s what we call a good hook. It immediately drives you in and you know something great is going to follow. But that’s just because we know it’s from Star Wars and we know how cool Star Wars is.
When you want to hook the readers through a branding campaign, the first sentence has to be more relevant. It may be emotional, shocking, or funny. Most of all, it has to get attention.
How do you master this art?
Simple: start reading! Start reading blog posts, great descriptions on popular Instagram profiles, and actual books. Pay attention to the way the writers start unveiling the story. Recognize the elements that awaken emotion and identify that emotion. Note down your impressions.
With time and practice, you’ll be able to write great hooks, too. If that doesn’t happen, you’ll always have your professional writers to count on. But even if that’s the case, emphasize the importance of a great intro and demand it every time.
4. Make Your Customers Part of the Story
When you take one of your customers and immerse them in the branding campaign, you’ll have a powerful story that gets people’s attention. This is a common strategy that brands for weight-loss products use. The problem is that most of their campaigns are fake.
Yours won’t be fake.
You’ll invite some of your actual customers to share their experience with the audience. If they accept, you’ll pay them a ticket to wherever your offices are, and you’ll pay for their accommodation and meals. You’ll take professional photos and you’ll film videos. They will share the story about how your products or services affected their lives.
People will believe these stories because they will be real. Don’t try to edit them too much. Allow the raw individuality of a person to come through the message.
5. Get Engaged in a Good Cause
Humility used to be the central idea of charity. You donated money for a good cause and kept quiet about it. When you bragged about it, people started questioning your motives.
But times have changed.
Now, everything goes social. The more you share, the more awareness you create for the cause. The more people know about this cause, the more it will benefit from the exposure.
Exposure is good and you shouldn’t feel bad about it.
The best part is that charity is goodwill for brands. It gives you a great foundation for storytelling.
What’s the story behind this cause? Share it! Then, share the story how you found out about this cause and how it aligns with your brand’s principles. Share how the company was part of the solution and invite people to join the cause. They may become part of the story. With every purchase, they will donate money to the cause.
6. The Video Ad Should Tell a Story, Too
Why does everyone love Coca-Cola holiday ads?
It’s the holiday spirit they evoke. The developers of these campaigns always seem to amaze with their creative ideas and the feeling of warmth they convey through storytelling.
Storytelling – that’s the essence of a great video commercial.
So if you plan to invest in this type of advertising, the campaign should evolve from a great central story.
7. Most of All, Be Unique
Stories are a great way to showcase the unique personality of your brand. You should never check on the competition with the intention to develop a similar story. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are competitors, but their storytelling approach is very different. Coca-Cola is about family and warmth, whereas Pepsi is more about fun, sports and music.
Identify your brand’s factor of uniqueness. What’s its vibe?
The story must convey that vibe. That’s the only way to make storytelling part of the branding process.
Share Your Stories
The trends in marketing are changing, but one factor remains a constant: people love storytelling and the most successful marketing campaigns are developed around that concept.
You and your team have stories. Your brand has a story. Just get those ideas and turn them into a great marketing strategy. That’s the ultimate recipe to building a brand that gets people’s attention.