Brand storytelling is fast becoming an integral part of many companies’ content marketing strategies – in fact, in today’s noisy media landscape, it’s probably the most effective way to genuinely connect with your audience and ultimately convert them into loyal customers.
On the flip side, many companies are still unsure what it’s all about and why they should be doing it so we thought we’d chat to Hoot Marketing who are specialists in helping companies discover their stories.
Meet Niamh Cullen and Sue Wills, directors at Hoot Marketing, who are here to shed some light on the matter for you.
Brand storytelling can mean different things to different people – how do you personally define it?
At Hoot Marketing, we define brand storytelling as a way of communicating with your audiences on an emotional level. All buying decisions, whether they are personal or business, are made from the heart. They might be rationalised by the brain through features and benefits but the ‘want’ comes from an emotional reaction to the offer. Brand storytelling puts your customer right at the heart of the issues and engages in a way that creates a reaction, it might be an ooh or an ahh or an ugh but, whatever it is, the message generates a ‘feeling’.
Why do you need it?
The internet has empowered us to do our own research and make decisions ourselves rather than be force fed messages about products and services that are not relevant to us. Referrals have always been – and are still – the most effective method of marketing. Stories help us to remember experiences we have had with brands and pass those on in a way that can be easily digested. Of course, if it’s a good experience you will create brand advocates who will refer you and help influence new potential customers.
How does it work?
As humans, we are hard wired to tell stories, and remember and share stories. In the current digital climate, we are overloaded with messages from all angles but we will remember and re-tell the stories that catch our attention and intrigue, stories that make us laugh, cry and feel compelled to take action.
Using storytelling to get your product or service message to your various audiences is a powerful way of giving them digestible, memorable and repeatable information that will help them buy your product or service offering. Stories are not about sharing data, they are about sharing real life experiences that your customers, staff and prospects have had with your brand. In this way, other customers and prospects can relate to your message, digest it and act on it. They will even pass your stories on to their colleagues and friends
What do you say to less sexy B2B brands that claim they have no stories to tell?
All brands, whether ‘sexy’ or deemed dullish, can have a brand story. Largely, it will be based on customer experience and how they have connected with their customers on an emotional level. This may not be through the sale of a product, however, but perhaps through a cause that they support.
For example a double glazing company that sells windows and doors may not be seen as an exciting company to deal with but it can make an impact emotionally by undertaking activity to raise money to double glaze homes of old people who cannot afford to keep themselves warm over the winter. This connects with many of us who have older parents or relatives and gives us a reason to talk about their brand. Let’s be honest, we wouldn’t talk about them if they advertised windows and doors but creating this cause offers them a conversational piece that captures the heart.
What’s the best way to use brand storytelling?
The beauty of brand storytelling is that it can be used in so many ways, right across your organisation. Your sales teams can use stories when they speak face to face with customers, you can use stories across your social media, across your email campaigns, your videos, your PR and at events, on your website and in all of your written communication. You will find that brand storytelling inspires and engages your own staff as well as your customers, and your teams will enjoy finding and using brand stories across all areas of your business.
Come along to our FREE seminar
Want to learn more about brand storytelling? Then book a place at our free seminar on 31st October 2013 where you can learn all about the key elements of a good story, how to create content that will carry it and connect with your audience and how to get your stories discovered on social media. Plus we’ll be having a bit of fun at the end!