What’s your story?
Storytelling. It’s the latest buzzword of the marketing world. It’s what keeps many creative directors awake at night pondering the possibilities and limitations of marketing aims and campaigns and leaves many a small business owner puzzled as to what exactly their brand’s story is.
Some of the biggest brands are telling great stories, like the beautifully captured tale of Burberry’s founder, fashion retailer H&M’s 2016 Christmas ad, a concept built around the theme of coming together and brilliantly directed by Wes Anderson, and the very touching Allegro English For Beginners ad, featuring a Polish grandfather learning English for a very heartwarming reason.
What all these stories have in common, is emotion. An element/s that people, anyone, can relate to. There’s no more direct, in-your-face, call-to-action ‘buy now’ message. Instead, we are left with a feeling. A feeling of recognition, of association with something or someone, a shared experience, a memory, a connection. And that, in turn, whether we realize it or not, leaves us with a feeling of positivity, engagement, or perhaps even loyalty, towards the brand that has gifted us this feeling.
Other brands have taken it a step further, thinking out of the box by telling stories that may not even be as directly connected to their product, but certainly creates enough emotion with their target audience to spark an affinity towards the brand. Just look at the memorable campaign of jewellery giant Pandora’s “The Unique Connection”– an experiment exploring the unique bond between mother and child, showing blindfolded children picking out their mothers from a crowd.
Campaigns like these are teaching us that storytelling is not a mere buzzword, but legitimately and undoubtedly one of the best ways to bring together a brand’s essence with its message in capturing the imagination and attention, and hopefully, even persuade customers to connect with, be loyal to, or buy, from that brand – by making an emotional connection.
How does a small business follow suit, or rather, lead the way?
Step one: identify your story
What is your brand’s essence? What makes your small business unique? What is it about your products or services that differentiates you from the rest? Can you sum this up in six words?
Step two: find the connection
This crucial step enables you to look for the connection between your story and your target audience. Why would they be interested in your story? Why should your customers, existing or new, care?
Step three: tell your story, but tell it well
Finding a compelling way in which to tell your story is key in capturing the attention of your audience. Do you know your customers well enough to tell them something they would/should care about, in a way that will capture their attention? It’s not enough to just have a good story. You need to tell it well.
Step four: share the experience
Just like going on for ‘days’ about a good movie you’ve watched or book you’ve read, when you, your employees, and your customers start talking about and sharing your story, you know you’ve told a good one, and you’ve told it good.