Different people have different opinions about brand storytelling. Somebody can say that creating content that sells is storytelling; which is true. The way we see it at IQD is that there are different ways of communicating; stories that communicate to the brain which is logic and then there are stories that communicate to the heart. Most successful stories communicate first to our hearts and then our minds. To build a brand with loyal clients we need to communicate in a way that it evokes emotions first. When we communicate with logic to people, they don’t remember the message or the story. On the other side when we communicate a story that has plenty of emotions people resinate with it and remember it.
I asked google what brand storytelling means and without a doubt it showed me this;
Let’s take an example and imagine that we sell cups; we can create content and say that we have red cups, we have black cups, they are the best cups and other boring stuff about our cups. The reality is that nobody cares. With content marketing and storytelling growing dramatically I see a lot of companies promoting more and more their services and products and people hide more and more this type of content. Some might argue that people like their content on Facebook when they post products; of course they do, they used ads and people just liked it. They didn’t connect on an emotional level and from those 500 people who liked the post how many actually benefited from that post? Imagine if you would promote your story where people can get inspired and develop a feeling towards your brand? Imagine if your content increased trust.
People all over the world are telling themselves a story about your products and services. Without a brand or an active message to support your story you can’t really control the story they tell. It’s just another company that sells red cups, tomorrow a new company will pop up that will sell more cups, cheaper cups, bigger cups and this race never ends. The big guys will continue throwing money on advertising until they run out and realise that being a plain Jenny doesn’t help the company.
“People don’t have 30 seconds to be interrupted but they have 30 minutes to hear a great story”
We live in a world full of products and in a world full of great products, “I bought it on sale” can sometimes have a negative output. I can feel some marketers shouting at me saying “people want cheap products” and “special offers make people buy things”, yes of course you can create scarcity and force behaviour. But don’t expect to build a sustainable brand where people value what you do, and will pay a premium for it, when all you have is sale after sale. The way I see it, when I buy a product and I like the brand I will say I bought this new Starbucks cup because it’s a series of Home Collection. I shared a story not because it was 50% but because there is a story behind their Home Collection.
When creating content and creating your story you have to think of what your values are, why did you start your business and then think of how you will make your customer’s life better. Your story should not start with your product, but with emotion, the impact your product has in their life. Write down what you value most in life, what makes your heart sing and storytell it.
Sell the experience; make a promise
We can learn a lot from Amanda Palmer. Her 20,000 dedicated fans follow her because she made a promise and delivers on it. She promises not to make music she doesn’t believe in. She promises to sacrifice “success” in order to stay true to her fans and her art. Her fans love her for it and they even pay in advance to fund her next album (which is not on special offer). They share it, buy it and go on road trips just to see her play. She created her own mobile application as well. The takeaway is that she made her fans care about her and follow her religiously.
Selling experience; a lifestyle
Ted Baker goes beyond just clothes. When I buy from Ted Baker I know two things. One, I trust the brand. They’re experts in men’s fashion and care about how I look. How do I know they are experts? Because they have an amazing email newsletter, awesome content and they constantly remind me how cool they are with their new Instagram Stories.
Two, the care about quality – because it shouts all over their branding. They are clean, fresh and original. I don’t just buy clothes from them, I go to Ted Baker Grooming as well because I feel that they are perfect at what they do. They take care of me and they show it. When I buy from them I say to myself “Men who look awesome, care and love themselves”.
There are other brands like Net-A-Porter and H&M that I like and they are always my first choice when I have a need for clothes. All three brands do an amazing job on storytelling and content marketing.
Selling experience; inspiring
I could quite possibly be an o2 Mobile client for life. They are without a doubt the best at inspiring and surprising their clients. They inspire me to be more dog, to be more active and to live life. They have tons of benefits, like an app that is dedicated to give their clients all sorts of advantages. Their branding, content and communication is fun and interactive. They go beyond just a phone company.
Selling experience: you against the world
This is a story that we did for a client of ours, Sparta Novelty. We created a story and focused on emotion first and then on the product (sandals). We want to go beyond sandals and sell the experience; communicate what the brand believes in, their values. We want to inspire women to be more and remind them that they are confident, amazing and powerful. When buying from Sparta Novelty you have the world at your feet and the right pair of shoes will take them to new and exciting places. It’s not just a tagline, it’s a story behind the brand. An authentic story that they can communicate with their branding, social, packaging and customer service.
Building a brand and selling experiences is a long term goal and can’t be taken lightly. It’s not just about a marketing message or a campaign, the whole business model has to be behind it. Promoting products and services will not take us to the next level. We can sell more shoes and run banner ads and post about our great quality and half priced shoes on social media but that will not build loyalty because next time I want to buy shoes I will buy from Ted Baker (or Nike) without them advertising to me. That’s the power of storytelling and content marketing.
If you think your brand deserves more and you have a great product or service, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.