Human brains are hard-wired to remember experiences and feelings, not statistics and numbers. It’s one thing to provide a motivational quote and another thing entirely to give your audiences a motivational story. Chances are that they’ll remember the story over the quote. That is because stories are a way to evoke emotions and, if told properly, they can also get your audiences invested in the characters.
Why is storytelling so effective in marketing?
1. Connect with your community:
The reason people remember the moral of the story instead of quotes in a textbook is that a story connects us to the character. No one reads a story that they do not feel connected to. So if you can get someone to read your brand story, then you just got them to connect with you and remember your brand. With stories, you can reach people with similar thoughts or thought processes. So you are finding your audiences without talking about your product right.
2. Drive brand loyalty and ROI:
Once you establish an emotional connection, it now becomes easier to market your products. For example, if you are writing a novel. You don’t release merch before your novel. No, you release your novel, drum up interest and a fan following. And then you launch your merch. Because people who love your book will want the merch. There is no reason for people to buy merchandise if they haven’t read the book or don’t feel connected to it.
3. Create a unique narrative about your brand:
No story is original anymore. Not after thousands of millennials, where someone writes or tells a new story every day. The thing is, you don’t have to be original. You do not need to aim for a herculean task when you can just make the story unique to you. Every brand is trying to solve a problem. But how you solve it is key to how you tell your story. Don’t copy other brands’ storytelling strategies. Frankly, it just won’t work. Create a story that resonates with your brand’s ethos and your customers.
There are thousands of brands that are using brand storytelling to connect with their customers. Many are doing a great job of getting their story out to the masses. However, there are very few brands that are doing it so well that they can make an instant emotional connection with the customer. While their strategy is not something that you can apply directly to your brand. A business storytelling strategy is unique to them and only works for them. You can learn why a certain element works for certain brands. And how to identify elements in brand storytelling that work for you.
Here are a few brands that ace theory brand storytelling.
Nike is one of the best brand storytellers out there. Storytelling has been a core part of their marketing strategy and community building. Nike has found immense success in its marketing tactics and its customer-centric approach to selling its products. Nike, with brand storytelling, does everything right for fostering trust and building a community. They understand they are not just selling shoes; they are selling emotions that come with the shoes.
What you need to understand is that a pair of shoes is not the same for everyone. They help their customers get fit and healthy. For some, it stands between them and being able to play sports. For a few, Nike shoes are an inspiration because of the athletes who wear them. And Nike has a good understanding of the feelings their jokes invoke and that’s exactly what they harness. They built their entire community on fitness and wellness and greatness.
The brain behind the company is Rihanna, a singer, actress, and fashion designer. Overall, she is a person with a company that focuses on inclusivity and representation in the fashion and makeup industry. Since Rihanna has had to deal with a lot of push-backs for being a woman of color in her career. She has a deep understanding of how underrepresentation affects people in various aspects. One of those aspects is the lack of makeup made for people of color and the limited accessibility to the same.
Fenty is a makeup line that is famous for its inclusive foundation and makeup that is created for “everyone”. Fenty brings representation to different cultures, races, and skin tones, these simply with makeup. She has carved a niche for herself and her barn, Fenty, with her products and the store that is centered on it. Fenty branding relies on uplifting and authentic communication tones. They are in tune with their demographic and what their audience wants. They involve various body types and skin tones in all of their campaigns and aim for body positivity in all their communications.
They formed the ideology of the company when the founders were still in school. They had rented out a mattress on the floor to help pay for rent. And that is how Airbnb was born. In its early days, Airbnb’s marketing was centered on finding a place to stay whilst traveling. And the marketing strategy worked well for them for a few years.
But the company grew as did the demographic that used it. The old words that define Airbnb didn’t seem to fit anymore. So the company went on a self-finding journey. And on that journey, they realized they wanted to build a brand that would become synonyms with “belong”.
They were not just a “searching for lodging” company. They were a company that helped you find accommodation. The community that was using Airbnb was passionate about traveling and connecting with people across the globe. And that is what the company honed in on. They centered their entire brand on “belonging”. Belonging in a community with different cultures and cities, and belonging in a place that wasn’t necessarily home.
Spotify’s brand storytelling hinges on data-driven campaigns. Spotify Wrapped is a stroke of marketing genius. A strategy that many other errands are trying to copy with very little impact. Spotify time and time again proves that it can market any piece of content. What is Spotify Wrapped? For those of you who don’t know, Spotify accumulates all the songs and artists you have listened to create a music profile. At the end of the year, they’ll show you your top 5 artists’ albums and genres. They also give you a profile of new genres you listened to. And statistics on how many minutes you spent on their platforms and if you are in the top 0.0001% of listeners for an artist.
Spotify customers share these statistics and their music profiles on social media platforms. This means that Spotify is getting its customers to market its products better than they ever could. These shared music profiles act as testimonials and social proof of Spotify’s product performance. It also helps them increase brand loyalty and customer retention. They have made their customer their Hero and the customer journey through the year is the Hero’s Journey.
The key to effective brand storytelling is making the story entirely about the customer or character. There is no way about your product or services. It is about the experience that your product brings. The customer-centric or marketing-centric your brand is, the more it will draw in customers and loyalty.