Brand storytelling is a great way to facilitate new ways of thinking about your brand. Through brand storytelling, you can connect with new audiences and, in turn, land your next client.
Believe it or not, we had this post scheduled to be written even before Nike’s commercial aired after the @USWNT won the 2019 World Cup on July 7 (how awesome was that game?!) but the commercial is a great launching point as we start thinking about brand storytelling.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s what I’m talking about.
I believe that we will be four-time champions and keep winning until we not only become the best female soccer team, but the best soccer team in the world. And that a whole generation of girls and boys will go out and play and say things like “I want to be like Megan Rapinoe when I grow up,” and that they’ll be inspired to talk and win and stand up for themselves. And I believe that we will make our voices heard and TV shows will be talking about us every single day and not just once every four years, and that women will conquer more than just the soccer field, like breaking every single glass ceiling and having their faces carved on Mount Rushmore, and that we will keep fighting not just to make history, but to change it forever. This team wins. Everyone wins.
What is brand storytelling?
There are various trains of thought around the definitions of brand storytelling. Here is how I think of brand storytelling: It’s a narrative. It’s a way to connect your brand to prospects that focuses on shared values. It personifies your brand.
Think about brand storytelling as a way to build a more personal connection with your audience.
It’s like dating.
On your first date, you are getting to know one another—what is the person’s background? What is his or her family like? Where did she grow up? How did he come to “be”?
The same holds true for connecting with your audience. Your brand’s story should showcase who you are—how you started, why you do what you do, how you help others, what values you bring to the table. And you should share it over time through consistent dialogue and conversation.
Nike is an example of a brand that has been telling this story consistently over time. Phrases like “Don’t change your dream. Change the world.” that appear on their Twitter feed this summer. Or the “Dream Crazy” ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James and Serena Williams. They are supporting a movement through storytelling over time.
How can we tell our brand’s story?
While we want to make a connection with others, we also want to do it in a way that fits their lifestyle, schedules and needs. What platform will they respond to best? What medium is the right format? What are the values and highlights they are looking to connect with or to learn about your brand?
Nonprofits have brand storytelling down. Think about it: You’re at an annual fundraising event or gala, the meal has been served, the lights dim and a 2 to 3-minute video plays that embodies the values and showcases the history, story and influences the organization has had on others. Interview snippets, voice overs, inspirational music and a general “feel good” storyline is typically in play.
And there is rarely a dry eye in the audience.
As you craft your brand’s story and approach the way in which you will tell it, think of how you would answer the following questions:
- What’s your reason for being? Why do you do what you do?
- How did you come to be? What was/is your journey?
- Who are the key players in your story?
- What is your mission?
- Who do you serve?
- How can you help?
Think about the light in which you want to be seen. Much like personal branding, brand story telling can build a reputation that brings in clients that align with your values. This is what it’s all about.
Another great example comes from a local company here in the Twin Cities (doing great things on a global scale), Mercury Mosaics. I first met Mercedes, the owner of the company, through the Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders program. She is a breath of fresh air with a witty, smart, quirky personality that shows through in her company’s brand. As a company that provides a tangible product that is hand-crafted (and a company that has very solid values) they do a great job of sharing their brand’s story through video.
It’s not just your story
Content marketing 101 tells us that it’s not about you, it’s about them—your audience. While it’s great to tell your brand’s story, think outside the proverbial box of making it all about you, what you sell or who you serve. This is why Nike is such a primary example of brand story telling. It’s not all about them.
Think about your values. Think about feelings you want to evoke. Think about a cause you support. A client you admire. Create a movement. Inspire action. Share not only your story, but the stories of others.
That is how we build relationships and transparency. That is how we build trust. That is the true mark of great brand storytelling.
S/O to Tnotermann who suggested this topic for our blog who was interested in learning about how brand storytelling can make a difference in landing the ideal client with easy-to-digest information—what other ideas of using brand storytelling have you seen as successful brand engagement and client outreach? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, below.