Many perceive branding to be about logos, taglines and promoted narratives. In the age of the empowered consumer, with easily accessible information, your brand is no longer what you say it is.
Brands are instead built from the inside-out, while reputation is earned from the outside-in.
Your audiences are not just your customers but also prospects, vendors, strategic partners, investors, employees, and anyone else who has any interaction with your brand and corporation. After all, in today’s open and social communication platforms, information and knowledge are shared across channels and audiences.
Brand storytelling is the art of shaping the perception towards a company using narratives and storytelling techniques. Stories are the perfect vehicle to inspire brand loyalty and build a trustworthy organisational reputation. When you develop emotional connections with your audiences, your brand’s value grows tremendously.
Here are three reasons why you should make storytelling a priority in your branding efforts.
Humans are born with a hunger to listen to and tell stories. For thousands of years, ever since the first cave paintings, humans have used stories to make sense of the world and share that understanding with others. Even the youngest children instinctively want to hear stories and engage in play-acting. This desire has lasted through millennia into our culture today – movies are a trillion-dollar global business, and are able to spark conversations across cultures.
By tapping into this innate hunger, brands can use storytelling techniques to build relationships with audiences and drive the narrative around brand values and mission.
Maya Angelou wisely said, “People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel.” This is true of brands too.
Compelling brand storytelling makes the message more engaging and affects how audiences feel about the brand. When done well, the art of storytelling stirs audiences’ emotions such as sadness, happiness, love, or excitement. This makes your brand more relatable and in time, your reputation becomes something audiences trust and care about.
Too many branding messages focus on presenting facts or concepts. While these are helpful, they are quickly forgotten after some time. The average person sees thousands of messages per day – through emails, messages, ads, social media, billboards, radio and other sources. Telling compelling stories helps you grab your audience’s attention and keep it by building emotional connections.
Additionally, all good stories follow patterns that we can instinctively resonate with, and derive meaning from. Using stories, we can translate ideas, concepts, and dry facts into a form that audiences can easily recognise and understand.
Numerous studies have found that building emotional connections with audiences have real business results. In a study “The New Science of Customer Emotions (hbr.org)” published in the Harvard Business Review found that emotion is superior to customer satisfaction when it comes to maximising customer value. Studies have also shown that consumers are willing to pay more for brands they feel connected with, and 89% of consumers are loyal to brands that share their values.
Brands today need to sell stories and not just products, services and solutions. Storytelling can make a tremendous impact in generating trust and loyalty among audiences, which in turn will help create long term value for organisations.
So, go ahead and craft that story!
At its core, PR is all about reputation management with stakeholders. People and brands rightly expect PR professionals to help them connect with important stakeholders, build meaningful relationships and effectively communicate the right messages to them.
“There is no better time to come into the industry than right now” Telum recently caught up with Andy See, Founder and Managing Director of Perspective Strategies who shared his experience founding Perspective Strategies in 2006 and growing it to a firm of 15 consultants, founding the Communications Leadership Academy and its merger with Life Redesigned, and why he thinks there is no better time to embark on a career in comms.