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Becoming Human: Why Storytelling Is Important for Brands

CopyPress

Published: May 27, 2022

No matter what fad you’re following, from clothing to music to marketing, old trends always find their way back into style. When technology was new, it became popular to get your brand online. It was a new way to communicate digitally and work with automation. But now that’s become mainstream. What can we do to top that? Get back to our roots with storytelling. We’re exploring why storytelling is important for brands with topics like:

What Is Brand Storytelling?

Brand storytelling is exactly what it sounds like: telling the story of your brand. You use this marketing technique most often to increase brand awareness because it gives people background information about your company.

But the process doesn’t just mean talking about your brand’s success, like with sales figures or awards. While those might be part of your brand story, that’s not what people really want to know. They want to know how your company came to be and why you do what you do. Who are your founders and team members? How did you come up with the ideas for your products and services? What spurred you into action to start your company?

7 Reasons Storytelling Is Important for Brands

Just telling you that brand storytelling is important isn’t convincing enough. Here are seven reasons why this marketing strategy works to grab more awareness and create bonds with your customers and clients:

1. It Snags Attention

As a marketer, one of your main jobs is to get your company noticed. It’s why we do what we do, from creating content to sharing information on social media. We’re all jumping around in front of our target audience going “look at us, look at us!” Then when we get them to look, we try to convince them to buy something.

But if you use that tactic too much, it gets annoying. Think about pop-up ads online or the number of commercials you sit through while watching prime-time television. It’s a lot, and kind of obnoxious. So how are you supposed to get people’s attention without getting on their nerves? By using brand storytelling. But you have to do it with a calculated, targeted strategy. Have you ever watched a captivating commercial, but by the time you got to the end you didn’t even know what product or company it promoted? That’s not the way to grab attention.

People have to associate your marketing with your company. You have to be different but also share what makes your brand unique and memorable. Brand storytelling helps with that. It’s yours alone. Share it in a way that lets your company’s uniqueness shine through.

2. It Creates Connections

Brand storytelling takes your efforts from advertising to marketing. By that, we mean when you’re telling your brand story, you’re not just trying to make a sale. You’re showing people how your company aligns with their views and values. You’re showing them how your journey and experiences relate to their own and that you understand them.

People like being understood. They like that “hey, me too,” moment they get when they meet someone new or read something they agree with online. These connections take people from casual browsers or even leads and turn them into loyal customers. The more emotionally connected they are with your brand, the more likely they are to stay a client or customer. They may also recommend your brand to others with like-minded views or experiences.

3. It Sets Your Message Apart

Think about how many times per day you get bombarded with advertisements. According to Siteefy, it’s around 10,000 per day, with only a quarter of them, at most, being relevant. They’re online, on billboards, on your TV, and phone. Now think about how many times per day you encounter content. It’s likely double, if not triple, the number of times you cross paths with ads. We’re totally flooded with messages all day long, no matter where we turn. That makes it easier to tune out ones we don’t like or don’t care about. Actually, we may even tune out messages we would normally care about, just because it’s not compelling enough to notice.

It’s sad but true that it doesn’t matter how great your product or service is. If your messaging gets swallowed up in the sea of content people encounter every day, your marketing isn’t doing you any good. Find a way to set your message apart from your competitors and the vast landscape of general content. But how? By sharing your brand story, the information that people can get from your company that they can’t get anywhere else.

4. It Builds Community

Have you ever lived in or visited a town that is fiercely dedicated to its sports teams? What’s the atmosphere like there? To people in these towns, cheering for their sports teams isn’t just a casual hobby. It’s part of their identity. Why? Because it makes them feel like they belong. Like they’re part of a community. Branding and your brand story can have the same effect. After all, a sports team is a brand itself.

For B2B companies and small businesses, the community aspect works the same. To paraphrase and butcher the late President John F. Kennedy, it’s not about what the customer can do for you, it’s about what you can do for the customer. Brand storytelling helps you create a culture around your company and make it more than just products and services. How do you want people to feel after they interact with you? When they talk to other people about your brand, what do you want them to say?

Creating a community takes your brand from a transaction to an experience. It strengthens emotional bonds between the brand and the client. It makes them loyal and encourages people to advocate for your company on their own time, in their own spaces.

5. It Humanizes Your Company

In the current business landscape, your company can’t afford to be some faceless entity. Back in the day, this kind of anonymity wasn’t as big of a deal. There weren’t many options to meet your needs, especially in smaller towns. Each one had a grocery store and an ice cream shop. Maybe there was one department store on the public transit line. Brands didn’t need to do much other than exist in the right location to get business. It didn’t matter who ran them or why, because they were convenient.

But once people’s worlds got bigger, especially with the invention of online shopping, those little barriers that kept faceless companies in business got competition. And with competition comes marketing and selling your brand. When convenience can’t be the driving force, you need another. Connecting with people on a human level is the next best way to go. Take a local ice cream shop, for example. There are tons of chains like Dairy Queen. They’ve got brand recognition going for them. How does a small shop compete with that? By humanizing its company and connecting with the audience.

Take Kip’s Ice Cream in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The shop has been in business for over 20 years, despite chain stores nearby. How does it stay open? Because its brand story is human. The shop’s name comes from the owner’s former dog. They’ve themed the entire brand around dogs, from the flavor names to the decor. The owners invite visitors to bring photos of their own dogs enjoying treats to hang on the wall of fame inside the store. It isn’t just a faceless business to the audience. It’s a place to share a love of dogs, family, and ice cream.

Content has a lot to do with humanizing your brand. At CopyPress, we create product descriptions for online stores so you can share more about an item you sell in a way that captures your brand voice and tone. Those visitors taking the time to shop online through your website can have a more thorough understanding of the features and benefits of the products you sell.

6. It Shares Your Beliefs and Values

In today’s world, clients and consumers, even from younger generations, are more politically and socially aware when spending their money. Instead of just looking for solutions to their own problems, they look for companies that are doing more and going beyond making sales. Clients want to know about your company’s beliefs and values outside of making money. Do you support any causes? Do you do charity or volunteer work?

Incorporating these elements into your brand story helps humanize your business further. It shows how your brand impacts the world as a whole. As Kathleen Kelly said about her corporate rival, you don’t want people to look at your brand and see “instead of a brain a cash register, and instead of a heart a bottom line.” You want people to see your brand’s soul and all the good it can do for its clients and humanity.

Related: 14 Cause Marketing Examples To Inspire Your Next Campaign

7. It Solidifies Your Brand Identity

If it feels like anyone can start a company or brand these days, it’s because they can. How many of your friends have their own Etsy shops? Something that was once a hobby or a way to make side money at crafts shows is now its own brand and business. When anything is abundant in any niche, the market gets oversaturated. With too many brands in the same field, everything starts to look cookie cutter.

You want your brand to be a leader, not a follower. Just because you weren’t the first to do something doesn’t mean you can’t be the most memorable. Having a strong brand identity makes this easier. Just as individuals who know who they are go far in life, your brand can do the same in its industry. Brand storytelling helps you solidify that identity. It forces you to write down what you do, value, and believe on paper or the screen.

Your brand story serves as a reminder to all your employees and clients that your company isn’t just some faceless entity. It has a soul. Your identity should be transparent and present in everything you do. Including marketing and sales. If everyone at your company understands that identity, it makes it easier to live it at work each day. Then it shines through to your clients, making your company stand out.

Tips To Tell a Successful Brand Story

Use these tips to help you share your brand story with your audience:

Focus on the Client

notebook and pen on wooden desk with book on top that reads a storytelling workbook to guide you on why storytelling is important

Image via Unsplash by @rainbennett

Brand storytelling isn’t actually about your company at all. It’s about the client. What appeals to them? What’s going to make them want to learn more about and interact with your brand? You already know your company well, and with research, you can learn more about your target audience. Focus your brand storytelling on the things your company and audience have in common.

For example, if you run a company that sells grade book software to schools and you work with initiatives that put more money back in the classroom, that’s a good element for your brand story. Your clients, like school district administrators or principals, may have a passion for that too. Content marketing helps share your brand story with this audience. It’s likely the first place your leads encounter your brand.

You can run a content analysis on your pieces to discover areas to cover and share more elements of your brand story that align with your audience’s interests. Request your free content analysis report from CopyPress. It shows you keywords and content gap opportunities to target what your audience is looking for online. Choose from topics that align with your brand story to persuade them why working with your company is the right choice.

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Provide the “Why”

Marketing and advertising alone aren’t enough to sell your products anymore. Yes, really. With access to more media and viewpoints around the world, people are less satisfied with taking what a company says at face value in their marketing materials. You can’t just tell your audience that your keyword research software is their best solution. You have to prove it. Why should the audience trust you? Why should they give you a chance at all? Their time is valuable and their opinions are vast. Hook them with proof.

Your brand story isn’t just about your background story, employees, and offerings. It’s also about your customers and their experiences with your company. Testimonials from satisfied clients are part of the narrative. Use those to your advantage. Case studies, too, help show how your products or services work to solve client problems. Incorporate these types of content and elements into your brand storytelling to show other sides of what you can do for customers and give them proof of why your solution is the best.

Related: How To Use Customer Testimonials in Your Content

Follow Trends

Trends and fads change fast. Even faster in the age of social media. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tap into them when the time is right. Paying attention to the trends in your industry helps you look for more opportunities to share your brand story. These trends may come from social media fads, pop culture, or world events. If people are talking about something that relates to your brand story, that’s the right time to share that content.

For example, if one of your company’s efforts is working with world refugees, it’s timely to discuss that aspect of your brand during a global refugee crisis or war. But the trends you follow have to be authentic. You can’t jump on every single one and say “yes, we do this.” That’s not good for your brand identity because you look like you’re following every trend to stay relevant. When you have a solid brand identity, you’ll know when it’s time to tailor your content to share pieces of your brand story to match a trend.

Establish Structure

Every great story has a structure. Your brand story should too. Using a good writer and a good storyteller helps you get it right. If you’re telling your brand story from idea conception to your company’s opening day, you may choose a chronological structure that takes people through the tale in order.

But maybe that’s not how you want to tell your brand story in every piece of content you share. Maybe, in some cases, you want to have a hero as the focus of your story, like the company’s founder. Or maybe you want to tell a brand story about your first successful customer interaction. The structure of your brand story doesn’t have to be the same in every piece of content. But it does need compelling characters, a good flow, and a way to connect with the audience emotionally. The structure keeps people sticking around to learn more.

Tap Into Emotion

The audience may forget what you say in your brand story, but not how you make them feel. Plenty of studies talk about how people buy things and make decisions based on emotions, then justify them with logic. One of the biggest hooks for brand storytelling is to never forget the emotional connection you have with your audience. Only people can share human experiences with other people. Artificial intelligence (AI) tools can’t do that. They can create something grammatically or factually correct, but they can’t capture wonder, anger, defeat, or joy.

Emotions get you those key audience connections. They’re what make people say, “Hey, me too.” They’re how people relate to each other and how to get them to relate to your brand. Professionalism is great. Basing your claims on facts is great. But what’s going to win your audience over is the way you make them feel. Don’t eliminate emotions from your brand story to sound smarter or more professional. You just hurt yourself in the end.

Brand storytelling isn’t just something nice to add to your content marketing efforts. It’s nearly essential to affect your recognition, originality, and profits. At CopyPress, we’re dedicated to weaving your brand story into every piece of content we produce. We work with you to understand your story, goals, and style expectations to help you rise above the competition. Ready to see how we make this strategy work for you? Schedule your free 30-minute introductory call today.

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