Many people associate storytelling with beginnings such as “once upon a time” and endings like “and they lived happily ever after.” But in marketing, brands can tell stories in a variety of ways. Brand storytelling is so much more than explaining how a company came to be on an “about us” page – it’s a unique style of marketing that uses content to humanize a brand. There are many misconceptions in the media landscape about what brand storytelling is and isn’t, and we’re here to help clear up the confusion.
With a growing emphasis on social media and content marketing, brands are using storytelling to share their core values with their customers. The overall concept isn’t new, as brands have been telling stories for years through advertisements. But putting those stories into effective pieces of content that appeal to consumers – that’s the challenge marketers must face. By conveying stories behind the product or service a company sells, the employees behind it, and the customers who benefit, brands create personal identities that people can relate to.
Brands Doing it Well
One of the best ways to give life to a brand is by injecting some personality into your social media and content development strategy. Our staff recently weighed in on what not to do on social media, which provided a glimpse into the creative personalities of our employees. We value the voices of all team members, which is why you’ll notice input from our CEO, account executives and marketing specialists. Our working environment is relaxed and innovative – and we crafted a piece of content to portray that.
Sharing the views of the people behind companies is a popular form of storytelling, and many brands are doing it extremely well. Birchbox is redefining the retail process by offering consumers a personalized way to discover and shop for cosmetic products. And many pieces of its content and social media strategy involve the perspectives of the company’s employees. Consumers catch a glimpse into their lifestyles as employees try different products, provide helpful how-to’s, share beauty secrets and even celebrate the almost-weekend.
Brands can also share their customer’s stories – especially those that show the value customers find in the company’s products and services. Incorporating user-generated content into your branding strategy is a great tactic. Not only are you showing the world how people are using your product or service, but you’re also “rewarding” loyal customers by giving them a voice through your brand. Starbucks recently ran a campaign in which they asked users to share artwork of their coffee cups by using #WhiteCupContest. Throughout the campaign they shared many contest entries through their social media outlets, such as Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.
Ditch the Sales Pitch
It may seem like second nature to push your product or service in all your marketing efforts, but storytelling is an exception. Brands should ditch the sales pitches and instead focus on developing genuine interest. If you can build trust in your online community, they’ll remember your company when it’s time to purchase.
Help People Solve Problems
All products or services are born to help people solve a specific problem. Sage Island is here to help businesses market themselves more efficiently. Of course, we’re not giving away all of our secrets to success, but we share helpful marketing tips quite frequently. Focus on developing content that helps your customers solve their problems. This goes a long way, and just as we said before, if you can build trust, customers will naturally think of your brand when making a purchase decision.
Being authentic is also an important facet of brand storytelling. Using stock photos or fake customer reviews may seem like an easy way out, but consumers can pinpoint what’s real and what’s not. And it will usually result in more harm than good for your brand.
Keep It Simple
Keeping content simple and conversational is a good rule of thumb. Make sentences as easy to read as possible, and don’t overwhelm your audience with industry jargon. Being overly formal or technical can result in a loss of trust with your audience.
Building valuable content for your brand in the form of storytelling is relevant and timely in today’s marketplace. And sharing that content with the world through blogs, videos, social media posts and more is an important part of strengthening your brand’s identity. For more information on how you can incorporate storytelling into your marketing strategy, contact the experts at Sage Island.
Mike Duncan co-founded Sage Island in 1997, and since then has evolved the agency’s scope to include marketing strategy, creative design, technical development and a wide range of digital marketing services. With an integrated approach that leverages the power and measurability of the internet, the savvy Sage Island team develops strategies, builds brands, writes killer copy and delivers to clients all over the world. And they have an awesome time doing it. Sage’s collaborative working environment keeps creativity and innovation at the heart of the concept. With a 17-year history in Wilmington and beyond, Sage Island shows no signs of slowing down. To learn how Sage Island can grow your business, check us out at www.sageisland.com. To stay updated on the latest in digital marketing, follow Sage Island on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SageIsland, and on Twitter at twitter.com/SageIsland.
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