Brand strategy and why storytelling matters
What’s your favorite story?
It could be the classic Little Red Riding Hood, or maybe one of Aesop’s fables. What’s important is that it connects with you, draws you in, makes you believe in the characters and the concepts that they are trying to express.
The human brain is wired to respond better to stories and feelings than facts and figures, which is why storytelling has been a staple of marketing for as long as companies have been around.
Brand strategies can be built around the same ideas, but building a cohesive story that connects with your customers isn’t easy. It requires a deep understanding of the story of your company and how it resonates with consumers, while also remaining authentic to who you are.
In this article, we will explore the importance of brand strategy and how storytelling can fuel brand awareness and authenticity.
Strategy starts with understanding your brand
As a brand, your story is the most important thing that you can share with others. However, it’s also one of the hardest to write because it involves real people and their experiences.
Getting a grip on the personal story of your brand requires an intimate understanding of where your brand has come from and where it wants to be.
It also requires you to fully understand who your customer base is and what resonates with them. Finding out who your brand wants to connect with should dictate what type of story gets created within branding elements like content, logos, or taglines.
Authenticity is key when it comes to brand building and that kind of relatable authenticity comes from a level of self-awareness. Around 88% of customers say authenticity is a primary driver in choosing which brands to shop from.
Really understanding what your brand stands for builds a solid foundation to create the kind of exciting authentic storytelling that modern customers really value and help you grow.
The term 'repetition makes reputation’ isn’t just buzzwords, it's a recognition that the story you build with every action is the brand image that your customers see.
Make your brand more than just a logo
Having a recognizable brand logo is important, but not in isolation. People don’t buy Nike shoes because they love the tick.
They buy Nike shoes because the tick reminds them of Nike’s core message of sporting success and technical excellence. It’s a shorthand for Nike’s story.
Having a virtually impressive logo is just the start of the battle, you also have to craft the story behind that logo and connect it to what your customers value.
As more and more companies expand online and deploy an increasing number of communication channels to connect with potential customers, flashy brand images are everywhere.
The ones that really stand out and stay with people are the ones that have a convincing story attached to them. It allows you to weave far more meaning into symbols and logos, so they can help invoke your story to resonate with your customers.
How does brand storytelling fit into your strategy?
Brand storytelling is how you translate your reputation and build emotional connection into every marketing message and campaign.
Once you've found your story by looking inwards at your brand, the trick is to make it simple, easy to follow, and evocative. People don’t want complicated or pretentious, as we’ve pointed out, 88% of them want authenticity.
Your company has been on a journey to get to this point and now it's your job to take your customers through that same journey. By the time it's finished, they should know what you stand for, where you’ve come from, where you’re going, and how they can come with you.
This kind of narrative draws your customer in, connecting them with your message and your brand. It also creates both an external and internal culture that reinforces that brand and provides consistency.
There are also concrete material benefits to brand creativity, with McKinsey analytics showing that creative brands consistently outperform their peers, with a:
- 67% above-average organic revenue growth
- 70% above-average total return to shareholders
- 74% above-average net enterprise value
When is the job done? Never.
Like writing a good story, branding isn’t done overnight. The best stories make a personal connection and building that connection and trust with your customers is a long-term project.
Brand strategies and their associated stories should always be evolving. Draw on all the sources of information you have to stay ahead of the curve. Learn from your competitors, staff, and customers and adapt how you interact with them to keep that customer journey fresh.
With your core brand narrative as a foundation, you should be able to constantly evolve without losing that sense of authenticity that customers value so much.
Thinking that your brand has reached its full potential and you don’t need to work on that story anymore is a great way to fall behind. Remember, standing still is the death of a brand strategy. Implementing effective brand storytelling isn’t a quick and easy process, but it is the best way to create long-lasting brand loyalty by connecting with your customers.
Your brand is a living breathing entity — keep supplying it with an identity by staying true to your story.