Brand Storytelling is a highly effective tool to drive connect and loyalty towards brands. Today, unlike in the past, we are blessed to have Social Media and Content Marketing platforms to share brand stories. But the challenge is to achieve the objectives without being perceived as a sales pitch. In fact, it is not meant to be one. It should be aimed at creating an honest and emotional connect with the customers by crafting the story carefully to reflect the deep values, ethos and the core essence of the Brand. Here we look at some aspects that can make brand story telling really impacting to the consumers and enhance brand recall:
The structuring of a brand Story should revolve around the plot as in a fiction story. The purpose for which the brand exists or the key problem that the brand attempts to address should be the essence of the brand story. It should be weaved well enough in a setting that can keep audience engaged by highlighting how the brand intends to be different from other options available in the market. Some of the examples of well narrated brand stories that comes to mind immediately are Apple and Nike.
Story telling should involve stakeholders and influencers along the journey of the brand. It should reflect their experiences because they are the characters who have helped the protagonist, as in a fiction story, to realize brand’s goals and ambitions and overcome hurdles along the way. Here is a classic example of how Tata motors involved the general public by crowdsourcing the new name through Social media, while reacting to the brand crisis for the erstwhile “Zika” following the outbreak of the deadly virus Zika. The name later got christened Tiago. A quote from the Tata spokesperson says – “We thought that was a cool way to have our well-wishers join us on an innovative fun journey to find the most appropriate new name”. Bringing in an element of non-human character could also help weave the story line but they should be memorable and pleasing characters that audience can easily relate to emotionally.
Honesty is an important element of brand storytelling. Some the most popular brands that have driven robust revenues through effective brand story telling are not necessarily the ones that have not had any bad experiences or bad patches. But what engages the consumers and builds loyalty will be the honesty behind the experience and the commitment of brands to do things differently and improve customer experience. FedEx is a good example of how a negative incident was used as an opportunity to reaffirm a brand promise. When a video appeared on YouTube of a courier marked fragile being thrown over a gate, the brand owners immediately reacted not just with an apology but also a reaffirmed brand promise about how the negative video would be used henceforth for internal training and betterment of services.
Finally, Brand storytelling should have a futuristic approach and not just focus on the past or the present. It should reflect on the future aspirations of the consumers, brand’s deliverables and how they intend to carry forward their brand promise consistent with the Brand identity. Here Market research plays a key role in identifying customer needs and facilitate decision making about the brand promise in the brand story. Consistency and alignment with brand stories told elsewhere is very important to make sure that audience do not get confused with what they can expect from the brand.
Brand storytelling can thus be carved into a cohesive blend of several brand elements such as Brand Identity, Brand personality, Brand promise and Brand communication, all delivered in a package that strengthens Brand integrity.