5 Secrets Of Quality Brand Storytelling

By: Jody Sigmund & Susan Gunelius | Forbes | 5 gigs ֍֍֍֍֍

Marketers have been telling stories for years through advertising as brand experiences and so on, but the art of writing those brand stories as effective pieces of online content is a challenge that few are trained to do. That’s because the best brand storytellers understand the critical elements of writing. This is a skill that few marketers have been formally trained to do.

Here’s 5 key points to quality storytelling along with a few wonderfully crafted stories told through the art of brand marketing.

Coming together is a human thing. At Dreyer’s they’ve been celebrating this since 1928, when an ice cream maker and a candy maker came together to create the creamiest ice cream.

Brand: Dryers ice cream

Campaign Title: “Togetherness”

1. Speak truthfully

Honesty and transparency are important in brand storytelling. Yes, you’re crafting “stories,” but they need to be rooted in the reality of your brand, products, and industry. In other words, even brand stories must adhere to the three primary steps of brand-building: consistency, persistence, and restraint. If your brand stories are inconsistent, they’ll confuse consumers who will turn away from the brand in search of another that meets their expectations for it in every interaction. Be creative but don’t stray too far from your brand promise. Confusion is the number one brand killer.

2. Infuse personalities into stories

Brand stories are not marketing materials. They are not ads, and they are not sales pitches. Brand stories should be told with the brand persona and the writer’s personality at center stage. Boring stories won’t attract and retain readers, but stories brimming with personality can.

Publicis Conseil is the agency behind this story. Orange is the startup company behind the campaign and the message is simple, “With the new Orange, you can rewind your life.” So far, it looks like the creative may be outdoing the product.

Brand: Orange

Campaign Title: “Rewind City”

3. Create characters your audience will root for

Brand storytelling requires that you create characters your audience will like and cheer for. That doesn’t mean you’re required to create fictional characters or brand mascots to tell your stories. While characters like Allstate‘s Mayhem can be very effective in presenting brand messages and stories in a variety of ways, you don’t need to create a fictional mascot to tell brand stories. For example, create buyer personas and tell stories from their perspectives. Tell stories from your employees’ points of view or from a third-person point of view. The important thing is to create characters that enable your audience to become emotionally connected to them to such an extent that the audience wants to follow their character arcs (discussed in #4 below).

Brand: Marketing Pro 2.0

Campaign Title: “Telling Epic Stories”

4. Include a beginning, middle, and end

Fiction stories follow a structure that includes a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your brand stories should follow a similar structure. In the beginning, you need to open strong and establish your story setting and the characters. The middle should set up your main character’s problem and present conflicts that get in his or her (or its) way before he or she (or it) can find resolution in the end. This is your character’s story arc, and you need to take your reader along for the ride. If they enjoy the ride, they’ll stick around, tell other people about it, and come back again and again.

5. Don’t give it all away

Make sure your brand stories are page turners by focusing on the use of perpetual marketing in your efforts where one piece feeds off of the next. Leave your audience wanting more, and they’ll come back again and again. Consider using “Watch This Space” hooks on your website or Facebook Page, or try releasing teasers via Facebook, email, or Pinterest. Perpetual marketing tactics offer the perfect opportunity to include offline and mobile marketing in your brand storytelling initiative, too.

As with all brand building, the goal is to surround consumers with brand experiences, so they can self-select how they want to interact with a brand. Give them multiple ways to enjoy the brand story and the brand will ultimately develop organic relationships.

And finally coming in at #10 on 2015’s top 10 watched videos with over 39 million views is Dover Police Confessionals with “Shake It Off. The video was uploaded on January 16, 2015. It’s obvious, there is a lot more to storytelling than most creative agencies understand. From my perspective, it all goes terribly wrong once the intention is to sell something or to manipulate the viewer in any way. The key is in developing honest, interactive relationships and openly sharing information the consumer wants.

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