The Art of Storytelling for Brands
Centuries and centuries of listening to stories has given the art of storytelling some inexplicable power. A good story can convey a message, vehemently inspire or ignite a fire within your audience. The art of storytelling has evolved from simple bedtime stories to brand narratives. Erratically the brand narratives even have the power to convert a window shopper into a repeat customer. Apple or GoPro is a fair example of brand narratives. Let’s now set our eyes on how the bedtime stories and businesses are connected.
Humans have been telling stories for the past few hundred years as a way to connect, chat, entertain and pass along important information. In fact, we have been telling stories for so many decades that it has become entrenched in our DNA. Evolution has wired our brains for storytelling. This is how we gave birth to the art of storytelling.
When I was a nipper, my dad used to tell stories every night to make me sleep. So he read storybooks every day, crisp and capsule them into a 10–15 minutes short novelette. As the day goes by I started to presume that when the bedtime crop up I can pin back my ears to a nice bedtime story from my dad. So I finish up my dinner as early as possible and go to bed and pester him to tell the “story of the day”. Sometimes I ask him to repeat the same story he told yesterday which would save him the story he prepared for that day and can use up for tomorrow. The way he tells the story totally schlepped me to that world.
The point here is, it’s not about getting excited with new stories every day, it’s about how I sense each story, how it impacted in my mind and the aha moment I feel when the story ends with a happy ending. As I grew older, I started to read books by myself. I immerse in those stories, depicted myself as those characters and start to feel it. I can sense that plethora of avidity while I read through it. In later years, aside from reading books, I started to watch a lot of movies. This is how my life journeyed with stories and characters. Everyone’s journey will be different but one common thing between us is, we grew up listening to stories, we depicted ourselves to the heroes of those stories, we lived in those stories.
When you listen to a story, you will subconsciously start picturing the story and transform you as a character or a person standing in a corner of a room and watching the story scenes. This is pretty normal with humans. This is called The Magical effect of Storytelling, according to Uri Hasson, Professor of Psychology at Princeton.
So, What is Storytelling? Storytelling is presenting useful information in a narrative way and isn’t a 10,000-word article. Storytelling is uttering what your brand stands for and isn’t an advertisement. It has to be emotional and engaging and shouldn’t be boring. Finally, Storytelling is the interaction between your customers and your brand and isn’t a sales pitch.
Stories bring people together. In a world divided by zillions of things, stories bring people together and create a sense of community. Despite our ethnicity, language, religion, or political preferences, stories connect us through the way we feel and respond to them. Stories make us human. When brands get transparent and authentic, it brings them down-to-earth and helps consumers connect with them and the people behind them.
Tapping into people’s emotions and baring both the good and bad is how stories inspire and motivate and eventually, drive action. Stories also foster brand loyalty. Creating a narrative around your brand or product not only humanizes it but also inherently markets your business.
It’s really exciting when you watch advertisements for global brands and you enjoy almost every bit of it. I recall seeing the coca-cola hey brother ad, it was an amazing 6o second of making me love the brand even more. Many businesses have understood the importance of storytelling and that’s how they grew as bigger brands.
Few brands use inspiration as a selling tactic, but Kylie Cosmetics does it well. By sharing the real story of Kylie Jenner not only makes the brand relatable and worth purchasing, but it also inspires other founders and business owners.
Think of a brand you know and go to their website. See how their contents are structured. The website is a minimal version of storytelling. Storytelling can take a major part in marketing brochures, banners, posters, social media, keynote talks, product packaging and a few to list.
“If you can harness imagination and the principles of a well-told story, then you get people rising to their feet amid thunderous applause instead of yawning and ignoring you.”
Self-knowledge is the root of all great storytelling. A storyteller creates all characters from the self by asking the question, “If I were this character in these circumstances, what would I do?” The more you understand your own humanity, the more you can appreciate the humanity of others in all their good-versus-evil struggles. Great leaders like Jim Collins are people with enormous self-knowledge. They have self-insight and self-respect balanced by skepticism. They see the humanity in others and deal with them in a compassionate yet realistic way. That duality makes for a wonderful leader. Great storytellers — and, I think, great leaders — are skeptics who understand their own masks as well as the masks of life, and this understanding makes them humble.
Tips to know when you tell a story to your customer:
- Make the story less about you.
- Make the story more about them.
- Create a Villain in your story(The problem they’re experiencing).
- Give the character a sharp sword, strong shield or magic wand. (Solution to that problem).
- Happily Ever After.
And, Don’t forget to define your core message.
While this might sound simple, it’s not. You could probably use a copywriter (:P).
Finding a dating partner is a little knotty for many people in the town. And then Tinder Inc came up with a social search app (product) that helped people to find a dating partner at a simple swipe action.Here the villain is Finding a dating partner and the magic wand or a Sword is Tinder.
In all seriousness, it’s not as easy as saying, “Tinder is like a magic wand or a sharp sword to find your date partner” Although, that’s pretty damn good. Invest some time to create your story, structure them and identify how to deliver them properly to your audience.
The Art of storytelling, at its core, is simply storytelling as we’ve always known it. It’s real, raw, and relatable. So, what’s your story?