Photo By James Coleman (unsplash.com)

Step-By-Step Guide To Using Storytelling To Communicate Your Brand Message — (1) CHARACTER

Using stories to communicate a brand message will be the trend going forward.

Indeed, the concept of a story has been with us for thousands of years so I won’t brag about why it is a powerful tool to communicate a message.

However, if you want to know, here is an article on ‘The Power of A Story For Your Brand’.

There are many ways to tell a story, but you only need one that works.

Unfortunately if you try to google it you will be bombarded with 612million results.

And my view? None gives a story definition or formula that really hit the spot or is practical.

Hence this blog.

In this blog series, I will tell you exactly how to apply a storytelling structure to your brand message, to your business.

When you understand the structure of a story, how it is used to compel a human brain just like how screenwriters use it in movies, your brand message will be very powerful too.

The downside? I may have ruined movies for you — and I apologise for that!

In the most basic form, a story is:

A character in pursuit of a goal in the face of a challenge. How the character tries to resolve that challenge drives the narrative.

Defining the character

So the first step in building a story is to define that character. When you define a character, what she wants and the very obstacle (or villain) that stops the hero from getting what she wants, you open a story gap.

When the story gap is relatable to the audience, that’s when we start to have emotional connection with the character (and the story) because we want to find out what happens next!

For example, when Stephanie decided to pursue a professional swimming career in 2011, her goal was to win an Olympic medal. However her parents were not supportive at the start and she lacked a training regime that can push her to go beyond her limits…

Who is the character (or hero) of the story in your business?

Your customer is the hero, not your brand.

Indeed, a key mistake companies make is they position themselves as the character (or hero) of the story. This can be reflected when you look at a companies’ communication and it’d normally start like this:

“We are a company…”

“We provide…”

The easiest way to find out how your company is positioned is by searching for the number of times “we” is used in your marketing collateral. A bad communication is (obviously) when this number is big.

People are not interested your story, they are interested in theirs.

Every one of us is on a transformation journey, to survive, to become better versions of ourselves or just to win the day. Along the way we encounter problems so we must find ways to solve these problems, in other words, customers are looking for a guide and not a hero.

As a company, if you want your customers to engage, you must position yourself as the guide, helping customers (the hero) solve their problems so that they can become better versions of themselves.

You should be in the business of solving problems, otherwise you don’t have a business.

This should be the first thing when customers look at your website, adverts or any of your marketing — how you help your customers solve problems instead of ‘we do this’ or we provide that’.

The second key mistake companies make is companies fail to focus on the survival aspect of their customers journey. Our brain is constantly searching the environment to help us survive, whether it is to eat, drink or to feel safe. Indeed, it had been like this ever since our existence. The only difference in today’s world is we also need a job with good income as well as to have a deep sense of meaning.

If you talk about your product in a way such that it is simply nice to have, then good luck in building a sustainable business.

A client once asked us: How do you then sell a drink like Coca-Cola?

Coca-cola does not sell sugary drink, they sell happiness. When was the last time you hear Coca-Cola talks about the composition in its drinks?

Here is an advert from Coca-Cola I love because in this video, not a single words is said yet it communicates a strong powerful message.

See if the message resonates with you.

Happiness Starts With A Smile (Source: Youtube)

Defining what your customer wants is the first step in your storytelling communication framework, here are a few questions for you to consider:

  1. What is it, specifically, that your customers want?
  2. How does your product/service help them survive or become better versions of themselves?
  3. Is this message transparent in your marketing, say for example, in your website?

This is a blog series on ‘Step-By-Step Guide To Using Storytelling To Communicate Your Brand Message’, stay tuned for the next one.

Soft Skills Academy is a communication-based consultancy, we can help you clarify your brand message using the power of storytelling so you can attract more customers and grow your company much faster.

To get you started, download our PDF on ‘How To Stop Wasting Money On Marketing’.

If you think you will benefit from one-on-one coaching with Sam, visit: http://www.softskillsacademy-hk.com or email us at info@softskillsacademy-hk.com

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Sam Law

We help companies communicate a clear, compelling and consistent brand message using the power of story