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The Power of Brand Storytelling

Hong Qianyi

July 31, 2020

Brand storytelling can make the difference in helping you connect with your customers

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

What is brand storytelling

We often hear about how storytelling can be a powerful way for a brand to connect with its customers and prospects to generate more leads and build stronger customer loyalty. More than just delivering content, brand storytelling is also about forming a connection with your customers on an emotional level and creating a positive impression that lasts among them. People can relate to stories better to facts. By narrating your brand, it allows your brand to convey a human touch, making your brand more memorable and appealing.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.” — Seth Godin, American author


Photo by Dmitry Ratushnyon Unsplash

Why bother telling your brand narrative

Consumers buy from brands they trust

Technology advancement over the last few decades has allowed consumers to make more informed decisions by researching anything and everything online. This has in turn allowed them to buy from brands that are in sync with their values and beliefs. According to a recent study conducted by IBM and National Retail Federal, one-third of a total of 19,000 interviewees said that they only want to purchase from brands they trust. 70% of purpose-driven shoppers interviewed in the same study were willing to pay higher premiums for purchases from sustainable, traceable brands. A brand narrative articulates the values and guiding principles of your brand and can help you build trust with your customers.

Build emotional connections with your customers

In this increasingly digital age, people are valuing human-like connections with brands. According to a Deloitte survey conducted last year, 62% of respondents feel that they have relationships with brands, and two-thirds expect brands to listen and respond to their needs. Not surprisingly, emotional factors are found to have inspired and framed the depth of brand loyalty and advocacy in customers. By revealing your ‘human’ side to consumers through the stories you tell, your brand can form stronger emotional connections with them.

Standing out in a crowded marketplace has never been more difficult

Today’s business landscape is constantly changing and it can be a challenge for brands to stand out. Sometimes, anything you can say about your offer, from features to benefits, may not be enough and it is a matter of time before the competition offers the same. One way for you to stand out is to tell stories of and about your brand. Stories that are authentic not only grab attention, they help you connect with customers, build trust, and ultimately drive revenue.

Some brands whose brand narratives we like

Photo taken from Spotify

Spotify uses AI so you feel they ‘get’ you

Of the many music providers, Spotify has managed to build on its freemium model to provide an additional layer of connection with its customised ‘just-for-you’ playlists. Its ability to use usage data and AI to understand your listening preferences and create customised recommendations have kept many users loyal. One of the things they do is “nostalgia” branding when they provide listeners with insights at the end of each year to tell the story of the year gone by based on their music preferences for the year. Bringing back fond memories based on a user’s past patterns has shown to evoke positive emotions and makes them feel as if they have a personal and intimate relationship with the brand; a brand who knows them well as a friend.

“The social media coverage we get from people who are amazed at how we ‘get’ them is staggering. It’s clearly developed a strong bond between Spotify and its customers, based on the emotional connection we can make by taking data and using it to show we understand them.” - Tim Grimsditch, director of global product and performance marketing at Spotify.

Despite being in a market with strong competitors such as iTunes and YouTube, Spotify still stands out to music listeners and has become the world’s biggest music streaming platform with more than 70 million paid subscribers. Spotify has managed to successfully tell the story of how music through its platform is a companion for people as they go through different life experiences.

Photo taken from GoPro

GoPro helps customers tell their stories

GoPro was started with a mission to help people celebrate and live more in the moment. This is aligned with their belief that experiences should be made more meaningful and fun. Nick Woodman founded the company in 2002 after he experienced the issue of not being able to capture quality action photos during his surfing trip in Australia. From action cameras and drones to its own mobile apps and video-editing software, GoPro aims to provide users the capability to capture meaningful and fun moments. This then made it easier for GoPro to tell its own brand story by demonstrating the variety of ways people can be free and live in a moment through its social media campaigns, and even using user-generated content to create encapsulating social media campaigns. Here are a few examples:

In the videos and images that were being published on GoPro’s Facebook page, they both articulate GoPro’s value proposition (capture in-action images or videos of a superior quality) and present themselves as a brand that adds meaning to experiences.

Conclusion

In the future world of marketing, having a product that does its job for the customer effectively is not enough. You also need to convince customers to connect with and trust your brand by sharing a narrative that conveys why you exist and why your brand adds value to them. Just remember that brand storytelling should not be an one-off initiative and should be continuous and consistent across all communication channels and customer touchpoints.

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