Why Brand Storytelling Is Key for Long-Term Success

May 30, 2020Sparxoo

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Did you see that video of the bird who is best friends with the cat? Oh, can you check if Target has any coupons for dish soap? Hey Siri, what’s the weather today? I wonder if my favorite clothing store is doing anything to help with the pandemic? Customers have greater access to media and information than ever before. And as a brand, you need to care — and prepare. To build the best brand marketing strategy, you need to consider content. As access to information increases, so must content. When customers have questions about your company, one quick Google search will tell them if you have answers or not. In fact, Google’s search algorithm has impacted the way businesses write their content. 

They aim to perfect the recipe for the search secret sauce in order to rank higher in search and drive more eyeballs to their website. At a minimum, then, you should consider content to stay competitive in your field.

With all of this in mind, why is brand storytelling particularly important? Critically, it will help you answer the following questions about your business:

  • Who are we? 
  • Why do we do what we do?
  • Who are we doing this for? Is there a need for this?
  • What are our values?
  • What are our core products? 
  • Have we established a storytelling voice/tone?

When you have answers to these core questions, you can start to build out your brand awareness strategy. This can be a portfolio of assets that reinforce your story. It can also be a guide to the channels you’ll use to share that story.

For example, the way you represent your core values on Instagram may differ from how you share them in an internal blog post, and you may decide TikTok isn’t a channel that fits with your story at all. When you’ve answered your core questions, brand-building strategies become much easier because you have a framework your team understands.

Without an audience to listen, storytelling becomes a monologue. So it is imperative to consider your customer as you set up your brand marketing strategy. When you construct your customer personas, ask yourself: who are my customers today? What opportunities are there to engage new customers tomorrow? How can I tailor my storytelling methodology to these different segments for maximum impact?

 Your story — the answers to those core questions — must be consistent, but the structure of the story and delivery method can be adjusted so it best suits your target audience. As your customers increasingly engage with your brand story, they’ll also add to it. Product reviews, testimonials, and customer videos will further your narrative — and build credibility and trust.

Of course it sounds nice to be a well-trusted business. It’s a bragging right and a point of pride. But from a sales perspective, does it really matter if customers trust your brand? Unquestionably. In a study by Edelman, 81% of consumers said they need to be able to trust a brand before they buy from them. So trust isn’t just a nice-to-have; it is an essential element for success.

Beyond trust, great content can also strengthen your brand’s relationship with its customer base. By positioning yourself as an expert in your field, you can be the go-to for the problem you’re solving and the product you’re selling. Building a brand strategy framework with storytelling in mind can lead your content to be more compelling and authentic — and authenticity moves the needle. According to one study, 86% of consumers say authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support, but 57% feel that most brands are churning out inauthentic content. So if you can tell a genuine story about your brand, you’ll already be a leader of the pack — and those loyal customers who trust you and retell your story will help you build new relationships.

Well-executed brand storytelling can help you at every stage of the funnel. First, you need to make sure you can clearly articulate what you do, and who you’re doing it for. This is how you connect with those new customers. Check out our storytelling approach here at Sparxoo

A great example of this kind of clear mission statement is Fintech, a provider of alcohol payment solutions. On the homepage of their website, one of the first graphics you see details how they support retailers, distributors, and suppliers in the beverage alcohol industry. 

Clicking into their About page, the story goes further. Fintech establishes itself as an expert in the industry with 28 years of leadership, and explains the problem they set out to solve in the first place: “All 50 states have unique liquor laws and strict payment terms that presented challenges to distributors and retailers alike, often preventing them from buying or selling alcohol and putting business at a standstill. Collecting and submitting timely payments was not the only issue facing the industry — methods were limited to cash, checks, money orders, and escrow transactions posing problems with managing multiple forms of payment, long reconciliation processes, and security concerns due to cash on hand.” 

The customer Fintech is trying to reach at the top of their funnel will immediately understand the services being provided — and, they’ll feel connected to the story behind the mission and leadership of the brand.

At the mid-level, it’s all about engagement with your potential customer. They understand what you do — how do you give them the confidence that you’re the best choice? This is where a return to your customer persona and a strong understanding of your brand story can help you bridge the engagement gap. 

Speaking of the engagement gap — our next example of a brand completely owning this part of their story came about because of a lack of a gap. As Megababe itself puts it, “Instead of pretending everyone has a thigh gap, what about thigh chafe, a real problem for millions of women?” This was the mission statement for the brand, founded in 2017, and founder Katie Sturino is a huge part of the brand’s storytelling at the mid. 

On the brand’s main website and throughout their social media, Megababe aims to empower women, embrace their imperfections, and provide helpful solutions that are eco-friendly. To further engage with customers, Katie Sturino’s personal Instagram account consistently provides authentic content that backs up the mission of her brand. 

One of her regular content initiatives, “#supersizethelook,” involves Sturino recreating fashionable looks for all occasions that straight-size celebrities have worn for women with larger bodies. She’s out to prove that women should feel great at any size, and this falls right in line with the overall mission of Megababe. Because of this, Megababe customers are true loyalists who direct their networks to Sturino and her body-positive, female empowerment-focused products.

Finally, at the low end, you should aim to delight your customer to close the deal. One way of achieving this is to get down in the details.

 If you can figure out one piece of content that would win over a single customer — it might surprise you to find that this specific and well-written piece will end up being more universally beneficial for you. This helps you narrow your focus and address one issue really well. 

An incredible and heartfelt example of this comes from Brooks Rehabilitation. This medical rehabilitation clinic puts people at the heart of their story, and on their blog, one of their recent posts highlights the particular experience of their patient, Jalen Bryant. Jalen was an innocent bystander in a drive-by shooting at a Jacksonville Jaguars game in 2018, and the blog post that tells his story walks the reader through that harrowing experience, from the emergency room surgeries to Bryant’s time spent with Brooks after having his leg amputated. 

While this is a story that is very specific to Bryant and his family, it is effectiv,e because it demonstrates Brooks’ sincere care for their patients’ individual stories and experiences. It is moving, emotional, and ultimately hopeful, which helps demonstrate to potential customers that Brooks will consider not just an incoming patient, but their family and circumstances as well. Tying this post into Brooks’ celebration of their 50th anniversary also helps associate this high level of care with the origins of the brand.

Looking for even more guidance on marketing with the funnel in mind? We’ve got a detailed breakdown [here].

A great product is important. Knowing what you do, and doing it very well, is still the foundational building block for a strong business. But beyond that, engaging with your consumer community and demonstrating that you hear them and want to address their feedback is what can turn a one-time buyer into a lifelong loyalist. Advertising content gets a bad rap, but when someone follows your brand on social media, they are inviting you to engage with them — and they love when you do! Engaging in the right way can make a faceless company feel like a trusted friend.

So how do you set yourself apart? As our examples have shown, there are myriad directions to take. First, based on that brand story you’ve created, decide on your tone. Will it be more colloquial, or more professional? This can help direct what content you create, and what channels to use. Is your style a mix of video and social media? Do your consumers tend to be more regular readers of white papers and blog posts? The cadence and quality of content should be defined, and don’t forget the fun factor — animations, comics, and infographics can all spice up your content’s engagement level. 

Most importantly, when you’ve answered these questions and built out your brand strategy, be consistent. Consistent presentation of a brand has been noted to increase your revenue by 33%, so consistency is truly key in making your brand feel authentic to your audience. In addition to all of the advantages we’ve already covered, one major benefit of creating high-caliber content is the technical gain you can see. Your content can lead to better SEO and relevancy, not only in the eyes of Google and Bing, but also your customers. How many times have you looked into a company only to find that their latest blog post was from 2014? 

This can have a huge impact on a customer’s opinion of a brand’s quality. On the other hand, it only takes one or two posts from The New York Times or another high domain authority championing a brand to boost that brand’s own results. If you have great content that these sources want to reference, you put yourself in the likeliest position for success.

If you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and energy to define your story and build a relevant brand marketing strategy around it, you can accomplish so much without spending a lot. You can have a positive ROI not only monetarily, but also in the realm of customer relationships and loyalty. So write your story — and tell it well.