Get Your Story Straight: How to Use Storytelling to Elevate Your Brand and Get More Sales

content-marketingThere is no better way to connect with someone than to tell a story. A good writer can use a story like a magician’s wand and can stun and mesmerize audiences to great effect. What we’re going to talk about today is an effective way to elevate your brand through the use of powerful storytelling.

Using a story in a marketing frame is far from new, but its power is often overlooked or underutilized. Most examples of brand storytelling are just poor. We’re going to look at why you need to integrate a good story in your content marketing, and how to go about doing that.

Why Do You Need a Story for Your Brand, Anyway?

I remember watching the Super Bowl a few years ago, and something intriguing appeared on the screen. It was an ad for Google, which was peculiar, as the tech giant very rarely used TV advertising as a marketing medium in those days. But the rarity of its TV advertising was overpowered by the vibrant clarity of its message and the sheer brilliance of its execution. It told a very succinct and charming tale of an adventurous young lad who embarks on a study abroad trip to France and meets the woman of his dreams. Not a single word was uttered in the ad. In fact, we didn’t even see our protagonist’s face. We only saw the Google search bar. The search terms that our protagonist entered told the story endearingly and effectively. Here it is.

The premise hooked my attention, and the execution of the storytelling swiftly reeled it in. I was mesmerized. No product was sold. And, honestly, Google didn’t even need the ad, as it was already the world’s premier search engine. But, when you look at the ad more closely, the primary goal wasn’t to sell more products or increase brand awareness (although I am sure that may very well be the ulterior motive, and understandably so); no, the mission was to connect emotionally with the viewer. This emotional connection, however trivial or silly, builds trust, familiarity, and, most importantly, loyalty. You won’t have to worry about jamming the product down people’s throats. If trust, familiarity, and loyalty are built, the product can sell itself.

Many content marketers misunderstand the power of a good story. They neglect and reject the use of storytelling, and if they do have a story to tell, they convey the message clumsily. Crafting a powerful marketing message that corresponds with your core ideals, yet also engaging the average reader/viewer/listener enough that he will become interested in your company and your products require a deft hand. But accomplishing that is far from impossible.

The Rules of Good Storytelling

Be as Authentic as Possible

If you’re thinking about producing a story for your marketing campaign, you may be wondering if you should use real or fictional tales. Well, both of them work, so use whatever is the best fit for your company.

I know you’re probably thinking, “But… What about authenticity? How can fiction be honest?”  Your job is to craft an interesting story that matches with the image that your company is trying to sell. You’re not a documentarian for the History Channel. If the “real” story you want to tell is as dry as stale bread, you’re not obligated to use it—in fact, you should definitely shelf it.

Being authentic isn’t about giving real life stories. It’s about sticking to your core values and communicating those ideas in a palatable and engaging way. To do otherwise would be inauthentic and it would render your marketing efforts fruitless and fraudulent.

If you don’t have a real life story at your disposal, simply create something that conveys what you want. If the story you use is fictional (like Google’s Parisian Love ad, for example), simply make it obvious that it isn’t based on real life.

Know What Type of Story You’re Going to Tell

Is it going to be a true story about one of your customers? Is it about how your company got started? Is it a fictional story that will appeal emotionally to your audience? You need to decide what type of story you’re going to tell and stick with it. Starting out, you need to dedicate your efforts to one single, fascinating story. Don’t switch the story. Get it straight and stick with it until it has run its course.

Execute the Story

First thing you need to decide: How is this story going to be delivered? Is it going to be a series of blog posts, videos, etc.? How is it going to be told? Once you decide the “how” of your story’s execution, craft the message. Some tips on creating your story.

  1. Have a good headline, title, or opening line. Start out with a bang or your story will die with a whimper.
  2. Make the narration exciting and as easy-to-digest as possible. Don’t be too verbose. If the story seems uninteresting, your audience will skim and skip it.
  3. Make your characters as memorable as possible. Your audience needs to be able to identify with your characters. Do some research on your target market. What are their interests? What are their desires and necessities? Knowing the answers to these questions will better enable you to craft more relatable and interesting characters.

The Big Picture

Brand storytelling is one of the most powerful indirect marketing devices that exists. And to not take advantage of it is foolish. Your content marketing and social media efforts could be elevated with the use of intriguing, engaging stories.

The goal is not to get an immediate bump in sales; it’s to start a relationship with a possibly skeptical or on-the-fence audience so that they will eventually integrate into your sales cycle. You want your brand ingrained in their minds; when they think about your niche or market, your company needs to be the first to appear in their minds.

Don’t underestimate the power of an emotional connection with your audience. If you escape the noise and stand out from the crowd, you will see a difference.

Joseph Riviello

Looking for a seasoned WooCommerce expert and digital marketing strategist with an unwavering dedication to client success? Meet Joe Riviello, the CEO of Zen Agency, with over 22 years of experience helping e-commerce businesses scale through holistic marketing strategies. Joe Riviello is a seasoned WooCommerce expert, digital marketing strategist, and CEO of Zen Agency with over 22 years of experience in the e-commerce industry. He is a passionate business development professional committed to helping businesses reach their full potential through various holistic digital marketing strategies. Joe's expertise lies in creating a seamless user experience for customers while delivering strong business results. He has worked with several high-profile clients across various industries, including retail, healthcare, and finance, helping them achieve their business goals through digital marketing solutions. Joe's journey to becoming a CEO started with his passion for technology and user experience design. He has always been interested in how technology can solve business challenges and improve customer experiences. Throughout his career, he has focused on creating e-commerce websites and digital marketing campaigns that provide an exceptional user experience while delivering strong business results. As the CEO of Zen Agency, Joe is responsible for leading the agency's strategic direction and ensuring that clients receive the highest quality of service. He is a natural leader who inspires and motivates his team to achieve their goals and deliver exceptional results for clients. Joe is a recognized industry leader and has spoken at several conferences on topics related to digital marketing, user experience design, and business strategy. He passionately advocates for data-driven marketing and believes that every business, regardless of size or industry, can benefit from a holistic digital marketing strategy.

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