Even if you’re new into this whole digital marketing thing, you’ve probably already read and heard about brand stories and how more and more businesses are using them to get customers. Telling stories has been one of the greatest staples in marketing for years, and it’s more important in the Internet era than it ever was. Why? Because a story can connect you with your potential customers on a deeper level, establishing a relationship that will be mutually beneficial.
Naturally, since marketers have been suggesting big and small businesses to get on board with the “tell a story” method to market their products for a while now, the marketing landscape is filled with them. Showing how products impact consumers and can improve their lives is so widely spread that it’s become common sense by now. That didn’t happen just because – there are a few strong reasons why everybody is doing it. And why you should as well.
From Nike sportswear to Ford trucks and Miller beer, everyone is telling a story. The first and most important reason why is because it f***ing works. Think about it. We’ve grown accustomed to consume stories on a regular basis – we watch TV shows, we read books, we go to see plays. We are already used to engage with stories on an emotional level and even to respond to them. We all have our favorite TV character and the villain we despise and we get so tangled up on their fictional lives that we end up having strong feelings towards them.
Brand stories are no different than this. Big companies have spent years building their campaigns around concepts and specific subjects with which their target audience can relate. Let’s see – Nike’s story is all about getting out there and facing your own challenges, Ford’s is about hard work and Miller is about friends and having fun with a beer on each hand. Picked up the pattern? Aspiring athletes can decode Nike’s message in a heartbeat, and so can farmers with Ford’s and… barely legal teenagers with Miller’s, I guess?
Anyways – brands identify their products with certain concepts and keywords and work up a story around them. In the meantime, their target audiences consume those messages and start incorporating them into their perceptions of those brands. After a while, people start to respond – they’ve internalized the concepts of the stories and are now associating them with the brands’ products.
What can you do?
This mechanism can work for your benefit, too. It doesn’t matter if you sell bird seeds or cement – you can always tell a story. But you’ll have to work a little bit to figure it out. The first thing you’ll have to do is find how your product can impact on the consumers’ lives. Birds seeds can make birds happy, attract them to the consumers’ lawns and make them sing. It’s like a celebration of life! And seeds are in the center of it. Cement is far easier – where would we be if it weren’t for it? It’s the foundation of modern society.
See? Concepts can be found in rather odd or very specific products. It’s just a matter of sitting down to look for them. Take the time to do it and then get onto the next step. And which is it? Developing the story. There are numerous channels you can use for this and, ideally, you should use them all. By doing that, you’ll be sure your message gets across and finds its target audience. Basically, the concept you find and the story you device around it should be in the spotlight of your content marketing.
Showing how your products impact on people lives (and putting those lives in front of your brand) is way better than making lists and graphics about your product’s advantages. Stories are even better than cold facts in establishing a connection and trust with your audience. Do you know why that happens? Because stories involve people and make them want to be part of something bigger than them – the story translated as experience, as a culture. Facts are interesting and supportive but they lose they appeal rather quick.
So, your texts, images, videos, social media posts and any other thing you get out there should reinforce your story and add a new exciting element to it. By doing that, people will start to get drawn to your message and even start to get engaged with it, sharing it with their friends and advocating for it. It worked for Nike’s Just do it, Ford’s Built Ford Tough and Miller’s It’s Miller time – why wouldn’t it work for you?