The Importance of Brand Story & How to Effectively Tell it in 2021

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Brand storytelling is not necessarily an entirely new concept. The most successful companies have been effectively creating marketing campaigns around it for decades now. When you think about the biggest and most popular brands in the world, you most likely think of a persona that surrounds their products and services aside from just the product itself. Even if a consumer is unable to identify it, the feelings they experience, upon recollection of a brand, were conditioned to occur through the company’s intentions.

Why is this true? 

While there is a multitude of reasons that we’ll get into during this blog, the biggest thing that you need to understand is that people buy the story associated with a brand. They care about what a company represents. (This is in addition to a competent product/service that solves a pain point). The differentiating factor is that you could have the best and most cost-friendly product out there, but if your customers don’t feel a connection to the story, they will look elsewhere and even pay a premium to feel “at home” with another brand.

  • So in 2021, how does the concept of brand storytelling have an impact on your business? 
  • Why should storytelling be one of your most fundamental marketing strategies? 
  • Additionally, how is it done most effectively?

In today’s blog, we’ll answer all of these questions, plus give you more key insights on this topic that you won’t want to miss.

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Define Your Brand

Before we can hop into the meat and potatoes of effective brand storytelling, it is important to clarify what the term brand means. Then we will need to identify what your company’s brand is. By doing these steps early the process, you can eliminate the heavy lifting later in the marketing execution.

The term “brand” gets thrown around a lot in the marketing world. While the exact interpretations are subjective, some core ideas remain the same. A brand is a public representation of who a company is, what they stand for, what emotions the company elicits in its consumers, and more broadly, what problem is the company trying to solve. Yes, this includes a company’s name and logo, but what makes a brand memorable and recognizable is what is behind the emblem. Think of what emotions and connections your brain makes when you hear the word Nike or Pepsi.

When trying to identify your own brand, make the following considerations:

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You can get even more in-depth than this, but these questions will get you started on the right track to creating a brand that people know and trust. By defining your company’s brand, you’ve done yourself a big favor and will be able to frequently refer back to that foundation to make the rest of this process easier. 

Layout your brand’s narrative

There is a reason that people are able to attentively sit through a 2.5-hour movie or read through a novel fully captivated in the plot, character development, and resolution. As fictitious as a story may be, it is always written as a representation of conflicts that the audience may experience throughout their own life. They envision themselves in the scene and create an emotional attachment to the story and often grow along with it. 

Similarly, consumers want to see how your product/service will fit into their own lives and they want to feel a sense of belonging to the fight of solving their pain point. Regardless of what marketing medium you use, (still photos, video, graphics, interactive media, simple copy) the following brainstorm structure will be critical to establishing the most important parts of the narrative that you want to share with the consumer. Once again, having this structural foundation allows for the creative enrichment and expansion of the brand story to be effortless.

 As you work through this, consider your target audience:

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This structural guide will help you identify the struggle that your target audience is burdened with as you begin to communicate to them exactly what they need to understand about your brand. And inevitably through this form of story-telling communication, you demonstrate how your brand is the solution to their qualms.

Promote your story’s hero 

We have already touched on the next subject throughout the blog, but this reiteration just goes to show its level of importance. If you take anything away from today’s blog it should be Audience, Audience, Audience. In the same way, the audience wants to make a deep connection with the protagonist of a novel or film, they want to make the same deep connection with the brands that they spend their hard-earned money with. Focus on telling the journey that your consumers can relate to and preferably feature an intended audience member in that message. We as humans love to see others, who face challenges similar to ours, succeed because it gives us hope that our own challenges are surmountable. 

An amazing example would be Nike’s equality campaign. It is not the fact that every one of their consumers has faced this form of injustice, but that every one of their consumers could relate and share the same goal of eliminating the injustice for their neighbors.

NikeEquality campaign video: Nike | Equality

Nailing down the details of each step in the brand storytelling process can be extensive, but you have to remember, you are sharing your company’s identity with the world. This type of brand work should be a fun journey that will ultimately set you up for success in the future. 

Don’t underestimate simplicity and consistency 

One of the last things that I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention is simplicity and consistency. Whether you are telling your story through written copy or digital imagery, it is crucial to establish and keep uniformity within the brand. This includes logos, color palette, calligraphy, and even the voice that your brand embodies. Keeping these aspects simple will save you from much trouble in the future and the idea with uniformity is that your audience will always know what to expect from your brand. Consumers will start to associate your brand with certain thoughts and emotions and will more often than not come back to you in the future when they need to solve the pain point your business addresses. So, if you are an athletic apparel company, don’t tell a story about your CEO’s favorite thing to eat or one about your VP’s favorite vacation. I know these examples are extreme, but I think they help paint the picture. 

The only downside to the brand-storytelling process is that it will take time. There are no shortcuts. You can’t pay to manually rewire someone’s thoughts and associations, but you can be consistent in the areas we mentioned above to make this process organic. If you need help getting started, we recommend working with a brand specialist that knows the ins and outs of the game. We also recommend that the imagery(photo & video) that you use in your storytelling is professionally done and gives off your brand’s aesthetic. Consider working with the professionals at Capturely. Capturely is a mobile on-demand photography service that produces professional imagery designed to help our clients and their brands get noticed. Schedule to meet with one of our Production Executives and they will be able to guide you on your route to success.

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Need some inspiration?

We understand that inspiration can be fleeting and it is not always easy to start something from nothing. The hardest part of storytelling is just getting started. Once you do that, the creative juices seem to flow smoothly. Below are a few great examples of storytelling that can get you started on the journey.

Cycling Charity: The Alt Tour | Can Lachlan beat the peloton to Paris?

Patagonia Apparel: The Stories We Wear: Barbara Heinze

Yeti: YETI Presents | Hungry Life: Yellowstone River

Redbull: Road Trip USA | Daniel Ricciardo takes F1 to San Francisco, Monument Valley and Las Vegas

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