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Imagewerks Brand Stroytelling Strategy

Once Upon a Time: The Power of Brand Storytelling

Posted by Jamie Korf on January 25, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Some of our earliest memories are likely images of us sitting spellbound on our father’s knee as he read a goodnight story out loud, setting our imaginations on fire. Our creative take on the world as we knew it had no boundaries.

As adults, we learn that storytelling is no longer just a pastime but a way of life. Our daily lives are saturated with stories. They’re central to how we process information, communicate deep truths, and build connections with others. After all, science tells us our brains are hard-wired to think in terms of narrative structures.

Remember when murder-mystery podcast series Serial first took the digital world by storm? One thought-provoking, whodunit story unfolded across an entire season. No case in recent times generated as much popular discussion and debate as Serial did. It was the most downloaded podcast of the 2014-2015 season, shattering iTunes records across the board.

 

At the core of Serial’s success is its narrator: Sarah Koenig. Her method of incrementally presenting new information keeps everyone anxiously listening, yearning for more. Because Sarah doesn't act like she has all the answers (listeners often find themselves asking the same questions, thinking the same thoughts), she intrinsically builds a relationship with the listener. She comes off as relatable – not as a thought leader or an expert – but merely one of us.

When told effectively, there’s great power in a story that resonates with people and incites them to act. In Serial’s case, it compels listeners to religiously tune in to NPR week after week. In your brand’s case, your story can serve to motivate current and future to feel, act or think.

Everybody has a story worth telling, and your brand is no exception. A good story breathes life into your brand, connects you to your target audience, and provides consumers a visceral experience of what your brand is all about.

At the core of it all, your brand is a community of people working together to create value. When you share your stories in an authentic way, you share value with your audiences. Here are five tips that will help you connect consumers to your brand in a meaningful way:

 

Keep it Genuine

In other words, keep it real. Consumers can sniff out superficial messaging a mile away. Stay true to what your brand stands for, give it purpose, and consistently uphold that tone/voice in your communications.

Know Your Hero
Whether through employees, stakeholders, or buyer personas, put faces to names and develop characters your audience can become emotionally invested in. The key is having your audience follow these character arcs, thus, wanting to come back for more.

Present Across Platforms
Have a cohesive presence across all platforms, but be mindful of what tone and type of delivery works best for each channel.

Short and Sweet

The stories that stick the best are those that convey a simplistic, easy-to-follow format. They can be broken down easily yet told in a myriad of ways.

Be Relatable
Pull back the curtain and show what’s going on behind the scenes: the good, the bad, and the ugly (with discretion, of course). Transparency makes your brand appear more authentic, more relatable, and ultimately more trustworthy.

 

What you have to say matters. By leveraging the power of storytelling, your audience learns to connect to your brand’s purpose and, when done right, will articulate your story to others. 

Need help getting started? Our free,1-hour Brand Brainstorm Session can serve as the best first chapter in your branding story.

 

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Topics: brand strategy, content strategy, brand storytelling

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