How To Build Your Business With Storytelling
Tell Your Story
To better understand what is brand storytelling, you have to start thinking differently about your marketing than you have in the past.
With brand storytelling, it is all about the customer, although many get confused here and think this has to be all about the business.
If you get this wrong, the story is not going to connect with your audience like it would if the story made them the center of focus. On the surface, your business might not be telling a clear linear story, but if you created the story of your brand correctly, it will influence customer interactions, marketing messages, and your site's copy.
Your Customer Is The Focus
The bottom line is this, you are not the centre of focus in your brand story, the customer is.
Once you understand this concept the rest of the pieces will fall into place and your marketing communications will transform. Look at it this way, your customer has a need, that is why they came to your website in the first place.
The job of your brand is to use the right tools to guide them to achieve their goals, not yours.
Now that you better understand what brand storytelling is about, we have to focus on learning how to tell that story.
When done correctly, you take selling services and products and put them secondary to creating stories that engage your audience. The stories need to be carefully crafted, curated, and then distributed to your audience.
Here are 3 ways to effectively tell the story of your brand and keeping the focus on the customer.
1. Reinforcing Your Brand's Purpose or Mission
Rather than promoting your low prices, your fast shipping, or the fact that you have been in business for so many years, your story needs to focus on the needs of the customers.
Although you sell specific items, all your customers have different needs and reasons for shopping at your store. Some customers are not concerned about price, others do not care how long you have been in business, but they all have certain needs.
If you can make the customer feel value through your brand - you have successfully engaged them.
So to do this effectively and to cover all your customers, your brand storytelling needs to reinforce the needs being met of your customers.
Your brand should focus on showcasing high quality merchandise that will last, so the customer is not shopping again for the same items in a few months because the materials are inferior.
Focus on how the customer is going to feel before, during, and after the purchase. Make the shopping experience personal for them, let them know every step of the way their business is valued. Having exceptional customer service is an asset here, like having a live chat feature so customers can speak to a live person to get immediate answers during their shopping experience.
The mission of your company needs to be on making the customer feel valued each step of the way.
2. Highlighting Your Brand's Values
One of the ways to expand upon brand storytelling is to highlight your brand's values.
When your values are providing a unique shopping experience for the customer, then you have to make changes to reflect that.
For example, a customer comes to your store to buy a shirt, but they are not sure which color or style to buy. It is one thing to have a live operator help with the questions, but that does not help the buyer imagine what the outfit is going to look like on them or with other pieces. The solution in this instance could be an interactive program that allows the user to take different pieces in the store and mix with others to see in real-time what the outfit looks like.
Many eyeglass retailers have already jumped on this feature, creating a program that allows the user to upload their face, and then as they choose glasses from the store it is placed in real-time on their face. This not only allows the customer to see what the glasses look like on their face, it is part of the brand storytelling that instills confidence in the buyer that this company really cares.
These implementations in your web design are part of your brand, but they put the customer front and centre.
3. Engaging Specific Customers or Groups
Now when it comes to brand storytelling, the above examples were designed to improve the shopping experience for all customers.
Now we have to fine-tune the process so that you are engaging specific groups or customers. The way that you do this without isolating other buyers is try to incorporate as many groups into one process. Chances are if you do this correctly, most people will fall into one or more of the groups, so they don't feel like you are leaving them out. So again we target the clothing retail outlets online for our example, and here you want to try and target certain groups of buyers.
The way you do it on the inside is create tags for each piece of apparel, youth, adult, toddle, men's, women's, XS, XXXL, long sleeve, etc. Now when the buyers arrive at the store, rather than leave them on their own to make their way through all the inventory, the website greets them and asks for a few pieces of information to personalize their shopping experience. Once they enter youth, female, XS, the website will present links to those items so the buyers can shop like the store rearranged everything just for them.
Your Customer Is The Hero
The goal of brand storytelling is to provide authentic value to the customer that keeps them coming back over and over.
The customer must feel like you are rolling out the red carpet each time they come to your website, so your brand story needs to connect with providing them a unique shopping experience that is all about them.
Your customers are growing tired of sales banner ads, flash videos, and commercials. Your customers want that meaningful connection, providing them a unique shopping experience.
With brand storytelling, make the customer the hero of the story, then over-deliver with the experience.
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As Creative Director & Roundhouse Founder Saul Edmonds has over 20 years professional design and digital experience.
He is an international expert on Brand, Website and App Development. He has worked with clients across all industry groups - including startups, small business, government and entrepreneurs - on projects of all sizes and budgets.
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