Where does your mind go when you think about “brand storytelling”? Do you start thinking about your favorite tv commercials — especially the ones that come on during the Olympics, Super Bowl, or other major events?
How did the commercials you remember most make you feel? Did they make you laugh or tear up a bit? How did they change how you feel about the brand?
When most people think about using storytelling in their business, I’ve noticed their brain immediately goes to tv commercials (or online video ads).
Why? Because tv ads are the most visible and obvious examples most consumers experience when it comes to using storytelling to promote a brand.
But did you know the stories often told in those laughter-inducing and tear-jerking ads are only part of the overall story you can share with your audience?
If you’re here, you might already know storytelling is the key to building a relationship with your target audience. It’s important to know that whenever you share your story, your goal should always be to link your brand to something your audience is seeking.
But that doesn’t mean you need to share everything you know every single time you interact with them. It’ll be overwhelming for them if they’re new to your industry or niche. And it’ll eventually become overwhelming for you to constantly share everything you know.
Luckily, most people don’t want all your information upfront! Your audience only wants 3 things from you:
They want to know they can trust you.
They want to know you can help them solve a problem*.
They want information that’s easy to digest or implement.
*Problem is used pretty loosely here. They could also be looking for something they need to gain something else or for something they just desire to have in their life.
The most common mistake I see is once people are clear on their brand story, they think they just need to tell that story enough times to get through to people.
Repetition is an important part of growing a loyal audience but it’s not the best (or most effective) way to use storytelling.
Instead, the key to building trust with your audience is to take your brand story and find every single opportunity you can to share super short stories to back it up. All those super short stories are your content!
The more trust you build, the more people will want more from you. The more they want from you, the more likely they’ll be to exchange time, access, or money in order to get it.
Time: interacting with you and your content more by subscribing to or following you.
Access: sharing their email address with you or sending you a private message.
Money: paying to get the full transformation or solution they’re seeking from you.
So how do you know which stories to share with your audience?
You’ll want to look for opportunities to share stories that are relatable to your audience and relevant to your business. Sharing these stories makes it easier for you to grab your audience’s attention and for them to mentally connect your business to their needs.
Remember, as humans, we all experience a wide variety of emotions and those emotions are backed by our unique sets of thoughts, needs, wants, and desires that need to be fulfilled or managed.
Your stories should be related to what they're thinking or feeling at that moment. The next time you catch yourself thinking, “Get out of my head!” Take a minute to consider the story the person or brand is sharing and how it relates to your own experiences!
Your stories give a name to the problem they’re seeking help for. Think about the last time you knew you had a problem but didn’t know how to describe it. How did you feel when you finally found the right words to explain what you were experiencing? How helpful was it to have those words?
Your stories make them feel seen, heard, and understood. When you can share your raw emotions in story form, they can encourage your audience to take action. If you don’t have a story that mirrors your audience’s lived experiences, you can still find ways to connect with them through your shared emotions!
Someone may be frustrated by the thought of having to change a duvet cover.
They believe there has to be an easier way but haven’t found it yet. How do you think they’ll feel after learning a less laborious method that doesn’t require them to climb into the duvet cover? How likely do you think they’d be to buy more duvet covers from you?
Someone may be in need of a community of other people who have the same chronic illness they have.
They know there are other people out there but don’t have anyone in their current networks who gets what they’re going through. How do you think they’d feel after finding an Instagram community of people who look like them and have the same illness as they do? How likely do you think they’d be to support that community outside of Instagram?
Someone may want to find healthy snacks for their children.
They’re a busy parent who is tired of feeling guilty about not having time to make every meal and snack from scratch. How do you think they’d feel after hearing from a busy chef who’s also the parent of very picky eaters? How likely do you think they’d be to sign up to receive quick snack recipes from that busy chef parent every week?
Someone may desire clothing that fit them well, are comfortable to wear, and allows them to express their personality.
They’re done feeling excluded from trends and they have no desire to learn how to make their own clothes. How do you think they’d feel after finding a wardrobe stylist that caters to people their size? How likely do you think they’d be to become customers of the brands that stylist features and praises?
When your content contains your super-short stories, it’s much easier to share content that is valuable in some way.
Just remember valuable content (and stories) can be educational, encouraging, emotional, and entertaining.