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What is ‘Brand Storytelling’? Here’s What You Need to Know

what-is-brand-storytelling

Brand storytelling.

It sounds like one of those made-up sayings marketers like to throw around when they get bored with *actual* phrases like content marketing and brand strategy, right?

Yeah, we thought that too. When we first heard the phrase, we rolled our eyes. Not another marketing fad…

But then we learned what is was. And we realized it’s not a new fad but rather a method that brings together historical methods of connecting humans to one another with a proven method of building loyal followers. 

What is Brand Storytelling?

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Let’s say you’re in the market for a new phone. 

You want one that can do all the basic features—calling, texting, accessing the internet, keeping up with your network through social media, etc.—and would love if it also included a few innovative features, just for fun.

A new iPhone has recently been released which has all the features you’re looking for and more. But even more than that, the press just announced top CEOs and celebrities are flocking to this device for themselves.

Suddenly, that iPhone is more than just a device to connect with your community, it’s a status symbol. If you own the same phone as Michelle Obama, you’ll have something in common with her. And isn’t that worth the investment in itself?

Your business’ brand story is the story your customers tell themselves about your product or service. It builds an emotional connection with your customers and takes them on a journey that results in them taking a desired action (i.e. purchasing your product). 

When we’re making large purchases, we’re not just buying the product or service. We’re buying the story we tell ourselves about how that thing will transform us into a better business owner, a better wife, a better mom, or just a better person altogether.

Your business’ brand story is the story your customers tell themselves about your product or service. It builds an emotional connection with your customers and takes them on a journey that results in them taking a desired action (i.e. purchasing your product). 

Why It’s Important for Startups

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It Eases Decision-Making

When you’re faced with a difficult decision, how do you make a choice?

For years, many people thought decision-making was largely based on logic. After all, if you had to choose between purchasing the same product for $5 or $10, wouldn’t you choose to pay $5? That would make the most sense; you’d save money or even buy two items for the price of one.

But research shows that’s not the case at all. In fact, neurological research reveals decision-making is actually more of an emotional process.

Think about the “pay what you want” model some businesses have implemented. If humans made decisions based on logic alone, everyone would pay the least amount they could in order to get the value they’re looking for. Yet, that’s not what happens.

Most times, people pay what they feel is the value of the product. This model can actually be profitable for small businesses because it relies on human decency and the idea of reciprocity (although we wouldn’t recommend relying on this as your entire business model – it’s way too unstable).

It Makes You More Memorable

If we were to tell you 88% of women-owned businesses make less than $100K in revenue (which is actually totally true), would you remember that statistic?

Maybe, maybe not.

But what if we told you a story about a woman named Mary who struggles day-in and day-out to build her startup? She’s been talking to investors, spending money on advertising and marketing, and fighting to grow her business’ revenue. But even three years in, she’s still only making $65K in revenue.

The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated.

Annie Murphy Paul, The New York Times

There’s a reason why stories are more memorable; we’re hardwired that way.

Research reveals the brain doesn’t notice much a difference between reading something and experiencing it for ourselves.

It Helps Your Customers Relate to Your Business

Metaphors are pretty magical. They can take an abstract concept and relate it to an experience we’ve had to make connections that enhance understanding.

The same kinds of connection happen when you’re able to tell a story that relates to your customer’s specific problems.

Let’s say your business is the first of its kind in your market. While you don’t have any competitors, you still have the challenge of educating your audience about what problems you solve and how you can improve their lives.

Perhaps the reason why you started your business is because you experienced a particular problem and couldn’t find any solutions in the marketplace—so you created your own. Sharing that story creates a deeper connection with anyone who may be experiencing similar challenges and shows them your solution is the right one for them as well.

There are many ways you can use stories to relate to your customers, but the fact is this: once you create an emotional connection, getting your potential customers to take action (buy the product, subscribe, hire you, etc.) is much easier to do.

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