There are few better ways for startups to create an emotional connection with a target audience than brand storytelling. It helps build trust and loyalty, ensures a brand stands out from its competitors, and creates a sense of community that is highly valuable to any company.
However, brand storytelling is not an easy thing to do, especially when you are not sure about the story you want to tell and how best to weave it throughout your marketing strategies. Below are some tips to help you succeed on your brand storytelling journey.
Know Your Target Audience
The words “know your target audience” are said in almost every piece of content discussing marketing, but it is for a good reason. Knowing the target audience is key for effective brand storytelling because you need to know things about them, such as:
- What motivates them
- What their pain points are
- What kind of content they respond to
Ultimately, you want the story to resonate with the audience. Fortunately, gathering that information is not difficult, with customer surveys, social media analytics, and audience research giving you everything you need to know.
According to the CEO of Mawer Capital, Rudy Mawer, “Use of powerful tools like Google Analytics can help business owners gain access to the crucial information they need to understand their customers’ buying decisions and connect with them in a meaningful way.”
Inspire Action with Your Story
There is no point in telling a story or reaching a broad audience if you do not convince them to act. You want engagements and conversions, and your brand storytelling efforts should motivate them to respond. That could mean members of the audience:
- Making a purchase
- Sharing your content
- Signing up for your newsletter
- Leaving a comment
However, motivating them means creating a sense of urgency. You also need to make it clear what you want the audience to do. That is where a call-to-action (CTA) comes into play, which you can leave at the end of a story to push the audience to take the next step.
A story for the sake of a story is not effective, and if it feels fake, it will drive off an audience. That is particularly true in the startup space, where companies are often trying to convince people to give them a chance, sometimes over other, more established companies.
Mawer says, “Authenticity is the currency of our time. If you don’t interact with customers in a real and trustworthy way, they will find someone who will. You’re leaving money on the table if you aren’t engaging your customer in a meaningful, genuine way.”
Your story should be true to your brand and its values, and you should also avoid using manipulative tactics or making false promises. Instead, keep the focus on telling a genuine story that resonates with your audience and matches the values you want to carry into the future.
A great example is the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty which embraced real women of all shapes, sizes, and colors, helping to challenge traditional beauty standards.
Keep It Simple
There is something to be said about simplicity. You want the story to resonate with your audience at a glance, which means it needs to be easy to understand. Therefore, make it easy to understand and remember, avoiding industry jargon and complex language. Instead, go for clear and concise language that anyone can understand.
Simplicity might be especially important if your startup is offering a complex solution that is hard to understand otherwise.
Emphasize Your Uniqueness
Standing out from the crowd can be a difficult thing to accomplish, especially if people do not know much about your startup. Brand storytelling offers a solution, allowing you to highlight what sets you apart from your competitors in a way people can understand and relate to.
What makes your brand unique? Why should customers choose you over someone else? Make sure your story emphasizes your unique selling proposition and gives consumers a reason to choose you over everyone else.
Showcase Your Brand Values
When it comes to running a startup, a strong brand is a must. Therefore, use brand storytelling to showcase the values and beliefs carried by your brand. It is a perfect way to demonstrate the values in action, including things like community outreach, environmental initiatives, and social responsibility programs in the story.
“Powerful brands are built on the shoulders of their values. Without a clear-cut ethos, customers have no idea what and who you stand for. There is no reason for them to rally with you,” according to Mawer.
Connect Emotionally with Your Audience
A powerful brand story connects with audiences on an emotional level, making them feel a sense of shared values, experiences, or aspirations. For example, Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign has resonated with audiences for decades, inspiring them to pursue their dreams, push their limits, and achieve greatness.
Be Visually Appealing
Powerful visuals are used in almost every form of marketing to get better results. In particular, video is king, but a good image will take you incredibly far. The same is true in brand storytelling. Creating an aesthetically pleasing brand identity, packaging, or website can enhance the overall brand experience.
There needs to be a consistent brand story and message across all touchpoints. By keeping things consistent, startups can build trust, loyalty, and recognition while spreading their values and story to more people.
A great example is Coca-Cola, which has maintained a consistent brand message of happiness, joy, and togetherness for over 100 years. By doing so, it has established itself as one of the most recognizable brands in the world.