Narrating a company: what is brand storytelling?

The first step to understanding brand storytelling is to recognize the power of narratives when associated with marketing strategies. Storytelling is a fundamental tool for companies to project their vision and values to the public, portray products and services, and convey sympathy. 

Stories create emotional connections with those who listen to them both in books and in the real world. On the one hand, this allows them to involve and empathize with the reader and, on the other, allows who writes them to convey emotions and specific messages. In short, they capture the attention and interest of the audience.

It is necessary to highlight something that many companies often forget: brand storytelling does not mean publishing a few posts and stories on social media but is the result of a long and well-devised strategy that aims at representing the company as if it were a person, with a peculiar character, values, passions, desires, and thoughts. After all, behind every company is a group of human beings.

Nowadays, most individuals live a hectic life full of messages, promotions, and unsolicited advice: for this reason, storytelling is a key to a deep emotional involvement with customers and clients.

Rather than your products, people will choose you and your company, and the appropriate storytelling can help you succeed.

How can your business benefit from brand storytelling?

  • It allows you and your business to secure a sincere and lasting relationship with your target audience.
  • It helps you stand out from competitors.
  • It helps you and your brand connect with your customers, reaching out to people who share similar values and presenting your products/services less unnaturally.
  • It allows your business—and those behind it—to make themselves known and inspire trust.

Keep in mind that the goal of a business should not be limited to attracting customers but should aim at their return and satisfaction. Brand loyalty derives from a spontaneous willingness to return where one feels at home.

How can brand storytelling help your customers?

  • Storytelling allows them to relate to the company values, empathizing with your business.
  • It helps them trust you and feel they are not a number or a product. 
  • It makes easier for people to understand whether your brand can be useful and select it among similar companies. 
  • Lastly, it allows the customer to stop and listen to the company, getting to know it better and sharing something with it.

What are the essential elements of brand storytelling?

After this necessary introduction, let’s have a look at the nine essential points of brand storytelling. 

  1. Clear brand identity
    The first step consists not only in defining your brand identity but also in making it clear. Only if you believe in it can you convey it properly.
    Identifying a brand's character is anything but easy, and it is usually better to ask a professional.
    In the meantime, you can ask yourself a series of questions to make up your mind. What are the strengths of your business? What are its weaknesses? What needs can it address and satisfy? What does the company believe? What are the values it conveys? What makes it stand out?
    If you start by answering these questions, it will be easier to describe your company to those who will help you design its visual identity (logo, colors, fonts, packaging, and much more).
  2. Effective goals
    Any effective strategy outlines set objectives and try to achieve them; otherwise, how would you understand if you are going in the right direction? In the case of brand identity, goals need to be specific (leaving nothing to chance), measurable (quantifiable), feasible (realism in everything!), relevant (or you might want to reconsider them), and time-bound (deadlines are essential to monitor and plan any process).
  3. Target identification
    A common mistake is aspiring to address anyone. Just like a person cannot get on with everybody, a company should not choose the entire world as its target.
    At this step, the starting point is understanding who your ideal customer is so as to find the right way to talk about the company.
    Do not forget that it is fundamental to keep the addressee of your products/services in mind and reach out only to those in line with your business.
  4. Tone of Voice
    The way a company communicates with its audience is paramount. Outlining and defining the style of such communication—cold, neutral, warm, colorful—helps the brand control how others perceive it, how it projects itself, how it speaks, and with which words (e.g., formal, friendly, ironic).
    However, the Tone of Voice must be coherent with your brand identity. Can you picture a child speaking with a grown-up timbre and a scholar's lexis? We cannot. 
  5. Brand archetypes
    Numerous archetypes allow you to give your brand a unique and distinctive personality.
    Among the most frequent, many brands (such as Dove or Rocchetta) identify themselves with the Innocent. Their storytelling underlines everyday life, simplicity, and nature to convey a distinctive honesty.
    Other brands, the so-called Heroes (for instance, Nike or Red Bull), focus on courage, determination, and strength.
  6. Content characteristics
    Your brand needs high-quality and valuable content. In other words, they should be part of a thorough strategy that makes them coherent and cohesive with the brand and the chosen communication channels. In addition, you need a common thread to link all your content together.
  7. Communication channels
    After selecting your content, analyze and choose the most effective communication channels. They all have different characteristics and rules; therefore, you cannot use them indiscriminately. Just focus on a few and develop them as best as possible.
    Think about your target audience when identifying the best communication channels. Do they listen to podcasts or read blogs? Do they prefer spending time on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter?
    As you can see, knowing your ideal customer is essential.
  8. Editorial plan
    The fifth and sixth points of this list imply the inevitable creation of an editorial plan. Not only will this help organize the publication and creation of content, but it will also support you in following a coherent common thread. Moreover, having the whole picture under control makes it easier to adjust or correct your strategy.
  9. Results analysis
    Do not underestimate the importance of measuring your objectives. Analyzing and monitoring your results lets you understand if your strategy works or requires changes.
    There are no universal parameters; based on the goals, everyone should develop theirs.
    Do not worry if you realize that you didn't consider some data, which are now explaining your results. If you constantly monitor them, you can notice mistakes and act accordingly.

Do you know any successful brand that has employed great storytelling strategies? Here is one!

Successful brands manage to speak to the heart of people, without them even noticing. They gradually and naturally become part of our life.

Barilla is an exemplary case! Its advertisements show daily-life situations; its tagline is recognizable and cantered on the idea of home. The brand has even created a playlist inspired by different pasta shapes, with tracks lasting as long as the cooking times. The company has reached plenty of people, leaning on its values: family, tradition, and authenticity.
They managed to convey the powerful image of home in a box of pasta.We have been supporting companies for years, always on their side. It is a work that requires great care and attention. If you are looking for help and advice, or need a change for your company, contact us and tell us your story!

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