Written by: Katie Lipsett, Content Marketing Strategist
Storytelling is a crucial marketing tool for brands looking to ground their business strategy with messaging that is memorable, emotionally engaging, and profitable. Your message must be memorable and emotionally engaging in order to maximize revenue. Telling the story of your brand will not only help attract quality employees it will also drive profitability.
A clearly communicated story is the backbone of a strong marketing strategy. Having purpose and values as a business sells, but it all needs to be communicated as a story that captures people’s attention.
How do you do this? You need to balance emotion with just the right amount of information. Your story should be easy to understand and should simplify big ideas in a way that sticks in people’s minds. It should surprise, delight, cause the audience to think and feel, and ultimately motivate them to take action in ways that data can’t.
Step 1: Gain Clarity of Your Vision.
Think of your brand as a legacy. What do you want to leave behind? No matter what your business is, a powerful brand story instills a sense of bigger purpose that is beyond the product or service being offered.
Whether you’re trying to market your services or you’re trying to attract new, quality employees, you can’t make the mistake of pushing out marketing content without a clear story to wrap around it. You need the foundation of a story in order to avoid being inconsistent, confusing, and contradictory.
When mapping out your brand vision (or story), outline what you’d like to accomplish. What do you want to be known for and how can what you’re doing and where you’ve come from become a story?
A quick exercise to solidify the vision:
A vision should be a single sentence that can be broken down into 3 parts.
- ACTION: What is the best action word describing what your brand is doing to serve consumers (or employees – in Clickstop’s case)?
a. Empowering, Teaching, Coaching, Providing, etc.
- AUDIENCE: Who exactly are you trying to influence?
b. Future employees, people in the area needing your services, etc.
- VALUE: What value do people in your audience get from interacting with your brand?
c. A sustainable, enjoyable, and opportunistic workplace.
Vision: Empowering employees to think big and make it happen while making time for fun and family.
Step 2: Humanize and Relate to your Target Audience.
Paint a vivid picture of the people your brand is speaking to and create personas if necessary (Leverage Marketing can help out with this) What do they like? What keeps them up at night? And what are their belief systems, philosophies, lifestyles, and passions? Knowing what causes the physiological tension that your audience needs to scratch is crucial. But even more crucial is knowing how to resolve that tension through the telling of your story.
Example: Target audience is a highly qualified group of individuals who are not happy with their company culture. Their “itches” are feeling underappreciated, overworked, and stressed. The brand story should focus on addressing these challenges and showing the payoffs of working somewhere where the sky is the limit.
In short, it’s important to address tension and resolve it in a way that is human, relatable, and transformative. The goal is to allow your audience to feel understood and connected to your brand.
Step 3: Identify Core Values For Your Audience To Connect With.
Core values are what you firmly stand for when it comes to your brand. It’s the non-negotiable beliefs that the brand cannot live without and that the target audience will hopefully share. You can’t fulfill your vision if your values don’t align.
You might already have solid core values in place. However, before you can roll out a genuine brand story, it’s important that these values are practiced and lived out within your company. Your core values are meant to humanize your brand by acting as conversation starters that spark thoughts, discussions, and emotional engagement with your audience. Your brand should be able to speak to these values indefinitely without ever losing momentum. These values also become the foundation for a content strategy.
In short, values and vision are communicated inconspicuously. The audience should be able to feel what the brand stands for without having it spelled out.
Step 4: Create Content That Authentically Tells Your Story.
At this point, you should have your vision, target audience, and core values defined. Now you must develop brand language, visuals, and communication styles for your brand to cohesively tell your brand story.
Any content created, whether it’s social media posts, blog posts, website copy, print material, etc., should funnel back up to the vision and values. Treat each piece of content like a puzzle piece; the overall big picture should be apparent when everything is put together.
In short, when developing your content strategy, it’s important to remember that earning brand loyalty and convincing people to take action goes far beyond telling your story. A big part of it is being authentic. In order to get people’s attention and create powerful and relatable emotions, don’t be afraid to reveal the heart and soul of your brand.