How are customers, employees and investors able to connect with a business? Companies have a way of coming to life, and often, it’s through the power of brand storytelling. The best businesses have a story, and the best entrepreneurs know how to weave storytelling into their brand narrative. Do you?
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Storytelling: Does it matter?
Absolutely. Here are just five reasons why your business can benefit from brand storytelling:
Stories are powerful
Stories help form connections
Stories make your business relatable
Stories are easier to remember
Stories make for effective marketing
Five tips for mastering your brand’s storytelling
If you’re an entrepreneur looking for actionable insight into improving your brand storytelling, you’ve come to the right place.
Follow the rules of storytelling
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
OK, so maybe you’re not writing a novel wrought with romance, drama and thrill. But, you should still follow the classic rules of storytelling, like:
Having a plot
Following the typical story arc (beginning, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution)
Including a character (you and your business!)
If you need help carving out your story arc, answer some questions like:
What made you want to start a business?
How did you go about starting it?
What kind of struggles did you have along the way?
How did you handle challenges? What were the outcomes?
What good things have come out of your decision to start a business?
Almost all brand stories mention the creator of said brand. That’s you! Including this “character” as part of your story humanizes your business. It gives listeners or readers a chance to connect with and get to know the individual who made the startup a reality.
About nine in 10 survey participants believe business transparency is important. From willingly sharing information with your customers and employees to being upfront about your pricing strategy, every aspect of your business needs to be transparent. Including your startup’s story!
Be prepared to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to your brand’s story. If you’re worried about sharing a non-glamorous story with the world, here’s a bit of good news: people like real, authentic brand stories. In fact, they prefer it.
Don’t give potential customers a watered-down version of your business; give them the real deal. Most entrepreneurs struggled when starting their businesses. If you did, own it. This is what makes a great story.
The more relatable you are when telling your story, the more your customers, employees and investors will be able to put themselves in your shoes and connect with you and your company’s mission.
Keep it consistent
Nobody likes a waffler. If you’re changing up your business’s story depending on who you’re talking to, take a step back and reassess. Your brand’s story should be consistent regardless of whether you’re talking to a customer or an investor. Remember, your story is a reflection of your business, not a reflection of the person you’re talking to about it.
Think of it like this: Most brand stories involve information on why and how you started your business. This historical information doesn’t change, so neither should your story.
Of course, your story doesn’t have to stick to a rigid script every time you talk about it. Changing words up isn’t the problem. But if you change the main parts of the story, you may come across as inconsistent, misleading and dishonest.
Have a purpose
When it comes to stories, all the good ones have a purpose. Generally, it does more than just inform—it also educates. Before jotting down your brand’s story, consider what others can learn from it. Maybe your customers can learn from mistakes you’ve made or successes you’ve had.
Think about what you hope to get out of your story each time you share it with others. Are you hoping to get investments? Increase customers? Increase employee loyalty? Have a clear call to action when you share it.
Don’t be the bad storyteller
Long, long ago, in a land far, far away, there was … a business on the corner of the street that offered coffee and donuts.
Not very appealing, right? You have to be engaging when sharing your brand’s story. After all, aren’t you passionate about your business? Aren’t you excited to tell people about it? Show it in the way you tell or write your story, while still keeping things simple and to the point.
Even if you have the most fantastic brand story in the world, you’ll start to lose people if you make it too long in an effort to keep the attention on yourself and your business.
Originally published in May 2020.