How Powerful Storytelling Drives Profitable Brands

December 20, 2017

Want more customers? More loyal customers? Of course you do…

Tell a story. Tell your story. Tell their stories.

Simple as that.

Storytelling is the great driving force behind all the most successful brands.

It’s a way to truly connect with your audience on an emotional level. A level that hooks them in and doesn’t let go.

I’m gonna tell you exactly how building a story around and throughout your brand will help you, your audience and your entire business.

But I’m not George R. R. Martin!

And you know what…you don’t need to be!

No-one is expecting the next Game Of Thrones from you (although you’d be onto a winner if you did!).

The concept of storytelling can be daunting. Where do you start? Novels are massive right!?

And this is where most people think about it the wrong way.

You don’t need a sprawling epic. You need to tell people about you. You need to tell people why they should care.

As a professional blogger and business owner – that should be second nature!

Once upon a time...

Mention the word ‘story’ and more likely than not, people will get children’s fables flash into their heads. They’re the first stories we’re introduced to and the ones we most readily remember.

We therefore paint storytelling with a childish brush. Something that couldn’t possibly be of relevance in the business world (unless you’re in the business of writing children’s books!).

But stories have been a staple in human interaction and consciousness throughout time.

We use them to explain. To urge change. To pass on thoughts and ideas.

Stories are built around empathy so people will engage with them and relate to them. They put everything into familiar relationships and create a resounding sense of movement.

They’re the foundation blocks of communication.

And communication is exactly what businesses are based on.

So let’s look a little closer into the top 6 benefits impactful brand storytelling can offer your business.

1. Attraction: Show your audience empathy and they’ll listen

Everything starts with your audience. Your target market.

Get to know them inside-out. Their wants, needs, goals, desires, problems, pains, lifestyles, interests, hobbies, social circles etc.

If your story immediately shows them that you understand where they currently are and where they’d like to be, then you’ll hook them instantly.

Your story needs to be a mirror to your audience. They need to be able to see themselves in it. Like you’re talking directly to them and no-one else.

Lead with them. Not yourself.

Describe their pains and desires in detail and tell them how you can help them on the journey between the two.

2. Understanding: If you’re clear on why you exist, then others will be too

We’re very inquisitive creatures by nature. If we’re attracted to something or someone, we’ll want to suss it out. To understand everything about it.

You brand story should therefore tell your audience everything they need to know about you.

How you started. Why you started. What you actually do. What your journey has been like. Where you are now. Where you’re going.

And in order to tell your audience that, you need to actually know it yourself!

And you’d be surprised at how many businesses aren’t able to answer all of those very simple questions.

What’s great about your story is it forces you to focus on why you exist. To really think about it. Your drivers, passions and vision.

The clearer and more concise you are in all of the above, the easier it’ll be for you audience to know what you’re about and decide if they’re with you or not.

3. Connection: We build relationships with others of shared values

At the heart of our businesses are the relationships we build.

And relationships are formed on shared values.

Do you know what your brand stands for? What matters most to it over anything else?

Are you all for exclusive luxury, charitable giving, environmental protection, education etc.?

You need to be sure that what your brand values, your target market values just as much. They must align.

We find recognition and affinity in those that mirror ourselves. And we want to form stronger bonds, stronger relationships with them.

Relationships are built on communication. Your story tells them about you. And they in turn will tell you more about them.

Who they are. What they like. What they want. A hugely valuable source of research and direction for your business.  

4. Trust: We like what we know, we trust what we like

When we form a relationship with someone, we’re constantly seeking more of a good thing. We know we like it and we want more of it.

We then develop trust.

And trust is a powerful thing!

Trust leads people to listen. To believe. To care.

It’s the ultimate goal of any business. To have a dedicated following of trusted, loyal customers will be your lifeblood.

Your brand story will build trust in your audience if they see themselves in it. If they believe in it. If it speaks to their passions, their desires and their values.

When people believe in your brand and care about it, they’ll move onto the next stage…

5. Purchase: People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it

Your brand story needs to have a purpose.

And ultimately, that purpose is sales.

Everything you do in your business should be geared to making sales, and your brand story is no exception.

Don’t be put off by the term ‘sales’ or ‘selling’. They don’t mean you need to be a sleazy car salesman with underhanded tactics to trick people into purchase.

Quite the opposite.

Sales are a result of trust and belief.

If your story resonates strongly with your audience, they’ll buy from you.

Think about most of the products and services in existence. The ones that you buy. They’re not one-of-a-kind. They’re commoditised. The same thing being sold by countless other businesses that you could’ve bought them from.

But you didn’t.

You went with the one you did for a reason.

And that reason was because the brand appealed to you. Because you shared an affinity for who was selling it, rather than what exactly it was they were selling.

For example. Sneakers are sneakers right. But Nike and Adidas are very different. You fall into one camp or the other. Be all you can be. Strive to be the best. Or youth culture. Style and edginess.

Both products will keep your feet warm and dry. You can walk/jog/run in both.

But you bought one of them because you shared their values. Trusted their quality. And believed in their vision.

6. Shared Experience: Brand stories aren’t there to be told, they’re there to be lived

Finally, your brand story shouldn’t be yours alone.

It’s the culmination of every one of your customer stories and audience interactions with your brand.

It’s a shared entity.

Your story should be powerful enough to become an experience for people. Something they want to talk to others about.

Your story will drive your word-of-mouth.

Very rarely do people talk about generic products. They talk about those that are backed by something more.

A clear vision to make the world better somehow.

A movement people can relate to and join.

You brand story will be told and retold. To explain who you are. To urge the change you stand for. And to spread YOUR thoughts and YOUR ideas.

A story worth telling

If you want to really connect with your audience to build empathy, trust and loyalty, then you need to perfect your story.

There are no wrong stories. Every story will resonate with someone out there.

There are over 7.3 billion people on the Earth.

Trust me. Your story will hit with someone!

Just make sure you know it. Know it well. And know who you’re speaking to.

Your brand, your sales, your business will flourish as a result.

What’s your brand story?

Do you already have one? Do you need to get started on one? How have the above points changed your thinking on the importance of brand storytelling?

Let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!