Stories have always been an effective way for people to learn and entertain each other since prehistoric times. Before the invention of writing, they could only pass on their knowledge and culture to the next generation by telling stories.
Telling stories was a way to keep a record of things, such as heroic feats, learning experiences, and the origin of things. What did not survive through oral tradition was preserved in cave drawings. They are not always accurate, but stories provided a fascinating insight into how the people that told them thought and lived.
This is precisely the impression you want your readers to have when they check out your website, so what would be a better way to do it than by telling a story? It has worked before with ancient people, it will work now.
Samantha Wright, brand manager of EduGeeksClub says:
If you want people to remember your brand, you should use storytelling techniques to make it memorable. Use your blog content and posts to tell your brand’s story, but do so in an entertaining way.
The following techniques can help you master the art of effective storytelling.
Create your brand hero and villain
A story would not be a story if there were no characters. For a really good story you need a clear hero and villain. Following the actions of the hero and the villain moves the narrative along, keeping your audience invested in the story.
Of course, you should make sure that your brand is the hero, and characterize it so that your audience is rooting for your hero and not sympathizing more with the villain. You might find that more difficult than you think. A perfect hero that has no flaws is boring, and can make your villain seem more appealing.
In creating your brand story, your characters do not have to be people. Your hero could be an environmentally conscious company, and the villain may be large corporations that show no consideration for the environment.
A very good example of this good versus evil characterizations is Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow” campaign. Chipotle is attempting to brand itself as the little food company trying to make a difference in the world against big food manufacturers using a short video.
The scarecrow representing Chipotle works for Crow Foods, an industrial farming corporation that uses inhumane and environmentally harmful practices. He is saddened by how animals are being mistreated and people are being harmed by pesticides, but he is just a little guy who needs to make a living.
Make your brand the hero by making it relatable to your target audience. Make a list of what your company represents, and how you can provide solutions for the problems or issues of your audience. Contrast that with what your competitors are doing, and what they lack. Use these to develop your characters, and compel your audience to follow the story as the characters evolve. What you want is to have your audience rooting for the hero.
Establish a conflict that will resonate with your target audience
A story is not a story if there is no conflict. Stories that march along without any development or moves at a glacial pace results in the loss of attention of your audience.
Hence, in creating a compelling story, your characters have to go through a period of change or conflict to keep things exciting. You need to introduce difficulties to make your hero’s journey interesting.
In the Chipotle video, the hero’s conflict is doing a job he hates for the money, and wishing to make things better for the animals and the consumers. His conscience was bothering him, but what could he do?
He experienced an epiphany when he noticed the plump, organically grown vegetables he was producing in his own backyard. He could start his own little business selling fresh, pesticide-free produce!
The hero left Crow Foods and did just that by opening a food stall. At this point, the video ended, with the scarecrow at the beginning of his journey. The audience following the story is encouraged to go further by downloading a free game where the scarecrow’s battle against the evil Crow Foods continues.
When developing the conflict in your own story, look back at your own difficulties in setting up your brand. Most companies have interesting histories, which would make an excellent source of material for your hook. You can use your own experiences to define the plot of your story.
For example, if you had trouble convincing investors about the viability of your idea, you can incorporate that into the story. Take your audience through a step by step (leaving out the boring parts) journey to finally getting your business off the ground.
Don’t leave out the mistakes you made and your solutions; this makes you more relatable and interesting. Your purpose is to present your brand that has gone through difficult times and emerged victorious. You want them to root for you, and they will only do that if you show that you are not perfect.
Make your story visually appealing
Telling stories is more effective if you have compelling visuals.
People tend to remember you better if you show them rathe than just tell them. Videos and images are very popular because they invoke emotions better than the written word, and they are easier to remember. Visuals can make your story more compelling and appealing.
Fortunately, it is quite easy to incorporate images and videos in your blog content. In fact, you can tell your story entirely without words, as what Chipotle did.
The video had no words spoken, and no explanations given. It made clever use of animation and soundtrack to convey a certain mood and elicit the desired emotion. A change in tempo conveyed when the story was about to get exciting, and made a smooth segue into downloading the game, which is what Chipotle wanted its audience to do.
You do not have to do it the same way. You can use other visual techniques to convey your story. If humor is your overall approach rather than poignancy as with Chipotle, then you need a different approach.
You can also make use of memes to tell your story, or make use of funny cat or baby pictures. For example, if you are a company selling antistatic products, you can show an image of a cat with all its hair standing on end, and caption it with “I hate static.” This shows the problem and solution in one image. Whatever your theme, make sure your visuals reflect it in a consistent manner.
The great thing about visuals is it is so efficient. If you choose the right ones, you don’t even have to explain anything for your audience to get it. It takes some practice to get it right, but if you work at it and do your creative schtick, you will hit on just the right note for your story to resonate with your audience.
The concept of storytelling a s a form of brand marketing is not new. However, with the current emphasis on organic content and use of visuals to make your brand and site appealing to both search engines and your audience, it makes perfect sense to give it precedence in your strategies.
You can use the three techniques above to make your story effective and relevant to the audience. Most importantly, a story can create a sense of connection between your brand and your audience that can go a long way to making an enduring impression.