How to tell a compelling brand story: 3 lessons from the experts
Why do we prefer iPhone over Samsung or Coca Cola over Pepsi?
It’s all about the story. It brings people together, keeps us engaged and most importantly it makes us feel good about ourselves. The truth is that brand storytelling is at the core of the most successful companies. Just think about it, we all love a good story. It’s the way to win the hearts and minds of your audience.
Yes, every brand has a story—it’s WHY you do WHAT you do. So, why aren’t we telling better brand stories? Whether it’s content marketing, branding or PR, they are all equally important building blocks for a compelling brand story. From your logo to the way you connect with your audience… it all matters.
Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with great storytelling and design skills. The good news is: you don’t need to be. PR and content agency MMBSY and branding agency Duval Branding are sharing some of their most valuable insights
Why you should care about branding
People remember great stories, but they also remember great design. Your brand is much more than a cool logo. Duval Branding knows how to evoke the right feeling by combining design, tone of voice and experience. In the words: We help you stand out from the crowd.
Define a solid brand identity
A misconception that many marketeers have, is that they alone determine their value proposition. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your brand positioning is primarily the unique place your brand occupies in the minds and hearts of your stakeholders.
Therefore, the particular story you communicate should be aligned with the customers’ perception. It should clearly explain what your brand stands for, giving direction to the entire organization. It should provide an inspiring brand image, which appeals to potential clients and employees.
Brand like a human
Fun fact: Did you know that customers are more likely to purchase a brand if its personality is similar to their own? That’s right: Just like humans, a brand has character traits.
But a brand only really comes to life when rational insights become emotionally charged. To translate the brand positioning into brand communication, you don’t only look at the hard facts, but you also strive to reveal the heartbeat of the brand: its values and the way the brand wants to be seen.
Let’s say I shout ‘Nike’ and ‘Adidas’ to you? Immediately there are two brand universes popping in your head. That’s how brand personality taps into your subliminal conscience. It cuts through the clutter and connects with people in a fresh, authentic and empathetic way.
Show it like a boss
Visuals speak louder than words. Well-considered typefaces, colours and pictures; they all support and enhance your brand story. We take imagery to a whole new level. Surpass your own expectations.
Based on your exact needs, we can design graphic elements that bring your identity to life. And not just figuratively. Let your imagination run wild. We design various applications to see how the brand can come to life. And more important to see if the design supports the brand story and personality.
How content marketing helps your brand’s identity
We all like to be the hero of our own story. And as much as we want our brand to be the hero, it isn’t. Your audience is the main character. They face everyday challenges, have problems and frustrations and need something to believe in. Don’t we all? The days of disruptive marketing are over. And that my friend, is where content marketing comes in. Mie Van Der Auwera, co-founder at MMBSY shares her most important insights.
Tell a story worth telling
As a content marketer you are your audience’s guide. It’s your job to help them solve their problems, create memories, educate them and make them dream. But keep in mind that your audience is not everyone. So be specific: Don’t tell a mediocre story to an average group of people. In the words of Seth Godin: “Do something that matter to people who care”.
WHY + WHO = do something that matter to people who care
That brings us to the next step: The WHY. Our quest for your unique brand story starts with why you do the things you do as a brand. And why "does that matter"? Without an understanding of that "WHY", we -content marketers -cannot tell a story that surpasses the ordinary. And remember our mission? Don’t choose average.
Brand purpose is important because it shows your customers that you’re not just your products, services, or advertising campaigns. You have a WHY—and it’s bigger than just turning a profit. It has an impact on the people it is intended for. It changes their lives. To succeed in this, you must have two important characteristics: empathy and authority.
Let’s talk about those people. Imagine you sell dogfood. Are you than going to market your products to cat lovers? If you do, you’ll have a mismatch of expectations. That’s why it’s important to define your ultimate target audience. Who is your brand intended for?
Know what is going on in that target group. Be specific, without stereotyping. Know your target group through and through, see them as "a tribe" of which your product or service is a part of. The key is to empathize with this tribe, to really want to connect with them.
Don’t sell, tell
As a content marketer you have the possibility and duty to go beyond the sales pitch. Make something for your “tribe”, that’s solves their problem and they’ll talk about it and tell others. If it spreads, it works. And now you’re building trust and authority.
In order to reach your goal, you have to show up – regularly, consistently, and generously – to organize and lead and build confidence in the change you seek to make. It propagates and strengthens your brand story, makes it relevant year after year and continues to engage and involve people. That is the secret of strong content marketing.
PR gets other people to tell your story
You now know what it takes to shape a company’s branding, how to create meaning and how to define your target audience. But how do you bring that authentic story to life, reach new audiences, create fans, know what media channels to use? This is where PR comes in.
So, what’s your story?
“Unlike advertising, PR is all about playing the long game. At MMBSY we craft sustainable relations with our clients. We start from the WHY, we are in close contact with the management board and we are actively involved in their future plans. That makes us trusted partners.
We come in with a different perspective. Based on their identity and mission we distil a number of brand values. A PR agent’s job is to find and create great stories that can be clustered around those company values. These stories have to stand out, be relevant and be newsworthy within our zeitgeist. We know how to listen and how to convey attractive narratives that are relevant to our audiences. If done right, these brand stories give you a competitive advantage.
Adapt and be relatable
What is the point of telling a story, if it isn’t one that people are interested in? As PR agents we are critical thinkers. It’s a well-known fact that people buy into people, not products. And so, it’s important to take a closer look at your audience before creating a narrative. What interests them, their environment, how do they consume media and content. We adapt that one newsworthy story to a specific target group by empathizing with our audience. There may be one story, but there is more than one way to tell it so that it hits the target.
When Covid-19 hit, one of our fashion clients decided to sell face masks with fun designs. But what’s newsworthy about promoting face masks when everyone is? To make our story jump out, we linked it to our clients values: A Belgian fashion brand that wants to help families make the right choice. And we empathized with our target audience by giving tips on how to wear a mask playfully, without scaring their children.
The result? A message that resonates with your trusted sources, who amplify your message and make sure it reaches an even broader audience.
Why you need thought leadership
Those trusted sources – influencers and journalists- have mastered one thing when it comes to your audience: thought leadership. This type of engaging and educational content can help you get recognized as an expert in your industry. With a good PR-strategy you can create and maintain strong connections with your different audiences and build a positive public image.
Long story short: People don’t want to buy a product or a service. Consumers are hungry for meaningful connections, they want your brand to be an extension of their personality. That’s why brand storytelling should be a vital part of your business. These insights will put you on the right path, whether you want to refine your story or don’t know where to begin.
Have a mountain of work and feeling overwhelmed? Give us a shout, MMBSY and Duval Branding would love to help you find and share your brand story.