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The Secret to Great Brand Storytelling

brand storytelling

"I walked through a hardware store last night and I came across 50 brands I didn't know existed. They may be great products, but they're not great brands."

-Scott Bedbury, former marketing executive for Starbucks & Nike

Great brand storytelling helps define great brands. It pulls people in and keeps them engaged. It captures the heart and soul of your business. It’s reflected in your products and your packaging. And it’s one of the things that will help you stand out from those 49 other brands on the shelf.  

What’s the secret to great brand storytelling?

It all starts with understanding why your company exists in the first place. I know that might sound simple, but understanding and being able to effectively communicate it are two entirely different things.

Apple’s brand story was built around being rebels in the garage—something that helped immediately differentiate the company and the brand from the likes of IBM and all of the other “big corporate” tech companies for decades to come.  That story helped define who they were and what they were all about.

Only rebels in the garage would have had the guts to sign off on this now iconic commercial…

But being able to articulate the motivation and story behind your business is only a small part of the equation.

Great brands use storytelling to encompass so much more.

Your customers have a story

No, not just your typical case study where you talk on behalf of your customers about how great your products and services are and how they’ve helped them achieve their goals and objectives—I’m talking about giving your customers a chance to tell their own stories.

One of the best at this is I’m a huge fan of their blog overall but really like how they pull their customers in to share their own stories in their own words.

After a quick introduction from intercom, Kevin Rocci from Magoosh dives into how they’ve been able to use intercom’s Message Goals and A/B testing to successfully get more students to engage with their learning materials.  Powerful stuff.  Check it out.

Here’s another great example of a customer story from Fitbit.

Your products have a story

As a consumer and a marketer, I have to say this is one area where a lot of businesses really miss the mark. They talk about products without any personality or passion. They list features and specifications instead of linking their business story and their brand voice to their descriptions.

Just take a look at this example from ESP Guitars. Right out of the gate, you know guitars are their passion. That immediately helps to set the tone and elicit an emotional response.

brand storytelling for products, ecommerce product description example

You also they’ve got decades of experience and pride themselves on building some of the finest instruments on the planet—not just in their city, state, or country—the entire planet. That’s big. So much bigger than “We make guitars.”

You can find that same attention to detail around product descriptions for luxury sports cars like this one from Lamborghini.

Your employees have a story

If you can find a better way to tell your employee stories than this example from 4moms, I’d seriously like to see it.

They created a digital yearbook with photos and blurbs for every one of their employees. Are you kidding me? They also had some fun with it (see the photo spread for their legal team) which reflects their brand vibe and their corporate culture.

I also really like this employee spotlight from the folks at Schell Games.

What’s the secret to great brand storytelling?

It all starts with understanding the story of your business—why you exist and what makes you excited to spring out of bed in the morning—and permeates its way through all of your marketing messaging and consumer touch points.

It’s what creates an emotional connection with your audience and helps your business stand out from those 49 other brands on the shelf.

Who are your favorite brand storytellers?

Share your thoughts in the comments below including what you think makes them stand out.


[Image: Death to the Stock Photo]

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