Why do most of us love movies and Netflix evenings?
Because as humans, we love stories. We connect to them, and they touch us deeply.
In the last couple of decades, brands have also realized that they will get further by telling their stories than by advertising.
Authentic brand storytelling and content marketing are the new advertising.
What is authentic brand storytelling?
Authentic brand storytelling is a type of communication strategy that focuses on creating engaging and meaningful stories about a company, product, or service.
A good brand story helps you to form a deeper connection with consumers by focusing on the qualities that make it unique.
You can use written and audio/ visual media means to share compelling stories that people relate to and understand.
The purpose of authentic brand storytelling is to create an emotional attachment between your brand and your audience so that they engage with you, and over time become customers and maybe even loyalists.
With the right brand story, you can go beyond just selling products; you can build a relationship with your audience.
The power of authentic brand storytelling in business
In my previous role as a marketing manager, I saw firsthand how effective authentic brand storytelling could be in building brand awareness and cultivating customer loyalty.
There were lots of examples, especially from China, Japan, and Korea, where beauty brands were capturing the hearts of their young consumers and becoming a part of their lives by telling stories that got exponential shares on social media.
So I remember urging my boss at Johnson & Johnson, that we have to invest more in authentic storytelling and lesser in multi-million dollar TV commercials.
And today, the most successful brands are those that can tell a powerful brand story that resonates with their audience.
One of the best ways to make an impression on potential customers is through powerful storytelling. Crafting an authentic narrative for your brand can help you connect with your target audience in meaningful ways and leave a lasting impression.
Here’s why your business needs authentic brand storytelling.
1. Helps you stand out
Since you are not the only one selling products and services, it can be hard to build a competitive positioning and differentiation for your small business brand.
Authentic brand storytelling can also mean telling stories about the unique aspects of your business that set you apart from others in your industry.
For example, customer testimonials about how great your products or services are, or photos and videos of real-life examples of how people use your product or service on a daily basis.
Create brand content and stories that speak directly to the needs, values, and passions of your target audience.
They will be more likely to work with you over another business that simply provides similar products or services without any emotion behind them.
Take the company Patagonia for example.
Not that it needs to build any differentiation, it is already a well-known brand.
But one of the reasons it has also reached there is because of its authentic brand story with a mission of protecting the planet. Recently, its transfer of ownership to nonprofit organizations also made big news.
Patagonia has built differentiation with its mission and brand story, but also with authentic stories about its users.
These great brand stories are, however, not promoting the brand in any way, these are just real stories that you would like to read.
2. Makes you memorable
It can be easy to forget a brand that just has products and services. Hard to forget one that connects to your heart!
Take the company Empathy for example.
Its mission is to help people deal with practical matters when they are dealing with the loss of a loved one.
This story is so unique, and the name so fitting, along with their whole brand imagery, that it definitely makes an impression on you.
Related: Brand evolution
3. Builds credibility and trust
When it comes to earning customers’ trust, stories are incredibly powerful, especially if they are authentic and have meaningful brand messages.
Authentic brand storytelling gives potential customers a window into how your business operates, who your team members are, what values you stand for, and so much more.
It’s much easier to build trust and engagement when people can relate to you on an emotional level and understand who you really are as a company.
Merit America is a company that provides opportunities for people without a full education to get more lucrative opportunities and build a better life.
Along with the mission and purpose, the brand also includes the names of all its team members on its website, with natural pictures and full bios.
Brand stories like this make it very easy to connect to a business.
4. Drives conversions
Telling stories also helps drive conversions because it paints a vivid picture in people’s minds about why they should choose your product or service over another option.
People are more likely to take action if they can imagine themselves using the product or service in their own lives—which is exactly what powerful brand storytelling does!
Once people get emotionally invested in your story, they will be much more likely to invest financially in what you have to offer as well.
A brand narrative example that comes to mind is the brand 15 Percent Pledge which has a mission to close, or at least reduce the racial wealth gap.
So it asks businesses to assign 15% of their shelf space to black-owned businesses.
Now if you were a business that also wanted to support black-owned businesses, wouldn’t you partner with them?
And if you were a consumer who wanted to support businesses that support and take the pledge for black businesses?
In this case, the stories of the businesses become a part of the story of 15 Percent Pledge and form emotional connections in the minds of the consumer.
Tips for creating an authentic brand story
Frankly put, it is not easy to do authentic brand storytelling.
You really have to understand your audience, do your research, determine your values and mission, and bring them all together.
However, here are a few tips that may help.
1. Talk about your purpose
One tip for creating an authentic brand story is to talk about your origins and purpose.
Purpose-driven brands drive sales because they help your audience connect to you.
Think about why you got started in the business, how your purpose forms part of the core of your mission statement, and how it drives all your brand and business decisions.
2. Keep it simple
Your brand story or stories should be concise and to the point.
It should be easy for your target audience to understand and remember. Avoid using industry jargon or complex concepts that might confuse or turn off your reader.
3. Make it relatable
Remember, the point of creating brand content and stories is to connect to your audience.
So your stories should be relevant to their lives and make them want to engage with you.
4. Be authentic
Since we are talking about authentic brand storytelling in this post, authenticity is a no-brainer.
It should be genuine and could be vulnerable, but there should be no pretense.
For example, if you don’t care about protecting the environment as a brand, please don’t create stories saying you do because you think people care about that.
Your audience will be able to tell if you are fake.
Create stories around your authentic brand and what you truly stand for and believe in.
5. Keep it concise
Your brand story should be long enough to get your point across and hook your audience.
Don’t go on forever with your story, and don’t just stop at the bare details.
Tell a compelling story that engages your audience and leaves them wanting more.
Get a FREE, detailed guide to creating your brand story