The formula to get it right every time…
Been to a great movie lately? One with a story so captivating you wanted to see it more than once? Storytelling at its finest draws us in and makes us feel part of the events as they unfold. We identify with characters that seem relatable to us and we enjoy the rollercoaster ride of action and tension leading to some form of satisfying resolution.
Skilled screenwriters know how to develop compelling characters and an intriguing narrative. The art of great storytelling applies to branded content as well. If you follow this recipe upfront, you’re in a better position to build stories people will resonate to and share.
Step One: Brand Story Mission
Want to build a more powerful and engaging brand story? Then imbue your brand with greater meaning. Belief sits at the front door of engagement. Your mission, values and higher purpose beyond selling things are critical to informing the brand narrative.
You are not on the planet just to sell stuff.
Your ability to connect with people and tell a more compelling story will begin with fully defining your brand’s higher purpose. Consumers need something substantive and bigger than themselves to believe in.
This work will lead to an unending and ultimately more compelling dialogue with consumers, because the arc of the story springs from an idea beyond transactions and commerce.
Step Two: Brand Story Relevance
All purchases now are largely symbolic expressions of how we want the world to see us and to understand our values and priorities. What we buy is a reflecting pool of what we’re about.
So what’s the common thread of synergy and commonality between your brand story and the values consumers hold dear?
Relevance is achieved when consumer passion and brand story are aligned. Lifestyle integration takes the storytelling to a new level of interest. It’s about them, their lives, and what they care about. Thus, the story becomes a mirror and is more relatable.
Step Three: Brand Story Equity
It’s vital to tap into your heritage and backstory – to help consumers identify and find their place and belief in what you’re about. Consumers are interested in why you started, where you’re going and what you’re on the planet to accomplish.
This works to humanize your brand story and bring the characters inside to life. Who and what inspired the idea or concept that sits underneath the business? What’s the ‘aha’ moment that drove the decision to start? What were the key events along the path of scaling that led to building a larger community of fans and ambassadors? The early narrative sets the stage and provides brand story context.
Step Four: Brand Story Solution
What pain point or conflict does the brand story solve? What areas of need have been addressed, and what role is the brand playing in them? What can the brand enable or be a knowledge broker of to help consumers reach their goals or fulfill their dreams?
- Creativity in the kitchen
- Living healthier
- Entertaining family and friends
- Improving family life or parenting skills
- A devotion to outdoor adventure
- Solving financial challenges
- Fascination with music or fashion
It’s the fabric of connection to these interests and experiences where the relationship takes root and the brand story gets traction.
Step Five: Outcomes and Resolution
Social conversation and community becomes the proof and integrity of your solution, and allows consumers to develop and own their role in the journey with you. They draw a conclusion based on real world experience. What’s more believable than that? You can paint the picture of the outcome. You can draw the lines to a brand story resolution. That said, consumer testimony added to your brand story brings real affirmation and power to what you say.
Whether the consumer-to-brand connection is about…
- Improved health and wellness
- A closer and more active relationship with their pet
- Unique, higher quality meal experiences
- Closer social relationships and connectivity
- Financial freedom and choice
- Family legacy and experience
Any number of studies on consumer behavior and response confirms that straight selling is a quick path to disconnect and avoidance. Thus, storytelling based on these principles is vital to creating a relationship with prospects for our products or services.
A great story – well told – will captivate and engage.
Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent Healthy Living. Emergent provides integrated brand strategy, communications and insight solutions to national food, beverage, home and lifestyle companies. Emergent’s unique and proprietary transformation and growth focus helps organizations navigate, engage and leverage consumers’ desire for higher quality, healthier product or service experiences that mirror their desire for higher quality lifestyles. For more information, contact Bob@Emergent-Comm.com and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.