Every type of company needs to find a way to communicate corporate values to its customers. But every person who works in the business world know that isn’t simple because all customers are different and not everybody have the same learning model. In this way, companies have tried over the years to find and to implement the best communication methodology that better suits with customers’ learning methods. One of these methods it’s surely storytelling.
Stories…. Who doesn’t like stories?
Sharing stories has always been the most important way of teaching and learning since the childhood of all men and women in the world. When you were a child, and nobody could get you in bed, that’s what your parents with a story they could put you to sleep.
Humans love stories because they arouse certain chemical reactions into the body like pleasure, interest, excitement and involvement. When you hear a story about three little pigs who are in danger through a forest, whether you are 5 or 60 years old, you’ll want to know how the story will conclude. The story involves you and makes you feel part of it.
“Storytelling” is also a process increasingly using by companies to ensure a more interested and easier understand of company’s value proposition. It has the particularity to arouse greater appeal about company’ products and services.
But why? Why do stories attract listeners so much? Let me explain in this article the importance of a good corporate communication with the use of storytelling and the benefits that this communication way brings to companies.
2.What’s Brand Storytelling?
All corporate brands have its own history and because the way to impress people with some stories it’s common in all human beings, tell the tales of your corporate brand can be an important and meaningful way to relate the company to its stakeholders.
This is an important tool which makes it possible to transform abstract aspects related to your brand into reality.
Storytelling concept exists from a lot of years and has always worked trying to put people in touch and, in this sense, is an effective way that builds relationships between customers and brands.
Let’s try to think. If I tell you “I want to tell you a story about…”, you are more motivated and interested to listen to me compared if I tell the exact same things without naming the story.
An anthropologist, Mary C. Bates tells that “the human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories”.
Metaphors and histories may be useful to explain certain things which, without them, they can’t be connected to that topic or not captured by the public.
The key thing to keep in mind, however, it’s that storytelling is not only narrative. It also should be what makes your company unique and it should go beyond the text placed on your website or used for an advertising spot.
The most important thing isn’t what you say and the way to communicate it to the outside, but what the target interested perceive about your company. It concerns what your company expresses from a commercial but above all social point of view. A customer may be in love with your product due to its functionality, but if he feels detached from your company values or if it’s annoyed or offended by your certain way of communicating, it will do nothing but look for what you have failed to offer compared to the competition.
One of the corporate’s problems about how to communicate a message is that it’s difficult to differentiate itself from competitors in the current market context. So, it’s difficult making understand to the company’s value proposition. Customers now can choose from a wide range of products and, for this reason, the way in which the good or the service is proposed and “told” becomes fundamental.
The storytelling allows, through texts and words, to explain outside the objectives that your company is pursuing and to share these objectives with its interested target in purchasing the products/services offered. This allows you to create feelings of loyalty, longevity, connection, and trust with your target.
This speech is even more important for SMEs company. If a large multinational company can emerge to customers preferences only for its name or for its widespread international diffusion, an SME must surely focus on the quality of the service and the way in which it is offered by customers. What you should do is build a relationship with its target based on trust and the truthfulness about the corporate values communicated.
Another fundamental aspect is that the way in which the brand storytelling is carried out, it must not concern just one project or a specific product launch but all the projects.
It must be intrinsic in every aspect of your company. As much as you can put the right words into your website or on the “about” web page, the truth is that whatever you do, from the employees that you hire to the post that you share on social media, it’s a feature of your corporate brand. Otherwise, you’ll risk being hypocritical and after that it would be lethal to lose the trust and credibility of the customers.
Storytelling values must be present both inside and outside the company. Within the company, it helps to ensure among the employees the company values and to share goals and, so in this way it will be easier for employees to find the reasons and the ways in which they will have to be communicated outside.
What makes storytelling a tool able to give value to your business is the fact of transforming your company from a simple physical place where the employees work, into a recognizable and attractive entity. However, it is very important to tell and express the history of one’s own brand externally without being inconsistent. Telling your story means communicating in a way that customers feel happy to be part of it.
A story that is not remembered in an exciting way by customers, is of no use. Your story must strengthen your relationship with customers, not tilt it.
3. How storytelling can create brand value for your brand
Being able to express the company values through a compelling story, it allows your company to generate word of mouth. Word-of-mouth is a free means of communication that allows you to reach those specific customers. It’s among the most efficient means of marketing because these customers are convinced about the efficiency of your service from a person that has a certain influence for them. Customers will be thrilled by the story and will talk about it with their colleagues/friends and will make sure that you are a reference point for that specific market.
The story adds interest and involvement to your business and allows you to resonate with customers creating a more lasting and trusting relationship. However, a strategy implemented using brand storytelling can be challenging and require different efforts. First, it is important to understand who is the target whom the story should be addressed!
The story must be built to be liked to your audience, not to your company. In this sense, it would be useful to carry out investigations and questionnaires with your target and ,why not, you might be able to get conversations with yours ideal clients.
What you need is knowing how your customers perceive your and competitors’ value propositions and how they elaborate their thought, or whether they prefer compelling and funny stories or maybe more serious stories. The important thing is asking questions, preferable indirectly, so that don’t make the customer feel pressured to enter specifics.
Another fundamental aspect concerns the sharing about the history of your brand. There is no efficient brand storytelling that is not shared. Any business aspect can be shared among people, creating a sense of commonality and developing the community of your company. The goal is to get a good reaction from your customers and make sure that, even when they aren’t visually in touch with an aspect of your corporate brand, they are thinking about your business history. History must enter into customers’ way of thinking and into their daily lives!
In summary, what are the reasons why brand storytelling can create values for your business? Here are the main reasons:
Impress the customers. History appears to your eyes and to your hearing as something fascinating. Thinking about all advertisements you find on TV or on youtube. They almost all start with a story. That because it creates a visual and personal connection with the visitor. The best way to make sure that your story has the right motivational impact is simply to learn as much as possible about your audience. Understanding what motivates them more interested will consequently help you to personalize your narrative story.
Create memory on your brand. Storytelling will help you to create the memories that your customers will want to have about your brand. It allows you to enter your customers within your story and ensure that they identify with it.That advertising that you like so much has been designed with the sole intent of making you arouse those particular companies, which will then lead you to be interested in relating to the company proposal.
Differentiate your brand. Try to imagine having some objects with the same type of designs/colours in front of you but with different brands. It will seem difficult to choose which one is the best. However, with the help of a story, you will see which story is most connected to your way of thinking and the choice most suitable to the way you are.
Represents a learning process for your company’s marketing.
Working in the marketing world, one cannot help but to know the world in which one lives and the way which the competitors work. One of the main aspects of the stories is that they convey experience and knowledge. This can allow marketers knowing what is happening in the market and how it is expressed to the various target segments.
4.How to create a story about your brand
One of the fundamental steps about the creation of a story is the study of all the elements necessary to make the story exciting for customers. After having studied your audience, it is essential to centre the story on various aspects.
The first aspect concerns certainly the product or service offered to the target. The good is the element with which the story must be mainly connected, and it is necessary to know exactly what kind of emotions and words the customers expect it from that product. Others fundamental factors are your target audience, your location, your industry, your values and why you’re different from competitors.
A story for your brand can be explained and illustrated in various ways. According to the story you want to offer to your target, you may need different figures and situations. You can decide to build your story, for example, on a protagonist or an antagonist.
A protagonist: The protagonist is the hero of your story. It’s important when you want that your target is identify in the hero’s values. The protagonist of your story should have the characteristics of your ideal client. You need, to make sure that the character to whom the story is addressed it’s involved with it, that you represent your story in the best possible way. If you can convince brand advocates to tell your story alongside you, then you instantly become more relatable.
An antagonist: The antagonist is mainly used when the company turns to customers who are interested about your product to solve their problem. For example, the major shampoo brands identify dandruff as an animated bacterium to be defeated. Successful companies solve their customers’ problems through their product or service. This problem, or antagonist, is defined in the story as the challenge facing customers in solving the business. Crushing the antagonist is the goal.
However, if you’ll decide to develop your story you will need for a special event. The special event is important because at that moment the customer realizes the company’s value proposition. This moment must also represent the situation in which the target feels more emotionally towards the story.
Each type of story is then built according to the target and what you want to emphasize. If it is a problem to be solved, the antagonist is the best choice to make his audience become attached. If the service offered concerns a lifestyle from which the target would like to take an example, the use of a hero is the best choice. Everything depends on the values of your company and what it wants to be transmitted to the target.
5. SME’s Brand Storytelling examples
Now let’s talk about some storytelling examples that thanks to their effectiveness have led the company brand to be more appreciated by the target.
There are countless examples of brand storytelling in the world. I’m sure the first ones that will come to mind are about the great giants like Nike, Coca-cola, Burberry, but who says that to make a good storytelling it’s related to have a huge budget?
You and your SME too can make a storytelling that is able to approach the ways you think and act about your target. What you need is to have imagination and make a big effort to understand your customers and how they want to hear your brand story.
Let’s talk about two examples of storytelling that really improved the palatability of the product and of the company.
- Chobani Yogurt. Chobani Yogurt is a US company with CEO Hamdi Ulukaya. The history of this company started when Hamdi moved in the United States and noticed that the yogurt who ate in his home country had a much more pleasant taste than the one in the USA. So, he decided to create a Greek yogurt, nutritious and accessible to everyone in the United States. The storytelling carried out by Chobani concerns 1-minute videos in which special recipes are prepared, such as a baked apple cider donut or a crispy chicken taco, in which Ciobani Yogurt is a fundamental ingredient. This idea presents creativity and innovation for the use of the product. You place yogurt as an ideal meal for a snack, but what Ciobani tries to do with these videos is to consider it as an added value to culinary delights. He has found a way to explaine to other people that yogurt can be used not only like a snack, but in a lot way. That’s why Chobani’s approach to storytelling is so brilliant. They try with their recipes to highlight the quality of their product.
- Old Spice. Another example of storytelling is given by Old Spice. The target of Old Spice is represented by teenage boys and their mothers. The product offered will not be the most attractive on the planet, but the guys at Old Spice have not failed to create creative campaigns that can improve the appreciation about the product. The company has created their own song for their ringtone and above all the School of Swagger, an online resource that gives advice to children on particular adolescent situations. Old Spice has also created support for mothers, inventing a guide that can help them with their relationship with their children.
These examples show that, despite being a small-medium company, and despite not having a “special” product, a good brand storytelling strategy can allow you to enhance your value proposition. What you need is creativity and innovation.
6.Why storytelling and design work well together
After having illustrated two examples of storytelling, it’s equally important to highlight how storytelling can be a useful tool to improve the design of your company and vice versa.
One of the advantages is certainly that following the development of the story, the design team can encounter problems and solve them instantly. Since the stories add a timeline to the project, all types of design errors are highlighted which otherwise could only be noticed at the end of the project. These details allow us to improve the usability and involvement of your customers.
Another advantage given using design storytelling concerns planning and early planning. When you start developing a story, you must first have a clear idea of the design goals before thinking about the details. This is useful because after the designers have spent hours on detailed user interface models, the criticism will focus strictly on the fact that the projects achieve established and understood objectives.
History-centered design also allows you to simulate user experience. The team, using the technique of storytelling, is obliged to move together with the customers in every precise step. This allows the team (Designers, CEOs) to get a system that makes decisions based on how customers and your team think about a particular topic.
Storytelling remains an efficient strategy for your business. What you need is that your story is easily understandable to link to your brand, imaginative and original. Focus your story on the DNA and the essence of your brand.
Emotion, inspiration, and authenticity is what great storytelling is all about. Learn how to tell a truly compelling story, and you’ll learn how to speak to your audience in a way that inspires loyalty, and commitment.
Take courage, become the narrator of your company and tell your business how you see your business with your entrepreneurial mind. In this way you will be able to enter the mind of your target, reaching your goal: to increase the value of your company.