Seth Godin famously said, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but about the stories you tell.” So, on today, Roald Dahl’s Story Day, we thought it the ideal time to talk about the importance of brand storytelling.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…
Remember the last good book you read? Course you do. Because a real page-turner stays with us long after we reach the end of the novel. It’s the same with a great brand story. Get it right, and it will help you stand out, create trust, inspire, and convert your business into a brand, and one-time shoppers into loyal customers.
So, the hardest part. Where to begin…
‘Great things often start off small’ – Roald Dahl
Keep it simple. While it’s true that people love a good plot twist on Netflix series, you don’t have to mention every twist and turn to make your brand story interesting. Your English teacher was on to something when he said your story should revolve around three main factors: the beginning, where you talk about the problem that you aimed to solve, the middle, where you explain how you solved it, and the end, where you talk about its success.
Ok, so now we’ve got the structure sorted, let’s go back to the plot. Dial it back to the basics. Think, what do you do? How do you do it? Why do you do it? The first two are easy enough: you know what products or services you offer, and you know the processes involved in achieving them. But the ‘why’ is a little more difficult. It’s your raison d’etre; why you’re here, doing what you do.
“A little magic can take you a long way.” – James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
My best advice? Keep it real. Stories about real people, the challenges they’ve faced, and the ways in which they’ve overcome them are meaningful and relatable. It therefore follows that the more real a brand story is the more likely it is to resonate with people and gain trust. It might sound harsh, but no one really wants to hear your corporate journey…yawn. However, showing the role a brand has played in enhancing the experience of a particular person or group has the magic to help people to see how it could enrich their life too. And when you find people who share your values, there’s a much better chance they’ll feel connected to your business and build a loyal relationship with you.
So, don’t hold back:
“Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” – My Uncle Oswald, Roald Dahl.
Like people, each company has a different story. And it’s important that you craft this story and share it with the world so you can attract like-minded consumers. This means rather than focussing on your product or service, making your ‘why’ the main character. Figuring out the reason your company exists, and then telling your prospective customers through social, your blog, advertisements, and videos, is the Holy Grail of brand storytelling.
Think about the bigger picture. Today, many people are making choices based on social issues. They want to do business with a company that cares about causes bigger than the company itself. Therefore, it has become more critical than ever to tell stories about company missions and how they affect society.
There’s no room for fairytales here. Your story should be 100 percent genuine, telling who you are and what you’re about.
“When writing about oneself, one must strive to be truthful. Truth is more important than modesty.” – Boy: Tales of Childhood, Roald Dahl
Of course, there’s an exception to every rule. And sometimes it’s lasagne shaped.
Everyone’s heard of Frankie & Benny’s, the brotherly twosome whose hard work and determination saw them take over the family business in 1953 and achieve worldwide success with their passed-down-through-generations New York/Italian recipes. Except…the chain restaurant was actually set up in 1995. In Leicester.
Still, the Frankie & Benny story worked because (ironically) everything about it screamed authenticity and it was the kind of story we all can relate and aspire to; fame and fortune growing from humble beginnings.
And more than anything, Frankie and Benny were consistent. You know exactly what you were going to get when you stepped inside one and the experience was always the same whether you were in a restaurant in New Orleans or New..castle. This is pretty important when you consider that a recent study found that brand dilution could cost companies $10 million or more each year due to the negative impact on customer experience.
‘Each new day demands new ideas, and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.’ – Roald Dahl
So, whether you’re interacting with people in person or via social media channels, your tone and personality should remain the same. That doesn’t mean there can’t be slight adjustments, just that your story and voice should never sound like two completely different brands across separate channels in order to obtain maximum impact with your target audience.
And as for tying up your ending with a neat bow? Don’t worry too much about that. It’s fine to have a story that’s still evolving. Remember your dad adding a dash more detail to the same bedtime story every night? Aim for that. An inspiring story isn’t the perfect one; it just needs to be simple, direct, and honest…and keep you wanting more.
Struggling to find the words to tell your brand story or need a rewrite for a story that’s maybe lost its way? Get in touch. We can help you rewrite it. As the Big Man (that’s Mr Dahl not the BFG) himself said: ‘The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.’ We’ll help uncover yours.