In a competitive digital landscape, brand positioning matters more than ever. Sometimes, you only have a second or two to capture the attention of a potential customer. How do you do that successfully? Well, you use basic storytelling tactics.
Every brand has a unique voice and story to tell. In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of a strong brand narrative, including questions to guide the process and how this framework can directly impact your bottom line.
Why does brand messaging matter?
Strong brand messaging captures an audience’s attention, potentially turning a one-time customer into a lifelong brand enthusiast. And research shows brand loyalty dramatically impacts your ROI. Repeat customers often spend more money and are easier to market to, making your job easier.
Giving credit where credit is due
We didn’t come up with this perspective all on our own. This content marketing approach is inspired by StoryBrand, a framework developed by author and public speaker Donald Miller.
What is a brand narrative?
Most brands center around their own story. And it makes sense—you want customers to understand who you are and take an interest in you. But your messaging makes a bigger impact when your clients are in the spotlight.
Narrative branding uses storytelling tactics that showcase your business as the solution to your customer’s particular problem or a resource for a burning question. How do you do that? So glad you asked!
Using storytelling tactics to your advantage
The hero’s journey has always been a storytelling staple. Imagine Star Wars or The Wizard of Oz. Both have a main character (Luke Skywalker/Dorothy Gale) and a helpful guide (Yoda/Glinda).
In this content marketing approach, your customers are the main character, the star of the show. Your brand becomes their guide. You’re a trustworthy advocate, getting your hero to their happy ending where their struggles are no more.
By directly addressing customers’ pain points, a brand narrative presents your services or products through the lens of their unique challenges.
With this approach, you can:
- Put yourself in their shoes
- Elevate each customer’s personal/professional growth
- Emphasize with the user
- Position you as the solution
- Be more relatable
- Keep the focus where it should be – on your target audience.
Constructing your brand narrative
Let’s go through a few storytelling tactics to try out:
Identify the obstacle
Most stories contain an obstacle the main character has to overcome. Your brand narrative is no different. You’ll identify your audience’s key struggles as you usher them toward a solution (your brand offerings).
What exactly is your potential customer facing? Think about what they may be searching to find you. Beyond the literal struggle (a disinfecting product to clean the kitchen sink), think about the emotional and internal struggles (keeping a house clean is time-consuming and expensive, it can be frustrating to buy something that doesn’t work, etc.) If it helps, you can think of their struggles as villains you’re helping to vanquish!
Ask yourself: Am I putting myself in my customer’s shoes?
Make a plan and shout it out
Every guide has a plan to get the main character where they want to be. Content marketing is your chance to lay out your strategy and why it’s the only choice forward.
Many potential customers are likely curious about your brand but hesitant to take the first step. A clear plan helps minimize that fear because they know how it’ll all roll out.
Ask yourself: Am I making this journey look inviting (yellow brick road) or scary (dark, forbidden forest)?
Showcase positive and negative outcomes
You want the audience to come along with you. If they do, they get to defeat the bad guy or go home—whatever it is they want. But what happens if they don’t follow you? Maybe they remain stressed out or unhappy. Maybe everyday life gets even harder.
Ask yourself: What happens to potential customers if they don’t choose your brand?
Use a consistent voice/tone
Like our beloved characters, your brand must have a clear identity. Are they friendly and conversational? Or are they professional and formal? This is informed by what products or services you offer. Think about it—a doctor’s office and a nightclub need different language treatments.
Ask yourself: Does my brand have an established voice and tone? If not, it’s time to create a document to ensure consistency across channels. You want to keep the message clear and compelling.
Keep it simple
Now, you may be excited about everything your brand can do and want to explain every possibility, every solution, and every idea. But keep it simple. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience—otherwise, they’re bouncing off your site.
Ask yourself: Am I making my message clear or trying to accomplish everything at once?
Brand Storytelling Examples
Let’s examine a fictional brand and how we might transform their messaging:
A local roofing company wants to encourage homeowners to take better care of their roofs. They can express empathy by talking about how caring for a home is a lot of work, but a routine inspection can remedy potentially expensive issues before they get out of hand.
Testimonials and experience highlight brand authority. And calling out the dangers of ignoring roof problems, they inform their target audience of how much they’re potentially losing (e.g., time, money, peace of mind) by not making an appointment). They know they’re safe in their home once they make an appointment.
A conversational, slightly humorous tone helps customers immediately connect with the brand. After all, caring for a home doesn’t have to be all drudgery—it can actually be fun.
Let’s look at how this comes across in two different headlines.
Before: We’re the Roofers You Can Trust
After: Roofing Made Easy
How narrative branding helps your marketing efforts
Using this content framework allows you to make human connections. This can pay dividends when it comes to customer engagement and retention, which directly correlates to revenue growth. It also differentiates you from your competitors, especially if they still rely on the stuffy approach of centering themselves in their content marketing.
Finally, narrative branding can be a source of innovation and inspiration. The more time you spend empathizing with your target audience, the more you’ll see more problems you can solve for them.
Tell Your Story
Now that you know what’s possible, uncover your unique brand narrative. Brandography can help you build a brand voice and key messaging with its Narrative Branding Services. Contact our passionate team for an exploratory meeting to discuss how we can resonate with your target audience and kickstart your KPIs!