5 Reasons Why You Should Have A Story For Your Brand
Today we live in a noisy world.
With the advances in technology, it is easier to reach customers in theory but grabbing customer attention is hard, keeping it is even harder.
Brands spend a huge amount of money in marketing with the aim to cut through this sea of noises in the hope that the brand message or product offer reach potential customers.
But customers can simply scroll through your advert, exit your website or delete your emails if what your brand message does not resonate with them.
There is an abundant number of choices in the market so brands try to differentiate their product by listing all the facts and figures, features and benefits so customers can ‘figure out’ they are better.
One of the best analogy I have seen is from the Fortune Cookie principle, famously mentioned by Bernadette Jiwa:
“Marketers spend most of their time selling the cookie, when what they really should be doing is finding a way to create a better fortune.”
Selling a product without meaning then you are merely selling a commodity.
Selling a product with meaning then you are selling a brand.
And to attach meaning to a product is through stories.
That explains it all really.
Human as a species have always been drawn to stories, in fact everyone of us were grown up with stories.
When a story present, our attention span is substantially longer.
Think about all the bedtime stories, fairly tales and cartoons, weren’t these the times we pay 100% attention to those reading it? (Because we are dying to know what happens next!)
Then think about all the movies, video games and drama series. This is interesting because a lot of gamers choose to buy a game base on its story, we also do the same for movies and for drama series. (We watch the trailers.)
If you relate movies to a business, then trailer is the advert and buying ticket is the purchase right? What’s more? Movie editing filters out all the clutters so the movie doesn't look boring!
When we submerge ourselves into a story, it is like a journey. We begin to relate ourselves with the characters in the story. Emotionally, we begin to empathise and identify the struggle that the character faces in the movie - that is when we put ourselves into the shoes of the character and think “what would I do?”.
Biologically speaking, stories cause our brain to release oxytocin, this is a chemical related to feelings of empathy and a desire to cooperate. (Why Inspiring Stories Make Us React: The Neuroscience of Narrative - Paul J. Zak PhD).
So if we apply storytelling in business, it will be a powerful tool for us to communicate our brand, our product and our values. It will also help us navigate through this sea of information and help us stand out as a brand.
When you create a story for your brand, you create something people can relate to.
Every now and then, a new and exciting product comes onto the market. One example I recently got myself into is a door-to-door daycare service for your pets, so that the pets do not have to spend the day alone in the house.
These companies create truly great products and in the first 12 months a lot of them enjoyed explosive growth with the early adopters flocking in to get their hands onto the product.
Unfortunately 12 months on, after all the early adopters have tried they struggle to maintain the level of growth and establish a solid position in the market because customers bought but they did not “buy into” the brand.
Competitors also entered the market, created similar products with a lower price.
As a result these companies are quickly forgotten, eventually some of them did not manage to survive beyond 24 months.
The problem with these companies is that they failed to communicate a story brand that resonate with its customers, so they were forgotten quickly.
How powerful will your brand message be with a story then?
1. Attach meaning to a commodity
Stories attach meaning and value to a commodity. Richelle Parham, Chief Marketing Officer at Ebay once said that:
“Stories create value. If you take an object and build a story around it, the value increases exponentially. People shop with their heads and their hearts, and they will pay for an object based on how much it means to them.”
2. It creates trusts and loyalty
When people can relate themselves to a product and a brand, this creates trusts and loyalty because they feel that the brand understands them.
Trust and loyalty cannot be replaced easily, products however can.
3. A good story shows empathy
A great story can help companies relate their product with the customers’ problem and their struggle. It is a great way to demonstrate empathy because it shows that “we are just the same”.
When a brand can clearly shows why their products matter to customers, it can differentiate itself from its competitions.
4. Your brand becomes a community
A good brand story is clear in its belief and value. In fact, consumers today don’t just want to understand the story. Increasingly, they want to be part of it.
When your brand invites customers into a community, customers feel that their action is bigger than themselves and become proud of being a part of a community.
Great brands do this: “Just Do It” from Nike and “Think Different” from Apples.
Firstly its all about their customers, secondly its about having a common value.
5. Stories connect the dots
A good story lines up everything you need to say to your customers in a clutter-free and compelling way. There is no longer the need to bombard customers with facts and figures, features and benefits that they don’t care. Invite them into a story that customers care about and can relate it to their lives!
Everyone has a story to tell, including brands.
What is your brand story?