SHOUT! quietly… Why brand storytelling helps you connect with your target audience

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By: Lisa Dutton, Shout! Communications

“Great name! Did it take you forever to come up with it?” I was recently asked this question when I handed a potential client my business card. Truthfully, I came up with Shout! Communications Inc. pretty quickly. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, but the name reflects how difficult it is for brands to get noticed these days because the marketplace is so darn noisy. But, you don’t need to drop a bundle on advertising to cultivate a loyal customer base. There is a much cheaper and more effective solution. It’s brand storytelling. Let me explain.

Today, according to Red Crow Marketing Inc. we are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads/brand messages per day. Because our brain can’t possibly process all of this information, we simply tune out.  In reality, few messages actually get noticed.

We are exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads/brand messages a day!

While coming up with the name for my public relations firm, I kept thinking of the small business or non-profit who with a limited budget is trying to cut through the clutter to connect with their target audience. Do you literally have to shout from a soapbox? Well no, but to get your message heard, to make your brand visible, you do have to become a great storyteller.

I know some of you are sputtering. “A storyteller, I’m not a storyteller I’m an accountant, fundraiser, artist, chef, store owner.” You are great at what you do, but unless you’re reading Harry Potter to your kids, a storyteller you ain’t. I hear you, but help is here.

First, let me explain why brand storytelling is so important.

In her blog post, Why We Need Brand Stories, Bernadette Jiwa writes, “Today businesses that use story to the best advantage understand the primary reason to invest in brand storytelling is to build trust with the customers they are committed to serving and keeping. Trust is the most undervalued and precious resource of our time. This makes storytelling one of the most important investments we can make.”

By telling your brand’s story, you connect with customers in a meaningful way…

Think about it, trust is fundamental to your brand’s reputation. By telling your brand’s story, you connect with customers in a meaningful way and as they get to know you and you get to know them, a bond of trust is formed. This turns them into loyal customers who are willing to promote your brand/product/service/organization to friends and family which drives sales/donations/support/awareness. 

Okay, so you want to start telling your brand’s story.  But where to begin?

In her blog, Bernadette outlines The Five-Step Brand Story Framework.  She writes, “Most people say the hardest part of telling their brand story is knowing where to begin. That’s because we begin in the wrong place, with the wrong question – at the how to.” Bernadette says instead of worrying about what to say, we need to ask: who this story is for and why will this story resonate with my target audience?

So, before you put pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard check out Bernadette’s chart below and start telling your brand story to connect with your audience, turn them into loyal customers and your brand’s best ambassadors.

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7 thoughts on “SHOUT! quietly… Why brand storytelling helps you connect with your target audience

  1. Mina

    Hi Lisa! really love your writing style… so neat and smooth. You make it really easy to read through your lines and follow the story.

    I have been thinking about Bernadette’s article and now yours, and I totally agree with the value of story telling and building trust and connections with customers.

    Let’s imagine that there are two very similar (in most ways – design, functionality, etc.) products and one has a storyteller behind it and the other doesn’t. Of course the storyteller is the winner. Now let’s imagine that we have two products i.e. a smartphone. One has a much better performance, is easy to use and has great design; and the other doesn’t perform as well and looks ok, but tells superb stories. As a customer, which one will you be choosing and be loyal to? for me, the high performer is the winner.

    I gave that long example to help me make a point. Some marketers , neglect the real value that the core offering must have so that customers voluntarily be drawn to. Marketing techniques including storytelling help greatly but unless the product itself isn’t excellent (in every way) the marketing success wouldn’t be sustainable. If Apple didn’t give us great products, none of us would have been hooked for so long, even though it is one of the best story telling brands.

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    1. Hi Mina,

      First sorry to take so long to get back to you. I totally agree with you. A communications specialist can weave a great story but unless the company has the product to back it up then clients will soon realize the story is fiction. I’ll give you an example, many of our hospitals say they are all patient focused. This means the patient’s views, needs, concerns are suppose to be the cornerstone of everything the hospital does. Ask any health professional and they will vow they are patient-centered. However, when you call the hospital, you call goes to voice mail and often people don’t call back; when you try to make an appointment they tell you they can’t see you for several months. So, no matter how much people say they are patient centered, the patient will realize that it is all talk.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Like

  2. Hi Lisa,
    Great storytelling, I have also liked the Bernadette Jiwa blog, because as you mentioned she is talented to tell story, and she is very much customer behaviour oriented, trying to appeal to feelings and decoding customers rather than giving just tips to how to sell/market a product. Great exercise and great mentors for ideas and best practises.

    By Claire Couzinie

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    1. Hi Claire,

      Sorry to take so long to get back to you. I like Jiwa because her posts are short, but each has a nugget of information and learning. It is often more difficult to write short blogs with a message than long ones!

      Like

  3. Dear Lisa,

    I love the way this way written. You’re completely right – people can tell their stories in different ways even though thy may not typically consider themselves a storyteller.

    Brand reputation lies in trust. The Who, Why, What, How, and Where help establish that.

    Great job with adding your signature at the end 🙂

    I enjoyed the read. Thanks!

    By Lara Joubert

    Like

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