Consistent telling of your brand story throughout the organization must be a marketing priority.
What is your brand’s story? Your brand’s story is your customer’s story of how your brand added value to their lives. This is true in both the B2B and B2C sectors, government, non-profit, and grassroots organizations.
Customers are less interested in your origin story than they are in how your brand delivers on its promised benefits. How does brand guide them to success? If you can’t clearly answer that question, it’s likely you don’t have a fully developed brand story. That’s a good time for a call to a full-service marketing firm like ACS Creative to help you uncover and begin telling your story.
How do brand stories work? In a word: science. Neuroscience, specifically.
Stories elicit an emotional response from us. Our brains respond to a well-told story by releasing cortisol (something that makes us feel stressed and look for relief) or oxytocin (something makes us feel happy or relieved).
Joe Lazauskas co-author of “The Storytelling Edge” explains that when we hear a good story, the neural activity in our brain increases by as much as five times. This lighting up of our neurons wires them together, which allows us to remember more of the information being sent to us via a story. If you want your brand to be memorable to your customers, you consistently deliver on your brand story.
Stories induce a potent cocktail of brain chemicals and enhanced neural activity. This combination makes us care and makes us remember. Those are the two most important actions we want our customers to take in relation to our brand.
Where do I start? Start with your customer research. What do you know about them? What does your latest research indicate? Stories built on gut feelings or “…in my years of experience…” are never going to yield results.
Today’s data culture demands not only that we collect data, but that we responsibly use it. Collecting it, but not using it to truly maintain an understanding of our audience, is not only irresponsible, but costly. A 2019 FocusVision+InnverView survey revealed that while 90% of respondents used customer research in the initial development of their brand story, only half of them used research regularly to inform their ongoing brand initiatives. This is the same survey that approximates message dilution equating to $6-$10MM in lost revenue annually.
- What are they key elements of my brand story?
What is your value proposition? In terms of your brand story, your value proposition is the map you’re giving to the customer to help them navigate whatever conflict it is they’re facing. Conflict is at the heart of every story, and your brand’s role is to guide the hero (your customer) to success via your unique value proposition.
- Support your value proposition throughout the organization. Create messages rooted in your brand story for all your different audience touch points: customer service; investor relations, employee relations, community relations, etc.
It’s the fact these messages all support the same value proposition (brand story) that demands they be told consistently – not the same – but consistently. They should reflect the same goals, mission, and vision. Regardless of where someone comes into contact with your messages, they should recognize your organization and understand its value.
- Create a strategy for tone and voice. Your research will guide you to create those specific pieces that make your voice unique and your tone flexible, yet consistent.
Successful businesses include a specific brand storytelling section as part of their overall branding strategy guidelines. Your brand is your reputation, not your logo. When choosing a digital marketing team, work with experienced branding professionals who understand that words and images must be consistent throughout the organization.
One simple call to ACS Creative and our branding team will help you get started on your brand storytelling adventure.