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Storytelling and the Humanization of Brands

Storytelling and the Humanization of Brands

storytelling and the humanization of brands

People connect with people. With emotions. Experiences. Values. Beliefs. With stories.

The era of buy-my-product-because-it-is-the-best is over, leaving room for brands to connect with their customers or potential customers on a deeper level.

Instead of throwing information at audiences, companies should now strive to truly hear what people are saying in their own contexts. Understanding them, establishing conversations, building communities, and telling stories that resonate within these communities.

Storytelling goes much beyond product or service characteristics and aims for much more than product purchase. Brands get humanized, and content becomes key.

With the amount of content and platforms screaming for attention, people are no longer available to sit and hear a flat pitch on how great a certain company, product or service supposedly is. As audiences have the power to choose the content they consume, they naturally move towards ideas, products, services, or brands that honestly cherish, confirm, and reinforce their own identity.

Customers seek understanding, belonging and some sort of validation and they will connect with companies that can fulfill these needs, companies that speak the same language, act on the same values, and defend similar causes.


So, what is storytelling and how does it work?

Neil Patel describes storytelling as “the art of communicating your idea, message, or event, by creatively weaving words, images, and sounds into a narrative. Visual stories, written stories, and verbal stories – this is the content we love.”

Storytelling is all about giving a context, a meaning, an angle to a product/service or a company, it is more persuasive and less invasive, working as an invitation for people to get to know the hows and whys and offering them an open door to the company’s character.

Stories might be real or fictitious, but their message must always be genuine. Stories can be accompanied by data or merely imaginary, but they must be coherent throughout the whole costumer experience. Real stories are powerful, sharing experiences, case studies, research, and significant results from your own journey, have a unique potential of telling who you are without you having to say it.

As Psychologist Jennifer Aaker said, “When data and stories are used together, they resonate with audiences both intellectually and emotionally. For a lasting effect, you need to persuade the rational brain but also resonate with the emotional brain.” In fact, as data provides substance and factuality to the discourse, it is through stories that we connect with people on a deeper level and create long-term relationships.

Through stories, companies have the opportunity of building trust among their audiences and help prospect clients understand their product or service. Stories help making sense of things and make content more relatable

Our brains respond to stories more than anything else. Research shows that stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone. It is all about the experience, the relation between cause and effect creates meaning and makes an emotional connection possible.

As people have stories so do companies. The transparency of sharing our battles, our accomplishments, our failures, our learnings is what makes us real; and this premise can be extended to companies: when customers hear about the journey, the motivations, dreams and struggles they feel welcomed, they feel part of, there is a sense of empathy and proximity towards the company.


How to successfully use storytelling in Marketing Strategies?

After the potential of storytelling being established, how exactly can it be used in content marketing strategies?

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First and foremost, when using storytelling in a marketing strategy there should be a clear understanding about who is the target audience. This definition should comprise the demographic aspects of your audience as well as psychological and behavioral traits. Who are you speaking to? What are you audience’s interests? Where can you find them? What are they doing? What do they prioritize in life? What challenges do they face?

Secondly, you must clearly have a goal. A precise, straightforward, and measurable target upon which you can determine your success and that makes it clear for you what exactly is your intention – what do you want to achieve by telling that story.

Thirdly, you should make your story relatable, building it all the way from your before, during and after, sharing the process and culminating on the learning outcome or achievement.

Lastly, the story should have an ending, and this does not need to be a close end, it just means that the story should clearly answer to the established goal, making sure you add value to your audience, taking your audience into a meaningful journey with an outcome that resonates with them.


Conclusion:

Stories create emotions. Using storytelling in your content marketing strategy builds stronger connections with audiences creating a sense of understanding, trust and community that goes much beyond product or service purchase.

If used correctly storytelling is a strong ally in boosting organic traffic, conversions and creating long-term relationships with your audiences and clients through an honest exchange of experiences and learnings.

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