Your Brand Needs a Story (and You Aren’t the Hero)

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That’s how all of the great fairy tales start, right?

Storytelling seems to be ingrained in human nature. Tales of love, bravery, and heroism pull in their audience and keep them engaged until the happily ever after ending.

Yes, we know that every story doesn’t end in a triumphant battle with the dragon/witch/evil stepmother, but the stories that keep us coming back always resonate with us on a deeply personal level.

Here at Carter & Custer, we love stories and believe that they have helped us connect, inspire, and share knowledge with others since the beginning of time. And when you tell a story just right, you can make an incredible impact.

You may be thinking. Yeah, stories are great, but what does that mean to me as an entrepreneur? 

We’re glad you asked!

The greatest brands tell a story. It could be the story of building something from nothing, changing the world through charitable giving, or how the product they create revolutionized an industry. Whatever their story may be, they always find a way to build connection through their tale.

So, before we get going in this article, ask yourself, “What is my story, and how can I share it with others?”

Four Reasons You Need to Tell Your Brand Stories

You may not become a best-selling author, but your story is powerful.

Think about the last great commercial you watched. Was it funny, did it inspire action, or did you connect with it on a deep level?

Regardless of how it delivered the message, we can probably guarantee one thing about that ad — it told a story. That’s because when a brand uses market storytelling strategies, they’re effective. Here’s why:

1. Effective Storytelling Promotes Clear Communication

Developing a unique story for your brand starts with great structure. It has a clear outline of who you are as a company, who your audience is, and, most of all, the direction that you want to go with your content.

Your entire marketing strategy revolves around your brand story when you make it great, which gives you a clear direction with how you’re trying to reach your audience. The video content you develop, social media posts you create, and blog posts you write can all focus on telling your brand’s story.

For example, instead of creating a marketing campaign that focuses on selling your newest product, you focus on how your customer is making an impact when they choose your brand. It could be that you utilize sustainable production practices, support charitable giving with your brand, or want to make people’s lives easier through the product itself.

Whatever your cause may be, when you can focus your content around it, your consumer will feel a connection to your brand on a level beyond an exchange of goods or services.

2. Stories Connect with People

Influential brands connect with customers beyond offering the best deals or sales for their products. One great example of this is Apple.

Do they run sales? Yes. Are the sales always at a heavy discount? No.

One reason Apple isn’t constantly slashing prices to bring in customers is that they connect with their customers personally. When they release a new product, they’re not shouting about their newest innovations — they’re telling a story of connection.

Take their 2021 ad campaign for privacy, for example. Instead of telling people that they can ask apps not to track across different apps, they showed the customer why it mattered. They weren’t saying, “Look at us! Look how we can protect your privacy.” Instead, they showed how the consumer gains the power to control who they share information with when they use an iPhone.

Apple has and will continue to tell a story with its brand because stories are profitable. In fact, studies show that companies that connect with their customers grow more than those that don’t.

3. Marketing Storytelling Makes You Stand Out

New brands are developed every day, and the odds are that some of them are in your industry. So what can you do to rise above the rest and be profitable?

You guessed it — tell a story with your brand. 

You don’t need to go over the top and say that you’re single-handedly saving the world with your products, but you’ll stand out if you tell a story that resonates with people’s feelings. And that’s because humans primarily decide with their heart, not their brain. 

We try to think logically about buying a product by comparing prices, finding sales, and looking at the technical specifications of things. But in the end, the decision comes down to how we feel about the brand.

Because of how we make decisions, the best story ultimately wins in the end. You could offer a superior product at a lower cost, but your company may fall by the wayside without that connection factor.

4. A Well-Made Brand Story Creates Brand Loyalty

When you tell a great story with your marketing strategy, you’re doing more than just convincing people to buy your product — you’re creating a relationship with your customers.

Marketing storytelling inspires a genuine connection with your brand’s followers that develops strong customer loyalty over time. When you create loyal customers, you build a foundation that fosters growth and increases your chances of making an impact with your brand.

Think about it this way: When you find a brand that you resonate with on a personal level, do you keep it to yourself?

Of course, you don’t! You want to share that brand with other people so that they can experience what you’ve found.

One great example of a brand that’s generated a massive following through the stories they share is The Home Edit. If you’ve never heard of them before, Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin started their home organization brand purely by sharing their stories on social media. The connection they created has grown their brand exponentially. In addition to home organizational services, they now offer storage solutions, have written multiple books, and even have a Netflix series!

All it takes to make an impact is finding a story that builds loyalty — are you ready to tell yours?

How Do You Share Your Brand’s Story?

Deciding how to engage your audience can be challenging, but it’s possible!

A lot of us don’t build businesses to stand in the spotlight — we do it because we want the brand itself to shine. But you shouldn’t let your desire to work behind the scenes prevent you from creating a story that makes an impact.

People want to buy your products, but they want to connect with you. It could mean building a blog on the company’s website that informs readers about everything going on with the brand, starting a weekly podcast to connect with your audience, or maybe just getting a little more involved on social media.

Whatever outlet you choose, remember this — find something that lights you up. You want to add value by sharing your story, and if you’re doing it in a way that feels artificial, you won’t make the impact you’re looking for.

Once you find that outlet that really sparks joy for you, it’s time to start showing up for your followers. Be transparent with how you display yourself and your brand. People love to see the high points, but they become loyal followers when you share the low points.

Your brand story shouldn’t just be a highlight reel of your company. If you’ve overcome business challenges, let your audience know. Giving them a window into challenging or vulnerable moments cultivates feelings of authenticity in your brand.

Humans understand that life is messy, so don’t be afraid to share some of those messy moments in your story.

Plot Twist: Don’t Be the Hero of Your Brand Story

We know this isn’t as big a plot twist as the end of The Sixth Sense, but still — you can’t be the protagonist in your brand’s success story. Your customer needs to take center stage.

Focusing on the brand itself is honestly one of the biggest mistakes companies make when telling their story. Instead of letting the customer shine, they emphasize themselves — look at our product, we are an industry leader, we can revolutionize how you do “XYZ.”

And even when you’re enthusiastic about your message, presenting it in a way that puts the focus on you devalues your customer’s role. So, don’t tell stories about what you’ve done to build your brand, zero in on how customer support enabled your success.

Let’s go back to talking about being transparent about overcoming business challenges. Instead of saying that you overcame hurdles because of your hard work and dedication to your brand, let your audience know their interaction with your brand motivated you to succeed.

Focus on the partnership with your clients or how buying customers enables your ability to make an impact. Always remember that the more your audience feels like they’ve contributed, the more compelling your story will be.

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