Telling your brand’s story is an opportunity to connect with your audience intimately. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on how aware your organisation is of your brand’s identity and purpose.
Humanising your brand allows for deeper intimacy with your target audience. As with any relationship, intimacy is dependent on making meaningful and memorable connections. If you can capture the heart of that connection, brand loyalty will follow.
A Capgemini study shows 70% of emotionally engaged consumers spend up to two times or more on brands they are loyal to.
Emotionally connected consumers also have a 306% higher lifetime value (LTV) to brands. They will stay with a brand for an average of 5.1 years (as opposed to 3.4 years if not emotionally connected).
Emotional brand engagement and personalised brand experiences are key to driving brand loyalty post-pandemic. It’s more than corporate messages, offers and recommendations or basic predictive customer experiences.
Touch, pause, engage
Today, there’s a demand for that human touch and one-on-one familiarity. No wonder 83% of customers prefer solving complex problems by speaking to one person only.
Consumers now expect companies to go deeper and to understand and connect with them as individuals. They want to be recognised as special and having unique lifestyles – not approached as customer types or segments.
And as brands try to connect more intimately with consumers, consumers want to know more about a brand’s character and backstory. They hope to find an appeal in the brand to their perception of self.
Marketers are more aware than ever that storytelling anchors emotional connections. This is regardless of whether your brand is a service, a product, or a host of products with different identities.
Story stirs memory
Telling your brand story creates a memorable moment for your audience. It’s a moment in which you project your brand as personal and human, not cold and disconnected.
In a 1969 Stanford study students were tested on their ability to memorise lists of words. Half had to create a narrative around the words, while the other half simply had to memorise them.
For those who memorised the words in list form, the average recall was 13%. Those who memorised in story form had an average recall of 93%.
Storytelling is also a chance to show your brand’s confidence in its identity, mission, value and virtues, and its broader market.
Above all, telling your brand’s story is your first step towards showing how well you resonate with its community (your target audience). This is foundational to fostering deeper brand intimacy, and, correspondingly, brand equity.
And to note: Brand resonance and brand intimacy are not the same (as some claim). Rather, they’re interdependent. Greater resonance stirs more intense intimacy. This compels audiences to welcome a brand into their lives.
The only constant in telling a brand’s story is that every business should do so. And while there is no one-size fits all approach to the telling, there are markers for brand story mastery.
Authenticity is key
Telling a brand’s story is not as simple or straightforward as it seems.
You might know your history well, and you might have an ironclad idea of how you want to script your next chapter. But are you of how your brand is perceived by others?
Telling your story presents an opportunity for such introspection.
Six key questions to building an effective brand voice
- What does my brand truly stand for?
- How effectively does this set me apart from the competition?
- What is my distinct brand voice?
- How am I developing this voice?
- What are the tenets of my brand that will stand the test of time?
- Will the telling of my brand story stand the test of time?
Such questions merely skim the surface. Maybe now is a good time to also do an internal and external brand value and perception appraisal.
Without having a strong grasp of your brand’s identity and influence, its story will lack authority and authenticity.
Knowing with whom you’re sharing your story further impacts on how you’re going to tell it.
Four questions to help you know your brand audience better
- How well do you really know your target audience?
- What are the values they look for in a brand?
- How do they perceive your brand?
- How is your brand’s voice interpreted by them?
What deeper impact do you expect from this voice? Think about the people or businesses your brand wants to help. How does your brand help your audience “survive and thrive”?
There is power in the way your brand’s story is told. But if the telling doesn’t strive for resonance and intimate connection, it is fruitless.
Today there’s also greater appreciation for content that is meaningful and authentic. Communicating honestly and transparently is more important now than before the pandemic, a Salesforce survey shows.
People want to trust brands (not just their offerings)
Trust can only be achieved if brand communication is humanised, so your audience doesn’t feel lost in an unrelatable narrative. This will also help expand your market reach – by attracting consumers outside of your target audience.
And remember, your brand story is not an Instagram highlights reel. Tell people about the obstacles you encounter and how your brand navigated those tricky times.
In other words:
- personalise your story,
- make it real,
- drive resonance,
- forge deeper emotionalities
Give your audience a voice
Even better, make your audience part of your story.
If you’ve received glowing testimonials on the impact your brand has made, share them. But don’t go overboard.
Keep things humble and authentic. Let everything you say and the authority with which you say it inspire brand trust.
Let others do the telling
Your brand’s story should leave your audience feeling good. Research shows that word-of-mouth and user generated content (UGC) are immensely powerful resources. So, share your story in such a way that it will be remembered and that others will want to share it in turn.
If you do this, then you’ve taken the biggest leap in humanising your brand and creating trust, intimacy and loyalty among your customers.