The art of telling your brand story
We are now experiencing a shift in how content is approached in the world of B2B marketing. Brands are finally waking up to the fact B2B customers buy on emotion and justify with facts. If you’re failing to deliver emotion, you’re failing to understand the messages that
truly resonate with your audience.
Storytelling is the catalyst to giving your audience a way to connect with you to see your business as a living, breathing entity run by real people, offering real value. To gain cut-through, brand storytelling requires creativity, fundamental writing skills and a deep understanding of customers’ needs – it’s also critical brands drop all self-promotion and direct selling to be taken seriously. A powerful brand story will not only establish strong emotional relationships with customers, it will also make a good connection internally.
With that in mind, here are the core things you need to focus on when pulling together your brand story:
How do you get your story into the minds of customers and prospects? You give them a sense of context to attach importance to the narrative. Start building your context by looking at things like time, environment, culture, characters, identity and motivation. As in a novel, you should describe the surroundings of the story so the reader can visualise the narrative you are trying to create. Ask yourself the following questions in order to build a solid context:
• Who are we, and what defines us?
• Where have we come from and where are we going?
• What are the implications of our context?
• What do we believe in?
• Who’s part of our vision?
Once you’ve answered these you’ll be able to demonstrate your brand’s place in the world.
Conflict and struggle are part of life, and too often B2B brands downplay conflict in their story out of fear of looking inferior. But those avoiding conflict in their story risk stripping it of interest and authenticity – it’s these struggles customers can relate to, which in turn strengthens the connection between audience and brand.
Heroes and villains also play a critical part in conflict – make the hero of your story your brand, your customer or an emotion. The villain should come in the shape of the barriers your customers are facing. Remember customers need to see themselves in your story for it to resonate with them, you can explore this by asking:
• What stories are our customers telling about us?
• How do we listen, gather, and learn from their stories?
• Why have they formed this impression?
• What do we want to do about it?
• How do we change the stories people tell about us?
Once you’ve answered these in your story, you’ll be able to pique interest in your brand.
Figuring out the solution to problems is critical to wrapping up your story on a strong note – avoid an ambiguous ending, as this will undermine your entire brand narrative. You need to take the problems your customers are experiencing and think about how your brand, product or service can help resolve them. Ask yourself:
• What do we offer that no one else does?
• How are we different from our competitors?
• What distinguishes the experience of working with us?
• What makes us indispensable?
Over time, the context and conflict parts of your narrative will naturally evolve, and so should your resolution.