Storytelling is deeply rooted in every civilisation. Ancestors have always told stories to younger generations to preserve the history of their people. Likewise, people remember stories told to them when they were young. When told correctly, stories live on in the hearts and minds of the people who heard or read them. People's ability to remember stories has led to the trend of using storytelling to increase brand awareness.
The need to put a story behind the brand
Have you ever rooted for someone to win a talent show on TV, such as Britain's Got Talent? If so, why did you choose that particular person from the hundreds of applicants who auditioned? The answer to that is because you were captivated by that person's backstory. In most talent shows, you are shown a story about a person's background before they begin their performance. The judges on the show will also ask the person questions about their background. This format of telling a contestant's background story is a very important part of the overall appeal of the show.
There is a need to put a story behind a brand. Many companies are now integrating storytelling into their branding strategies to increase brand awareness. However, many companies still do not know how to develop a unique story for their brand. Here are some of the important factors to know when developing a brand story.
What is a brand story?
To develop the story for your company or brand, you should first understand what a brand story is. It is not your logo or your company colours. A Brand Story is not your company's tagline. A Brand Story is not a sales pitch, and it is not the story you publish on your "About Us" page on your website.
A brand story is the essence of your brand that sets it apart from others. It is the complete picture of what your company and brand are all about. A Brand Story combines your logo, colours and tagline, which together convey a central message. When all these elements are cohesive, this message becomes your brand story.
Your brand story must convey to your audience the motivation why you started your business and why you get up in the morning. It also needs to entice your audience to empathise with you and trust you.
Your brand story should connect with your audience. Studies have shown that descriptive stories create connections with the audience. This is known as neural coupling, which is an effective way to communicate information and build relationships. Companies use storytelling techniques to send their messages to potential customers and get them to buy their products and services.
Neural coupling can be an influencing tool.
Research also shows that a compelling story triggers the brains of the audience to produce stress and feel-good hormones, namely cortisol and oxytocin. These hormones enable the audience to focus on your story and feel good when your story has a good conclusion. A compelling story will make your audience empathise with you.
The importance of brand storytelling
It would be helpful if you integrated storytelling into your business strategies. Companies use the neural coupling effect of storytelling to captivate their customers and persuade them to buy products and services. On the other hand, customers today are tired of boring advertisements they see on TV and other media with bold sales pitches. A new generation of customers is looking for a human connection to brands and companies. Creating this human connection is where strong brand storytelling comes in handy.
Brand storytelling is the process of creating a meaningful connection with your target market using a story that tells your core values and what your brand stands for. A great brand story has a direct impact on consumer behaviour. A Headstream study shows that fifty-five (55) per cent of consumers are more likely to buy a product in the future if they like the brand story, forty-four (44) per cent are most likely to share the link to the brand story and fifteen (15) per cent will buy the product on the spot. Similarly, ninety-two (92) per cent of consumers want brands to create ads that tell a story.
Storytelling your brand also creates authentic and memorable communication with your target customers. If you have a very good story to tell about your brand, you can end up creating loyal customers who can become your brand advocates. Here are some of the reasons why brand storytelling is important.
Emotions are more memorable than words. Have you ever been to a wedding or event that made you feel good? Even after the event, you may still remember the emotions you felt while attending without remembering all the conversations during that time. This principle also applies to branding. If you tell a brand story that triggers good feelings in your target audience, they will develop a deeper relationship with your brand. When a customer feels good about your brand storytelling, they will begin to trust your company more, which in turn will lead to higher sales on your part.
Empowerment through empathy. When creating a brand story, don't just focus on your side of the story. In contrast, it's nice for your customers to know how your company came to be and what your core values are; you need to put yourself in your customers' shoes. You need to learn to empathise with your customers if you want them to empathise with your brand. Create a story that shows how sensitive your brand is to global events and values a good customer experience. Consumers will want to buy products that make them feel good. And if you create a brand story that shows you care about the environment, consumers will feel good about buying your products because they are part of your environmental concern.
Stories make your brand "human". Brand storytelling allows consumers to see your company not as an entity, but as more "human" because your story creates a relationship with your consumers. It is important to have a story that is authentic and sincere.
Stories appeal to the mind of the consumer. If your brand has a great story to tell, you will trigger reasons for consumers to buy your product.
How to integrate storytelling into your web design
Now that you understand the importance of brand storytelling, it is time to put this principle into practice. One of the most important tools you can use to reach a larger audience in this day and age is your website. If your website ranks high in Google search results, it is visible to many people searching for keywords related to your brand. However, being visible to people does not necessarily mean that you will engage with them. Your website needs to be able to tell your brand's story effectively. While you can write a good story in the "About Us" section about how your company came to be and what your core values are, you can do better by integrating the principle of storytelling into the design of your website.
Your web design must be so captivating that people concentrate on your website as if they were looking at their surroundings. Imagine picking up a compelling novel and being so engrossed in the story that you don't even notice what's happening around you. Your website design should be like that too, so that your website visitors focus on listening to your brand story. Here are the different ways to integrate your brand storytelling into your website.
The use of images.
Pictures are an important part of any story. Even if the book you are reading has no pictures, the author will create an image in your mind by using descriptive words. Fortunately, you can easily incorporate images into your website to help your customers visualise your story. Consumers will prefer images over text because people tend to process visual images more easily. Carefully chosen images will tell a lot about your product. Dove's Real Beauty campaign, which features an image of a group of diverse women, effectively tells the story that true beauty does not depend on body shape, size, age, race or skin colour.
The use of illustrations.
Illustrations are also an effective way to convey a story. Illustrations can be realistic or abstract and can be combined to convey different aspects of the story. Different steps in the use of your brand can be represented through illustrations. Ikea, for example, uses illustrations to show how products are assembled.
The use of background images.
Another way to incorporate storytelling into your web design is to use large background images. You can integrate large visuals into any role. You can create a background image with a predominant colour to evoke an emotion. There is research that links colour to triggering certain emotions. Your background can be blurred in some areas while focusing on another. Whatever role you assign to your background image, these visuals are necessary to wrap your entire website into your brand storytelling. OkCupid has a website with a predominantly pink background. This colour is a calming colour associated with kindness, femininity and love. People who visit OKCupid's website will have their emotions triggered for love and caring because of the pink background. This colour choice effectively creates emotions that match the brand's story of finding perfect couples.
Effective use of words.
The first stories ever told were told with words, so it is still important to integrate your story with words into your website. However, people who visit websites do not want to read a very long story. Website visitors will often leave a website if they see that they will be reading a lot. You need to carefully incorporate your use of words. Every word you use in your web design must contribute to the story you are trying to tell.
Personality on your website.
Personality becomes an important aspect of web design. The personality of your website should match the personality of your brand. If you market your brand to people with certain personalities, the design of your website should also have the corresponding personality. If you want to have a casual and informal relationship with your customers, choose backgrounds, words and images that create a casual and relaxed atmosphere.
Parallax scrolling and interactivity in web design.
Parallax scrolling is a technique where multiple layers of a design react differently when your website visitors scroll through your website. It creates the feeling that you are immersed in the website and that your scrolling actions determine the impact. Parallax scrolling is an effective tool to engage your visitors and draw them into your story.
Parallax scrolling is a technique to create an interactive website. There are other ways to make your website interactive for your visitors, such as filling in names and creating a character or avatar for them as they scroll through your website.
The use of videos.
Incorporating videos into your web design is also an effective technique to tell your brand's story. Include videos of yourself explaining what your business is about or post testimonial videos about your products. The Aviation Gin website, owned by Hollywood A-lister Ryan Reynolds, featured a fun video on how their gin is made. While the video is purely fictional, the product is real and the video has increased its sales.
Storytelling is part of the human story, and a great story has the power to reach people emotionally. Businesses need to incorporate storytelling into their website design to reach and attract more customers.