How to Harness the Power of Storytelling in Your Marketing

Who doesn’t love a good story? 

Since the times of the earliest humans, storytelling has brought us together, helped to inform and entertain, and given us a rich shared history of myths, legends, and history. Whether it’s the oral storytelling traditions of countless cultures worldwide, cave drawings dating all the way back to 32000 BCE, or the shows we binge-watch on streaming sites, stories are a crucial part of what makes us human. With this in mind, here are KIAI’s tips to harness our natural love for a good story, and apply it to the fundamentals of marketing your business.

The basics of storytelling

While the question of how to tell a good story is by no means simple, for the purposes of strengthening your marketing approach, we can boil down the art form into a few fundamentals. There’s no doubt that capturing your brand through stories takes some artistry and finesse, there’s no need to go full Shakespeare here. Here are a few core elements of a great story that are sure to come in handy when strengthening your brand.

1. The structure of narrative

As you may remember from English class, every good story has a beginning, middle, and end. While this is great for memoirs and fictional epics, rarely does the story of your company fit so neatly into this timeline. A major reason for this is that stories tend to follow people and their journeys, and these are typically less focused on their companies and organizations themselves. 

What this means is that in order to give some structure to the tale of your brand, you should focus on the people behind it. If you keep an eye out for it, you’ll notice this technique popping up everywhere. Notice how the blurb on the back of your maple syrup focuses on farmers tapping their trees on a snowy Ontario morning, practicing a tradition honed over generations. Likewise, think of a success story of climbing the ladder in a company against all odds through sheer willpower. These are distinctly human stories, and no matter what kind of company or brand you’ve been cultivating, people are always going to have a stronger connection to other people.

When looking at how to structure the story of your brand, start small. People love to hear about how Apple computers began as two tech enthusiasts working out of their garage. Even now, as the company reaches new heights of success and influence year after year, those humble human origins help us to keep the people behind the brand in mind. 

2. Tapping into the emotional side

Intertwined with the narrative structure of your company’s story is the emotional effect it’s had on you, and by extension, on your clients and prospects. Another key element of a great story is conflict, and the tension it brings to an otherwise harmonious situation. So don’t be afraid to share your past struggles with your audience, and explain how you overcame them. 

This push and pull of people versus an obstacle is yet another example of how your brand’s story can mirror the story of your reader. After all, we’re all dealing with personal obstacles, working through them one at a time. According to Aristotle, who spent part of his epic intellectual career musing on how to craft the perfect narrative, identified the emotional element as a key part of how well a story impacts a reader. 

Without getting too deep into philosophy, what does this mean for telling the story of your brand? Identifying the key emotional points of your company story, and centering the narrative around them will yield the best results in terms of making a lasting impact, and helping people understand what sets you apart from the competition. In essence, find what makes your brand human, and make it the focal point of your company narrative.

3. Captivating your audience through theme

This final step to telling the most authentic brand story possible can be a bit tricky, but stay with us here. Depending on who you ask, a theme can be the intellectual lifeblood of a narrative, or an overly vague thing made up by English teachers to make up extra work for students. However, the theme doesn’t have to be quite so intimidating, and can go a long way into tying your brand’s story into your brand as a whole. 

When coming up with your brand’s identity, typically you’ll compile a list of your values as an organization. This varies wildly across industries and companies, but a brand value could be as simple as ‘Always delivering the best work possible,’ or ‘operating with integrity.’ These values are essentially the pillars of your brand, and are a big part of what makes it unique. When telling the story of your brand, you should always have these values at the front of mind. When did you realize that, say, ‘treating each client as a personal friend’ was a crucial part of what made your business special? 

Put simply, when you think of a theme, think of your values. Embed each one into the beginning, middle, and end of your brand’s story, and help your audience understand and connect with the journey that you and your business have taken to get where you are today.

Telling the story of your brand

This might all sound a bit intangible for something as seemingly clear-cut as brand identity. But there’s a lot that we can learn from the rich tradition of storytelling that spans countless generations. While mediums will always shift and morph with culture, one thing remains the same, and that’s our love for a great narrative. 

Applying these fundamentals to your brand can take time, and it’s a good idea to use each element of your current platform to contribute to the end product. From social media to the content on your website to your regular blog updates, each piece of media you create as a brand contributes to the story of your company. 

And what’s the end result of this attention to narrative? It’s simple: a stronger personal engagement between you and your clients. By showing the authentic human side of your company, people will understand and engage with you in ways you’re unlikely to see with more straightforward sales-oriented marketing. 

You’ve probably got enough on your plate without adding ‘branded narrative author’ to your resume, and that’s where we come in! At KIAI, we understand the power that strong narrative can have on driving attention and engagement to your brand. When you work with our team of expert marketers, designers, and writers, you’re tapping into collective years of experience in atypical marketing that’s sure to make a splash.

If you’re ready to turn over a new page in your company story, and get to work on your own personal ‘happy ever after,’ look no further than KIAI Agency. Drop us a line today, and let us get to work on discovering what makes your brand, and you, special.