We’ve been telling stories for thousands of years – in prehistoric times we were already leaving them engraved on cave walls. However, we don’t need to go that far back to understand the powerful effect that a story has on us. When we were young, how often did we ask our parents to tell us a story – our favorite one – the one we already knew by heart?
And when brands choose to tell an incredible story to their customers, what happens?
What is Storytelling?
Storytelling isn’t just a technique, it’s an art – the art of telling good stories. We know that it’s Storytelling when the message is conveyed in such an incredible and memorable way that the listener keeps it top of mind.
Storytelling makes the listener connect with the story values in such a way that, in addition to remembering the story, they want to be a part of it.
And Brand Storytelling?
Brand Storytelling is taking the art of telling good stories and applying it to the universe of brands. Why? Because each brand doesn’t just have one story to tell, but many. The brand’s origin, its achievements, the path it has chosen, the values it defends... all this can result in fantastic stories that will surprise and delight consumers, while simultaneously earning their trust.
Why must brands tell a story?
One-on-one communication is the heart and soul of a brand and that’s why it’s so important that companies learn to tell stories. When a brand tells a good story it isn’t just communicating, it’s also engaging consumers in its essence, making them the main character, encouraging them to share the brand’s values. This results in a powerful connection between the two that turns into loyalty and trust – and these are two emotions that can’t be bought, but are essential for maintaining and growing a brand in the long run.
And we can’t forget: telling good stories has been a powerful technique for building strong relationships since forever.
How should a brand tell its story?
Brand Storytelling isn’t about brands. It's about people and the value they get when they engage with a product or service. The brands with the most powerful stories are those that the consumer defends, those they take pride in buying from and who recommends them to friends.
There are no magic formulas, however, in order to tell a good story, there are several factors that a brand can never forget:
- Who are you talking to? It’s important to understand how the customer sees the world.
- Simplify the story to keep it memorable.
- Always keep your promises.
- Ensure that the customer is the hero.
- Consistency - no action should be isolated.
- Ensure that employees believe in and embrace the brand´s story. This is the "commitment" that should motivate them in their work.
- Humanize - what really matters are the people.
- Find your own territory and tell a story that no one has ever told.
- Encourage customers to share your story.
3 brands who know how to tell their story:
TOMS’ business model is based on a very simple premise: for every pair of shoes sold, the brand gives another pair to a poor child. And it was with this altruistic story that the brand conquered the world and helped millions of children in different continents.
TOMS is an excellent case study when it comes to Brand Storytelling. They use their digital platforms to tell their story and to show how their One to One model has a real impact on the lives of the people they help. This way, they make their customers feel part of this achievement. After all, they aren’t just buying shoes - they’re taking action to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and contributing to a better world.
The brand was created in 2006 and in addition to selling online, they already have over 500 stores worldwide. With this growth they have increased their product range, which is no longer limited to shoes. In 2014 they opened a network of cafeterias in the United States, applying the One to One model once again: for each bag of coffee purchased, they give a week of water to someone in need. Without a doubt, a brand with a great story and that knows how to tell it!
Josefinas is a female footwear brand that enchants with the story it tells the world. This brand was born from the dream of a woman that, with the help of other women, came true. Josefinas believes that everything it does must have meaning, that its customers are the best in the world and that if they have a dream, they can make it come true.
The story begins with the name "Josefinas" itself, chosen in honor of the brand’s founder’s grandmother - Maria Josefina, who used to take her granddaughter to ballet classes. At Josefinas, each collection tells a story and every pair of shoes take their customers on a new journey. The brand supports savoir faire and proudly places what is handmade in Portugal at the world’s feet.
Josefinas’ customers don’t just buy a pair of shoes, they buy the realization of a dream and a ticket to a new adventure. And it was the fact that Josefinas was able to transform the purchase process into an incredible experience that brought the brand international success.
Airbnb managed to turn a night in a stranger’s home into a desired and amazing experience. How? Through a real community connection (hosts and travelers) and a communication strategy with a very human approach.
In the market since 2008, Airbnb is one of the world's leading hosting platforms and perhaps the only one to create such a strong sense of belonging. In fact, Airbnb is a world where you can travel by yourself, but never feel alone. A world where we belong anywhere.
The brand was able to grow by creating memorable stays, making it possible for guests to discover a new destination through those who know it best - the host. They created, without a doubt, the perfect connection and communication between those who love to travel and those who love to receive people in their homes.
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” - Seth Godin
By Rita Amaral