- Lyle Burns
Influential Brand Elements: Storytelling
This post is a part of our 10 Elements of an Influential Brand series where we cover the essentials to building a powerful brand. Follow this series to learn how to attract an audience, keep them engaged, and turn them into loyal fans.
Storytelling has always been an important part of our lives. Our parents and teachers read them to us when we were young. We read them growing up. We watched them on television. We experienced them in video games. We told our friend stories. Our parents and grandparents were engrossed in them, whether it was a prime time drama or a soap opera. When a story stops without an ending, we eagerly wait for the next part. Stories are ingrained in our lives and have been since we started communicating with each other. So, it makes sense that storytelling would be an extremely important of building an influential brand.
Stories are used for various reasons, whether it’s to pass knowledge and information, persuade people, or to entertain an audience. As an artist, you can use stories to convey how your brand fits into your audience’s life, whether it’s a status symbol, a spark of inspiration, relatability, etc.
Stories allow your fans to better understand and connect with you, your thoughts, feelings, and personality. Stories can help an audience turn an experience and idea into their own. On a personal level, they activate parts of the brain that process emotion, senses, and motor functions. So if you can effectively communicate your brand and its mission and its values through the use of stories you can drive a deeper connection with your fans.
Furthermore, it addresses customers’ desires and preferences for how they consume content. People look for content that allows them to relate, escape, or learn, and stories tend to be the most effective method for all three. Your fans seek out stories, as it’s some of the most engaging content. Determining the medium to tell those stories is the next step, whether it’s videos, your music, photos, or writing. In addition, fans and people in general are constantly searching for content. You can fulfill those desires with a story.
People are able to recall stories at a much greater rate than information presented in other formats. As a result, you’ll be engraving your brand into the audience memory by telling stories.
So, how do you tell a good story?
First, your stories need to be rooted in the reality of you and your brand, so the message and values conveyed in the story are clear and consistent.
Second, let your personality show. Have fun with it, be yourself. People are reading your stories because they’re a fan of you, they want to learn more about you, and they want to be entertained. A story without personality, is boring, and no one remembers boring stories.
With that in mind, remember to be creative. Whether it’s creating characters, using different perspectives, or unique delivery, allow people to use your story to escape and put their imaginations to work. Let them emotionally connect and stimulate their minds. Give people a reason to invest in the story.
Next, the story should have a beginning, middle, and end, along with a set up, a conflict, a resolution, and at times a call to action. It needs a structure that is engaging and allows you to communicate clearly while taking the audience on a ride.
Finally, find a way to keep your fans coming back for more. You can build anticipation with multi-part stories, previews and teasers, or just consistent releases. At the end of the day, you want them engaged and thinking about the story even after they’ve seen or heard the content.
Most importantly, find the right medium to communicate that story. Traditionally, musicians have delivered most of their storytelling via their music, but today we have more avenues to communicate stories now from videos to social media to music. Fans get to choose how they want to experience your brand’s story.
With this in mind, you can creatively build a layered experience and story by developing a continuous plot across different platforms. For example, an artist can set the scene and background for the story in a song, but then add another twist, plot or depth to the story using videos as a visual element. In addition to that, they might generate a series of photos on social media or a temporary website that gives clues or parts of the story, creating a more interactive experience.
In order to weave together stories across multiple mediums, you need to fully understand your audience and know which platforms they spend most of their time on. An interconnected story will maximize your reach, engagement, and create a memorable experience.
Storytelling is the 2nd pillar in building an influential brand. It’s a form of communication that is ingrained in human nature, which is why it resonates with people so much. If you focus on telling great stories in creative and unique ways, you’ll create a brand with not only a deep connection to its fans, but one that is well on it’s way to achieving any marketing goal.
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