Branding is how a business expresses its values and vision to customers in a way that is distinct and unmistakable.
And one of the branding methods businesses can use is to tell the ‘story’ of their company.
Done properly, a company’s story can help advance its goal, and that was true for marketing expert Beth Comstock, who said that she helped improve GE’s content marketing “through good storytelling and by connecting with others who share interests in getting those stories out…”
Storytelling can engage your customers as well as prospects, because it provides them with content that has a distinct point of view that answers this critical customer question: Why should we care?
If you’re thinking about adding storytelling to your marketing strategy, or your existing strategy isn’t yielding the ROI you want, this list of classic storytelling types may help get you started, or help you recharge your campaign.
The Underdog Story
People love an underdog story, because it makes them feel as if hope always exists for their dreams to come true. In the underdog, people see someone they can relate to, and in doing so, they form a personal connection with that person.
When Apple hit the market with its first desktop computer, Microsoft was a giant that had swallowed up all competition.
But Apple founder Steve Jobs did something brilliant by positioning Apple as the shinier, cooler brand that was taking on a monolith. And he also differentiated Apple by offering features that Microsoft lacked.
When you decide to tell the underdog story, your content must not only focus on your stature relative to the giants in your industry, but also what makes you different. What are you offering that they are not? What needs are you meeting that sets you apart?
Being an underdog is just the starting point. Selling your unique value is equally important.
The quest story is as old as time, and involves a long journey with a desirable goal.
When you embrace the quest story, you must have products or services that propel your customers from a point of disadvantage to a point of fulfillment.
Products and services that solve practical problems for customers, and help them achieve desired goals are ideal for the quest story, because you can create content that showcases the journey from a point of dissatisfaction to a point of triumph.
Lexus is a brand that has used the quest storytelling technique to distinguish itself in the automotive industry.
Its ‘relentless pursuit of perfection’ slogan communicates the company’s never-ending quest to create the perfect vehicle. And along the way, each new Lexus model takes customers closer to that end goal.
With this type of storytelling, your content must express how every iteration of your products and services moves customers closer to an ideal.
Making people laugh is one of the most effective ways businesses can transform cold prospects into customers who want to engage with their products and services.
In many social circles, humor is a wonderful way for strangers to break the ice, because it puts everyone at ease and creates an environment for easier communication between people.
That’s no different when it comes to your business, and humor has been the hallmark of some recent breakthroughs for major brands, especially State Farm.
The company turned the dry and sometimes boring subject of home and auto insurance into a series of commercials and online promos that showcased famous athletes in everyday situations that viewers could relate to.
But during those domestic situations, State Farm introduced some type of unexpected event –like a tree falling on a car – in a humorous way to highlight that regardless of the circumstance that caused the event, State Farm would take care of the damages.
By marrying its “We’ve got you covered” slogan to a series of funny commercials that starred athletes acting like ordinary people, State Farm branded itself in a way that was both memorable and practical (everyone needs insurance).
Geico did a similar thing by branding itself based on the word association between its name and the name of a ‘gecko’ that they have chosen as the focus of their content for the past few years.
The Geico gecko says funny things in an English accent while dispensing valuable advice about how people can save money on car insurance.
So your challenge is to find clever ways to implement comedic storytelling that incorporates your products and services. The goal isn’t to turn your business into a laughingstock, but trying to find ways to create humorous content is worthwhile because it can engage your customers and prospects in a way that straightforward marketing cannot.
Storytelling Is About Fulfilling Emotional Needs
When you boil down the purpose of good storytelling, it’s really all about connecting with your audience and eliciting an emotional reaction.
SEO expert Heather Lloyd-Martin said that good storytelling tells your audience, “…this company understands my needs.” So no matter what story you choose to tell, make sure that goal remains firmly in mind.
If you need more information about storytelling, or you need marketing advice, please contact us today so we can help you meet your goals.