Brand storytelling is an aspect of marketing. Depending on who you ask, it can be said to precede marketing.
Its part of the ongoing, deeper narrative happening between the brand and the client.
Since stories tap into the deep psychology of what it is to be human, it’s a simpler and more universal selling tool than trending marketing techniques that change based on available tools.
What is marketing?
Anything you do to create awareness, experience of, and education about your response to a specific client’s pain points is marketing. It’s the process of promoting your service and engaging with your audience.
Marketing also includes the process of solving the problem, and how you treat your customer. Marketing involves how a client feels working with you.
Sounds like marketing becomes so broad, where does it stop?
You’re right. You’re always marketing.
Marketing isn’t a one-and-done thing you do, putting up a poster, or passing out a business card.
Marketing is a mindset, something you do with customers, not at them.
So what about storytelling?
Stories are instantly and inherently about community. About connections. About meaning.
If marketing is something you do with customers, stories are the best vehicle for that action.
Stories are the oldest and simplest method of communication.
They’re an out-of-body experience, a chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes and culture. A chance to live someone else’s choices, to be present in their pain and joys and questions.
And it’s like catnip to the human soul.
It does more than activate the logical, fact based part of your mind.
A story engages the emotive, creative, and attention of the person. It invites more of the whole human into engagement.
That’s why using stories are a far faster method of communicating, because it allows us to stand alongside the listener and point at a common idea. Instead of drumming our reality into them.
Brand storytelling functions similar to your Netflix feed.
They don’t hit you over the head with calls to action. They aren’t about impressing you with a service. They aren’t about prettifying data, or leading with facts.
They are a celebration of a moment, an experience, a person. The fact that you made their success possible is almost secondary. Important, but secondary.
If your story can show how deeply someone enjoyed their experience, or how complete the transformation was, or how they now tell themselves a more empowering narrative, then you are being convincing.
Then you have allowed the story to do the work for you. You are showing, not telling.
So in a nutshell, stories are a far older communication technique, that involves far more of the person.
Ads and conventional marketing target distinct problems, and distinct life moments. Obviously, those have value.
But they aren’t shareable. Because they are instants isolated from a larger narrative.
Leading with stories gives us all something to share and talk about.
And if there’s anything as valuable in the realm of ‘social currency’, it’s the ability to drop cool stories in a discussion.
Everyone loves a cool story.
Dominic is Enable’s design and brand specialist. He thoroughly enjoys helping businesses find meaning in their brands and define their distinction. Coffee, cooking and binge-researching are his hobbies. When not building websites, he is delving into projects to find the boundaries of his imagination. He hasn’t found them yet.