Famous British author Philip Pullman once said that after nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing that we need most in this world and here at Folk we totally agree. Stories can connect with and influence people to think or feel differently in a way that communicating matter-of-factly just can’t achieve.
Indeed, our emotional make-up as humans inclines us to not only communicate but live through stories.
Storytelling is ancient; all myths started life as stories that were interesting and engaging enough to motivate people into passing those stories on to others and so on and so on... it’s word of mouth at its finest.
Bringing stories into a marketing context, one of our folk recently conducted an experiment comparing the differences in consumers’ perception of a brand based on whether or not they were revealed the brand’s backstory, providing us with some interesting insights.
People like to know where you’ve come from.
While heritage is commonly used in brand storytelling, it’s not always used to its fullest potential.
A brand’s heritage can be drawn from various sources and does not rely exclusively on a brand’s ‘ancient formula’, for example.
The expertise and journey of the brand founder counts towards the brand’s heritage too.
The challenges and various experiences of a brand founder leading up to the brand’s creation can be a valuable source to tap into. It’s a source of expertise on which consumers can base their trust.
Don’t disregard the little things.
The participants who took part in the experiment revealed that in some cases the most memorable characteristics of a brand lay in the tiniest details.
If the way you produce your clothing uses a unique technique from that of your competitors, don’t be afraid to place that in the spotlight.
Sometimes the smallest details can offer the biggest differentiation; people pay attention to brands when brands pay attention to the little things - it’s humbling.
Brands with charm can do no harm.
Okay, that’s an awful rhyme but you get the idea. Consumers distinguish between similar products based on the brand, or the ‘identity’, of the product, if you will.
One of the most practical (and proven to be successful) ways of promoting a brand’s story and unique identity is through a central character, the brand founder or CEO, for example.
Having a ‘face’ associated with the brand can help to make the brand more humanised and, again, more trustworthy.
Celebrities are commonly used but often have associations to many other things, making their connection to the brand diluted.
We recommend using internal figures as brand representatives. People do business with other people, not anonymous corporations.
So there we have it, a few useful lessons in storytelling to help brands engage consumers more successfully in the future.