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Before we jump into how you can leverage the art of storytelling in your branding, let’s start with a little “Once Upon a Time.” {See? We take our own advice!}

A long time ago in a far away land {also known as California}, we decided to take a huge risk and go into business for ourselves. But this business that came into being was not the same business you know {and love, admit it!} today. In fact, we started out as a resume writing company! 

At first, our goal was helping people with their cover letters and resumes. But we realized very quickly that the market for the services we were offering really extended beyond people who are looking for positions at jobs.

We realized that there were entire industries that could be impacted by this work of knowing your brand voice, knowing how to position yourself in the market, and knowing how your work impacts others and can build relationships.

At the end of the day, marketing is about relationships. Without the relational side of things, it can start to feel cold and sterile. So how do you create a relationship with your audience? Through the art of storytelling.

Stories adds the warmth back into it. {Think of it like adding a warm, cozy blanket and an overstuffed chair to a doctor’s office waiting room. And then maybe add in an area rug with a puppy curled up in the corner, while you’re at it. These are the kinds of “warm fuzzies” that your stories add to your marketing message.}

Storytelling for building an audience

Does coming up with stories sound intimidating? It doesn’t have to be.

See, there are different kinds of stories. There are big ones, like your origin story. And then you also have micro stories, little snippets and snapshots of your life that actually help to build your brand and give your brand a human component.

Whichever type of story you’re using in your content, know that your vulnerability is empowering you to build that bridge between yourself and your audience.

It allows your audience to look at you and think,  “I get you. I get YOU, I get your brand, and I want to be with you and work with you. Not necessarily because of what you’re doing {because there are probably a lot of people who do what you’re doing}, but because of how you bring WHO you are to WHAT you’re doing.”  

This is what leveraging the art of storytelling in your branding looks like!

Storytelling for standing out

Friends, if you’re shouting into a noisy room, all you are doing is creating a noisier room.

You need to have your innovative angle that showcases how you stand out from all of those other people shouting. How do you express that innovative angle? Through storytelling. 

 Through weaving your story into your messaging. 

How do you express your innovative angle? Through storytelling.

This is why we do what we do: We want to help you get your story out to the world… in the way that attracts the right audience, inspires them, and then, because of that thing you made them FEEL, motivates them to take action.

This is the kind of situation where EVERYONE wins! You win because you are being authentic, you are staying true to your values, and you are using your influence to create change. Your audience wins because they can respond to something that inspires them. They can also effectuate change as they line up with your vision. Win-win!

Which stories to tell in your branding?

It’s important to bear in mind that, no matter what stories you come up with, there are different ways to leverage those stories for different audiences and different purposes.

For example, you might want to share how your company made a big decision that was a sacrifice but you’re proud of it because it aligns with your values. These are the kind of life experiences that give your brand heart.

Additionally, you don’t want to overlook the stories you are uncomfortable sharing. Yes, that sounds crazy, but it gives you the opportunity to ask yourself, “Why does this make me uncomfortable?” You never know… it could actually be a really powerful story that your audience will connect with, even though it may require you to be vulnerable.

The art of storytelling requires me to be… vulnerable?

We’re not saying you have to share from your deepest place or your most painful life wound. But it is important to look at the stories that have made you who you are, identify the ones you are open to sharing, and then digging a little further into the ones that you’re not quite willing to expose. And then ask yourself: Why am I feeling so vulnerable about these certain ones?

If there’s something painful there and you’re still in a place of healing and recovery, then you of course will want to continue to process that and let time, processing, and/or counseling do its work. But if it’s something that you’re just feeling a little nervous about sharing because it may paint you in a less favorable light, bear in mind that your audience has been most likely been there, too.

If your experience revolves around a feeling that they can also relate to and feel in the process of working with you, then the story can actually serve as a bridge. It’s that humanizing component. It’s a connection point.

{It’s the ART part of your storytelling… because ART connects with its audience!}

Storytelling for increased impact

People in the impact space have a tendency to want to put other people in the spotlight {aka the people they’re serving!} because they’re so passionate about serving them. But if telling your story gives you a bigger audience with increased influence, then you’ll be able to have even GREATER impact!

One thing to remember, however, is that the stories you’re sharing don’t have to be these traumatic or pivotal, huge life moments. The small micro-moments that you have in your life {like an AHA! moment you had while walking into the grocery story, or something you experienced when walking your dog or playing with your kids} can become stories that you then use in your content.

When you think your stories are boring

Not sure what there is to tell? Here’s the deal: They don’t have to be these big “rags to riches” transformative stories, because EVERY story has value at some point.

Some CEOs don’t want to feel like they’re bragging about the impact they’ve created or the change they’ve caused. But honestly, you are doing amazing things! And your audience wants to hear the WHY behind those. 

The more you talk about the things that drive you to do what you do, the more your audience is going to be envisioned. When you allow your cause and your mission to take the spotlight, you’ll attract other people who care about that, too. {We’ll talk more about this in an upcoming blog post, so keep an eye out for some practical tips on how to do this well. If you prefer video, we’ve got a 7-minute clip from Marie on how to message your giving with confidence.}

Keeping your story authentic

By the way, while storytelling is THE way to improve your marketing efforts and build audience loyalty, it isn’t a magic pill for going viral.

You may put all your effort and energy into telling your stories, but there are so many variables that go into marketing and getting your message OUT THERE that there’s no guarantee that things are going to blow up {in a good way}. 

Many of those variables are out of your control, but what you can control is keeping your story authentic. You can feel good about the fact that your content aligns with your values and that you are telling it in a way that you can be proud of.

 Remember, at the end of the day, if it impacts even just one person, you’ve made a difference. You’ve gotten your message out there. And if it doesn’t, just chalk it up to a nice “practice experience” and dig your heels in for the long run.  

Storytelling for sustainability

For companies that are seeing content pieces go viral, keep in mind that they are not going to be able to sustain that level of success, traffic, or clients coming in the door unless they have ongoing content efforts. Even these companies have to continue to share their story and stay out there.

You don’t want to be another “one hit wonder” in your industry that hits it big for a moment and then falls off the map. By planning on a consistent content strategy, with effective content that is full of stories, you’re going to have lasting impact. {Hint: That’s the goal! Keep that North Star in mind!} 

How the art of storytelling works with brand voice

One of the things that we hear time and time again that is a big roadblock for CEOs in getting their stories in front of their audience is what we call the “brand voice component.” What exactly is that? It’s the ability to not just share your stories, but to communicate it in a way that’s on-brand and connects with your audience.

The “brand voice component” is the ability to not just share your stories but to communicate them in a way that’s on-brand and connect with your audience.

The way you can do this is to make sure your CORE MESSAGE is wrapped up tight in your brand voice and not drifting or shapeshifting into other messages that confuse and distract your audience.

Your community and your storytelling

Not sure your stories are creating the impact you’re after? You might need to call in the pros! {Yep, that’s us!}

We analyze what you’re doing, we help you identify your North Star {start here with our free Copywriting Character Quiz}, and then we help you put down on paper exactly what it is that your brand looks, sounds, smells, and tastes like.

This way, you are able to then take that shiny Brand Voice GUIDE and hand it off to ANYONE with the confidence that, in writing your content, they will be able to sound like YOU. {Score!}

Regardless of whether you are receiving messaging support from us, or if you’re talking with trusted friends and peers in your circle, it’s important to remember that storytelling is a valid, essential, and exciting way to communicate your big idea to the world. 

It helps to have a community around you with whom you can be vulnerable and share your stories, which then enable you to gauge reactions and sort through what is most effective and what needs to perhaps be tucked away for another day {or lifetime}.  

Also, don’t forget that in all your recounting of adventures, foibles, and life-changing revelations, you need to stay true to your North Star! {Which is the secret behind making the art of storytelling work for you!} If your stories aren’t serving your purpose, then they won’t have the effect you’re after.

 

Uncertain how to use your stories to build loyalty, scale, increase impact, and convert? We get it. It can be overwhelming. Sometimes, it takes an outsider to help you sort through your life experiences and identify potential connection points. Reach out here if you’d like a professional ear to help you leverage your storytelling for greater impact.


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