• C.E.K. & Partners

Storytelling: What Is Your Brand Story?

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

“Intimate brands, those with the rare ability to elicit an emotional response in their customer, are better business performers than brands that lack that bond.”[1]

What’s your brand story? A story often referred to as a brand narrative reflects the company culture and its values, and reveals its purpose, the core promise and a competitive point of differentiation. Whether it is FinTech, a healthcare company, a medical device company or a non-profit, Brands with a clear and compelling story perform better. In fact, brands that leverage storytelling generate an average of 5% more revenue growth and 11% more profit.[2]

Want to learn how a brand story transformed one marketer?

In fact, brands that leverage storytelling generate an average of 5% more revenue growth and 11% more profit.[2]

While many brands are prioritizing digital transformation and mobile first customer

experiences – and it’s critical to not overlook the digital communication channels – digital alone doesn’t make the message. Brand narrative acts as a springboard for marketing communications and storytelling (think about video series and snackable social media bites).

Many companies – start-ups, innovators, multinationals and global brands – are often overly focused on where they are communicating – social media, search, web – and with which content formats – videos, emails, infographics or newsletters. In fact, we just heard a company leader suggest that now that YouTube is considered the No. 2 search engine they would create a presence there. But why? What’s the objective, and what do you want to communicate in this channel?

It is important to remember that branding isn’t just about what your company sells and the number of likes or fans you collect, but rather how you connect and create compelling experiences. This starts with the story. In other words, digital channels offer a vehicle for communication. Digital is not the communication. It’s not the story. What is your brand story?

“Digital channels offer a vehicle for communication. Digital is not the communication. It’s not the story. What is your brand’s story?”

- Carolyn Kopf, C.E.K. & Partners

What makes a compelling brand story anyway?

Here are a few pointers to get you started on crafting a great brand story.

Be Authentic

Each brand should have its own personality, whether it’s joyful or optimistic or passionate – and so own. The story needs to be true to your brand voice and values. This is best articulated by Beth Comstock, Chief Marketing Officer of GE, “You have to be true to who you are. Sure, you need to aspire to always be more, to be better. But you can’t be something you are not. At GE, we know we’re not Facebook or Apple – we embrace our geeky side.”

Be Soulful

B2C brands lean heavily on emotions when connecting with consumers. B2B brands tend to skew toward rational appeals. At the end of the day whether it’s B2C or B2B it’s ultimately people connecting with people, meaning that just like B2C brandB2B brands need to have strong value propositions with compelling reasons to believe – and must connect emotionally. GE, Interface and Cisco all do this well.

Be Clear About What’s at Stake

There’s a tension in stories. They often depict a struggle or conflict. This appeals to our emotions and draws us in. For example, Interface, one of the world’s most sustainable companies, looks at the bigger picture – beyond modular design systems and flooring – and elevates its brand’s role by restoring the health of the planet with its boldest mission yet – Climate Take Back.TM You can find more about it here.

Be Visual

Storytelling is emotional. When we listen to stories our imagination kicks in to visualize it. Gone are the days of brand communications telling stories with mere words. Visual formats are more emotional and effective at engaging people.

Cisco, a corporation focused on networking, doesn’t focus on networking equipment and all the great functionality it offers. Instead the company leverages stories such as its Internet of Everything video. It takes a complicated subject and simplifies it, translating it into everyday life from breakfast to the commute – all of which highlights the main character – Cisco – and its role. Take a moment to watch it.

Conclusion: Leverage Your Narrative to Gain a Competitive Edge

Those businesses that understand how to create a brand narrative offering the platform and springboard for their stories will reap the rewards of a competitive edge. When establishing your narrative, we suggest starting with the end in mind and ensuring it will resonate – it should not be created in a vacuum within your company or by your agency. Rather it is important that it aligns with your company on a brand level and that it truly reflects employees and input gathered from customers.

Building a brand is an investment that requires energy and expertise – that’s why we’re here to help. Contact us at carolyn@cekpartners.com or +1.404.345.6447.

[1] http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brands-that-make-consumers-emotional-outperform-the-sp-500-over-time-2015-10-06

[2] http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brands-that-make-consumers-emotional-outperform-the-sp-500-over-time-2015-10-06

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C.E.K. & Partners | Atlanta, GA | United States 

© 2020 Carolyn Kopf Inc.