Storytelling and its relevance to 21st Century Brands: Why should I tell my story in a certain way – Chikodili Ozulumba

A lot of brands already have an idea of how they want their brand story to be told, its flow, their target audience, their brand’s conversion, and the results. But what they don’t know, is how important the brand story is to its growth. Storytelling hampers a great deal on creativity and how well and fast people resonate with their brand. It is also important to have a meaning of what people say storytelling is. Thanks to a recent article from The Guardian, ‘the importance of storytelling as an essential part of public relations has been brought to light. In their article, journalist and author Tom Chatfield defines public relations as ‘the art of telling stories so people will want to hear more.’

Based on this definition, it’s not hard to see how storytelling plays a crucial role in PR. Chatfield goes on to explain that PR isn’t necessarily about getting people to hear your story, but rather, making it so they want to hear more.

It’s about making a case for how you work, why you are better than the competition and even why you personally matter,” wrote Chatfield.

In other words, storytelling is the purpose of public relations in a nutshell. PR is about telling people your mission, vision and values so that they’ll want to listen to what you have to say. Now, this is not to say that there aren’t other aspects of public relations that are important. In fact, these other aspects play even more significant roles. One of the most important aspects is ensuring that every PR campaign you undertake has a solid set of objectives and strategies. Stories have always been a way to communicate, before people learnt how to write, they would tell each other stories making it much easier to remember than plain facts. In summary, it sells, connects, and resonates with people. If your campaign doesn’t have a strong purpose, it will be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Your message won’t sit well with your audience because it won’t be relevant. PR is not about telling stories; it’s about addressing the needs of your audience.

“Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand and is also one of the main components of a solid content marketing approach.” ~ David Campbell”

All the same, Brand Storytelling is an important way of connecting with your audience as well as expanding your reach. With this said, let us talk about the power of Social Media in this 21st Century. Social Media has become a big player in influencing people’s decisions of various brands thereby making influencer and content marketing a job for most people. Becoming an influencer, the realization that it was once a hobby but now real time job because if you didn’t know people are winning at it. From the picture taking to the planning and product placement, there is always a thought process behind it.

The whole idea is to be real, people are not dumb; they can spot a fake story when they see one. If they think you’re fabricating stories and falsifying your brand, they will find

out. At a point, the truth about the “brand” you built will require severe crisis management to retain the brand image. Every PR firm would accept your crisis issue while laughing to the bank. All of these can be avoided if you tell the right story.

“A good story makes you feel something and is universal. They want to grasp your values and your commitment to excellence; be inspired and intrigued. Storytelling is the most powerful way to convey these ideas.” ~Mark Truby, Vice President of Communications, Ford Motor Company.

A lot of Big Brands in the past have been caught selling the wrong narrative about their products, some survived the crisis it created while others didn’t. Brands like Samsung, Ford, Suzuki, Huawei, have in the past had major damage control done to retain their image. If you thought story-telling was merely putting ideas together placing them on Print, Broadcast, and Social Media, and running ads, then you must be mistaken. It is a whole process, from the landing of the brief, brainstorming sessions, drafting of the plans, reviewing of the decks, coming up with the “Big Idea”, submission to the clients, the heartbreaks, sleepless nights, Impromptu presentations, and so on. All you need is a show-stopping, an action-grabbing story to push your brand to its audience. Sounds Easy Right? Well, it’s not. Whenever I think of the process most Creative Agencies put through to success a story is sold, I am always in awe because they go through a lot.

A lot of people may think this is a lot when processing the importance of storytelling but I will give in simple terms what it does; ENGAGES, COMMUNICATE CLEARER, AND INFLUENCES ACTIONS.

Then, there are other aspects that aren’t as important, but still play a role: budgeting and strategy. These two aspects are critical to the success of any campaign, especially in a competitive market. But they are not as vital as the marketing aspects of a campaign. This is because your business will have to out-compete competitors and determine its own needs and objectives and this takes time. But this is one story that should be diversified properly in order not to mix words.

Having stated clearly, here are some tips on how to tell a great story. Consumers’ wants and needs: To generate brand awareness, your brand needs to appeal to your audience, and that means that you need to focus on what your consumers want and need. At the end of the day, your audience is the people to who you are selling your brand, so prioritize them and listen to what they want. Tailoring your content to your consumers’ preferences is crucial to creating an appealing story.

Trends: Trends are constantly changing, but there is no surprise that they affect your audience.

Create customer value-oriented content: One of the goals of brand storytelling is to convert new consumers and retain the ones that it has. This is simply done by playing to their emotions which eventually changes their beliefs and opinions of your brand and influences consumer purchasing power.

Video marketing is one of the many popular platforms for brand storytelling. It increases awareness and has a wider social reach. Brands such as Nike, Pepsi, Google have gained popularity for their achievements in storytelling through video marketing.

Have a simple structure for the story: A great story has a beginning, middle, and end along with a climax and a resolution. Never be carried away and forget about the foundations of what makes a great story.

Emotions: Stories based on real experiences will generate more success because they convey raw emotions, making it easier for your audience to relate to your brand. An Example is an Ad with Nike and Pregnant Women. Even if you are not pregnant their big idea of comfort sold it and made a fan.

Sell your brand’s personality: Do not forget your brand’s values. Highlight your brand’s personality through storytelling to help your audience learn more about you.

BE CREATIVE AND AVOID VANILLA CONCEPTS…

Research: Adequate requests should be done in determining your audience, their preferences, and what works for them. You can’t wake up one morning and dish out a product without research, It’s not done that way.

By highlighting the importance, tips on how and why you need to focus more on having a brand story, the next step is to identify how it can be transformed from an Idea to Reality.

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