Storytelling as Marketing Strategy

Some psychologists encourage their patients to write their life  experiences as stories to promote understanding and open the door for a greater sense of self-acceptance. As a marketing expert, I recommend the same form of therapy for brands. Through storytelling, a brand can bring customers into its inner circle and offer a greater understanding of its purpose.

Every business has a story. Don’t know where to start? Consider these tips to uncover what your brand has to share:

Never Forget Where You Came From

Everyone loves an underdog story, and most brands, even the biggest today, start out as one. Companies like Amazon, Spanx, and Facebook all started with crazy ideas that no one believed in. Even for a well-established company like Amazon, it pays to bring customers back to the beginning. The more customers know about a company’s history, the more connected to the brand they will feel. Establishing an emotional connection creates long-term customer loyalty. Studies show that 82 percent of consumers with high emotional engagement with a brand will always buy that brand when making purchasing decisions. For small business owners, the story has just begun–so tell it well now and get customers hooked early.

What Makes You, You?

Anyone can open a business, but what sets a business apart from the rest is its people and purpose. One of the most valuable parts of telling your brand story is digging down into the roots of the business. Maybe it’s a pie shop inspired by a famous family recipe or a pharmacy passed down through generations. It could be anything. Capitalize on the unique characteristics that make your business different. For The UPS Store, we are a franchise network so all of our 4,800-plus store locations are individually and locally owned and operated. Each owner has a story to share, from the retired CEO who wanted to start his second career, to the veteran who is using the skills developed through military experience. These stories bring each owner closer to their local communities in which they do business.

Starting a New Chapter

Brands are always changing. Turning the page in a brand’s story offers an opportunity to bring customers along for the next chapter. Many brands will do this when they decide to rebrand, release a new product or align with a societal movement. Milestone years are also opportunities for brands to reflect on how far they’ve come while also looking to the future. Target has undergone major brand reconstructions throughout the years. Despite many opportunities for failure, Target continued to evolve the next iteration of its brand story. Originally a discount superstore, Target turned itself into a common name brand, all while staying true to its original roots.

The Entertainment Factor

There’s a reason why The Moth–a nonprofit based in New York City–sells out packed venues every week. It’s because people want to hear interesting stories from everyday folks just like themselves. It’s also why people are tuning into the popular podcast “Household Name” to hear the stories behind the brands they love. People want to be entertained, they want to connect and find out what’s below the surface. Allow your brand’s story to invite customers on the journey. Storytelling creates an opportunity for your brand to be more than just a provider of goods, but an embodiment of the successes and failures that all started with a wild and crazy idea.

This content was originally published here.

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