Everyone loves a good story. From the verbal “passing down” of myths and legends to the modern novelist, stories have been a fixture in every society on the planet.
People have stories to tell, too – about their lives and experiences. And online, they tell them through their social media platforms, emails, messaging, etc.
Stories are powerful. And businesses have come to realize that they can harness this power to promote their e-commerce brands and achieve the following results:
- Build connections and relationships with customers and prospects
- Bring credibility to their brands
- Develop trust among consumers
So, exactly how does a business tell its stories to accomplish these three goals? Here are five tips for doing to deliver amazing, relatable stories:
Understand What Brand Storytelling Is
First and foremost, brand stories have nothing to do with selling products or services. They have everything to do with establishing yourself as a genuine business with a valuable mission to solve problems for consumers. It’s about making connections and relationships, by putting a personal stamp on your brand and being “human.” It’s about providing value through who you are and how you solve problems, not what you are selling.
You may be wondering what sort of stories should I tell for my business?
Well if you understand storytelling, you will know what sort of stories your business deserves.
To understand storytelling, consider some examples from current businesses with an online presence:
- Take a look at TV commercials for Progressive, Aflack, or Geico Insurance companies. We have Flo, the Aflack duck, and the Geico gecko. Each commercial presents a humorous story that humanizes their brands and makes them memorable. These stories are carried over to their social media platforms, to garner a digital audience as well.
- Check out ModCloth. Its website and all of its social media pages are filled with stories about its clothing items and about customers who have made purchases (of course, with photos included)
- Build-a-Bear Workshop lets its employees bring their dogs to work. According to one employee, “…Snickers, my westie has been coming to work for 2 ½ years and many other dogs including Milford, Lucy, Faith and more come daily or regularly. They are a part of our work environment. We celebrate birthdays with Frosty Paws and let them sit in on meetings too. They provide love and stress relief throughout the day.”
What you will find common in all these examples is that each of these brands has carved a distinct mission for themselves. Of course, the main goal is to sell something but when you provide your business with a mission, it becomes bigger than profits, and that’s why people love engaging with such brands.
Be Honest and Genuine
You may be creating stories, but they cannot be fiction. They must be real and consistent. If they are not, visitors/customers will become confused and distrustful. Don’t tell the story of your company’s beginnings and its mission and then tell a story later that contradicts any of those details in an attempt to sell yourself better. It’s not honest, and you then lose the transparency that consumers expect from brands they do business with. Stay true to the identity you want.
Ask yourself why you are really in business? Of course, you want to make money, but what problems are you out to solve? How did you think you could help people in some way?
A popular brand story for companies these days is to take up a cause and tell stories as they support it. Consider Toms Shoes. It began with a mission titled, “one for one.” The inspiration for this mission came when the founder of the company traveled to Latin America and saw children with no shoes. For every pair of shoes it sells, it donates a pair to a needy child. It began to tell stories of its volunteers delivering shoes to children in poorer parts of the world.
Be Certain to Put “Real” Personalities in Your Stories
What’s a story without characters? Those characters can be fictional “mascots,” as mentioned in the above examples, or real people – employees and customers. When you can put real “personality” into your brand through characters, you inspire trust and credibility.
The other part of putting a real personality to your stories is to write them in engaging ways. Boring stories don’t engage. This requires some creativity in storytelling. If you struggle with being a good storyteller, get some professional help. There are a number of helpful tools and writing services with creative copywriting departments that can help, including:
- Hot Essay Service: Its creative writing department gradually morphed into two – one for academic writing needs and one for business copywriting needs. The latter is comprised of pros from the field of journalism.
- Grab My Essay: This is another academic writing service that, over time, developed a department of exceptional copywriters for online business needs.
- Supreme Dissertations: What began as an agency to help graduate students with theses and dissertations, this company, too, has evolved. Not only does it serve student needs at all levels, but it also developed a copywriting department several years ago that has a great reputation.
Use a Plot Line
Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. No matter how short your story is, it should have this as well. For example, if you are writing about a customer who is thrilled with your product, what problem did that customer need to solve? How did the customer find the product at your company, and how did this product solve a real problem for them?
Explainer videos can often tell stories too. Have a look at Dollar Shave Club explainer video on YouTube. It opens with a statement about what the company is, takes viewers through the problems the company solves, and ends with a call to action. It helps, of course, that the video features the founder of the company, speaking directly to the audience – a truly personal connection with the brand.
And Lastly: Keep Your Stories Simple and Short
The video above is about 90 seconds. It’s not a podcast or a feature movie. It’s a simple, short explanation that tells a story. Remember, you are not writing a novel or even an essay. You are giving consumers short snippets of entertainment, inspiration, or education – told in story form – that allow them to see your brand on a truly personal level and allows them to connect with your message.
That’s a Wrap!
All of your branding efforts have one goal – to give your audience experiences with your brand that make them want to select you when they need a product or service you offer. This effort includes stories, and they can be powerful indeed.