Stories are the marketer’s equivalent of the Swiss Army Knife. With stories in your pocket, you can do everything. If you can tell stories, you don’t need anything else.
Stories are powerful because they grab us by the gut. They pull us in and they make us feel something. That’s the magic of story. And you don’t need a fairy godmother to cast the spell for you.
You can do it yourself, as long as you’re a decent storyteller.
What are the keys to telling a magical brand story?
1. Give Yourself Some Name Love
Jenny loved going to Pat’s house after school, because Pat had a pet lamb called Larry. Every week, Larry got bigger, but that didn’t make him any less cute.
Then one week, when Jenny and Pat arrived at Pat’s house, Larry wasn’t there. Dinner was a tasty leg of roast lamb.
When Jenny worked out what had happened, she burst into tears. It wasn’t that she’d never eaten lamb before. Roast lamb was one of her favorite meals. It was that she never expected to eat Larry.
When we name our pets, we create an emotional connection with them.
The same is true for your brand. Your brand name creates an emotional connection. That emotional connection is the first thread in the yarn of a story.
2. Know Your Hero
All good stories need a hero. Who is the hero in your brand’s story?
Maybe you think it’s you. Or maybe it’s your brand.
The hero is your customer. Let’s take a look at why this is.
In any story, the hero is the person with a problem. In crime stories, someone has been murdered (problem), and the detective (hero) has to find who killed him. In romance stories, the heroine is lonely (problem), so she goes on a journey to find the man of her dreams.
In your customer’s story, they’re facing a problem in their life. From their point of view, it’s their job to solve it. Not your brand’s job.
If anything, your brand is the sidekick. Maybe you provide the magnifying glass that helps the detective solve his crime. Or you make the gorgeous dress to help the heroine win her lover’s heart.
Your customer is the hero. Got it?
3. Show, Don’t Tell
Ask any writer the secret of powerful stories that grab readers by the heart, and they’ll tell you:
Show, don’t tell.
In other words, don’t say “She was gorgeous”. Write about her big blue eyes, her perfectly coiffed hair, her luscious red lips.
How does that translate for brands?
Don’t toot your own trumpet.
If you go around telling people how great you are, why should they believe you?
Instead, show how awesome you are. Make fantastic, reliable products that your customers need. Offer excellent customer service. Have a beautifully designed website that reflects the values of your brand. Make it as easy as possible for customers to place orders with you.
Then you’ll get people talking and tooting your trumpet for you.
That’s when the real magic starts.
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