Right here's how you can create an genuine model story that really improves belief
Storytelling is all the rage. More and more brands understand the power of stories to transform their online presence and build trust.
Iconic brands like Disney and Coca-Cola have long recognized the power of their brand history to connect with their audiences. Companies like Apple have brand stories that are legendary in their status.
What's in a story? How does the story develop authenticity? More precisely, how does a brand story create that trusting feeling that customers long for?
Brand stories create trust
There's a good reason why stories are so popular with brands, companies, and individuals.
Stories are a powerful tool in human communication. Research shows that the human brain responds to the descriptive power of stories in profound ways, influencing both the sensory and motor cortex.
Reading a story means feeling an experience and synchronizing our minds with the subject of the story.
Scientists call it neural coupling.
During neural coupling, a speaker and listener share a story that allows their brands to interact in a dynamic way.
No, this is not a "thought-merging" although some scholars use this term to describe it. It is a brain activity that occurs in two people at the same time and affects the same areas of the brain as they narrate.
Princeton researchers use the reflection metaphor: "The listener's brain activity mirrors the speaker's activity." Successful neural coupling leads to better understanding, understanding, anticipation and receptivity.
The net effect of understanding, understanding, anticipation, and receptivity is trust. By telling a story and connecting with the reader, a storyteller can actually instill confidence in the reader.
Stories create trust. But not every story is enough. You need to tell a story that has the right characteristics – characteristics that create successful neural coupling as well as those that have integrity-building characteristics.
How do you create a brand story that creates trust?
Your brand history needs personality
Susan Gunelius has the best description for it:
Brand stories are not marketing materials. They are not advertisements and not sales pitches. Brand stories should be centered with the brand personality and the personality of the writer. Boring stories won't attract and retain readers, but stories full of personality can.
In other words, your story shouldn't come from some god-like figure who dominates the legend and brings life and power to the company. No. Instead, your story is inspired by the presence of people participating in, creating, connecting and developing the saga of growth and success.
Personality drives the story, but the story is not a biography of an individual. It is the development of an entity that is told with personality.
People trust other people. The main reason your story should be personality driven is because it offers a real trust factor to customers.
Keep your brand story simple
The story of Buffer is simple. Although the description of the company's origins is a few thousand words, it is conceptually simple:
That's it. If we try to put more into the story, we lose the momentum that is essential to its success.
Simple stories are better. Science says it and experience confirms it. We may love the complexity of a Harry Potter plot, but we can't import the same complex model into the brand story. We need simplicity.
Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. The three-part model mentioned above carries this natural advancement:
- Start: problem: Explain the problem you want to solve.
- Middle: solution: Describe how you solved it.
- End: Success: Look forward to the success this has brought.
This is the kind of story that people expect. Everything has a beginning, doesn't it?
However, be careful with the ending. It shouldn't feel like the end of the road, but like the beginning of a new adventure.
Simple stories are more trustworthy. As some of the world's best-known brands have demonstrated, the complexity of the story can undermine trust.
Focus on why your brand exists
Why does your business exist?
The answer should be a story.
An answer like "make money" is short-sighted. Your business could be making money. That's good and good. But why does your brand exist? What is the reason?
The answer to this question requires that you tell a story.
A brand like TOMS Shoes uses its history as the basis for its existence. The slogan “One for One” means that TOMS gives someone in need a pair of shoes for every pair they buy. TOMS exists to make life better.
Their story describes the whole reason for the company's existence. That creates trust. Careful customers ask, "Why should I buy from you?" If you can answer this question with a real story, you will have built that customer's trust.
Use your story to connect with your customers
In essence, a story isn't really about your company. Your company is the construct, but the goal of the story is to connect with your customers.
Tell your story in a way that tells your customers: "We relate to you, we understand you, we are like you".
Few things can convey as much engagement as a story.
A brand like North Face connects with active and adventurous people. The whole idea of the brand is to inspire adventure and outdoor living. Her mantra is "never stop exploring." The history of the brand conveys this ideal.
The type of customers who want to be part of this story will be consistent with North Face's origins and heritage.
When your story connects with the target customer, you build trust. You win.
Notice: Customers buy part of the story, not just a product
I wrote, "Customers buy part of the story" (not just part of the story). The distinction is critical.
Why? Because a customer not only participates in the story itself, but also in a monetary way. They deal with the story by shopping with the company that tells the story.
When a customer buys your product, they need to feel like they are buying part of your brand story.
The best way to explain this is by taking the example of Patagonia, a brand that is taking this to a whole new level.
Patagonia uses the term “worn clothing” to describe its long-lasting clothing products. The product itself, the items that customers buy, are part of the brand's story.
Patagonia aptly calls this "the stories we carry". It's such a big deal that Patagonia made a movie about it.
This is the ideal form of storytelling. Why? Because it puts the story right into the product itself. Customers buy this product and with it the brand story.
The customer owns the story; therefore they trust him. The customer is now part of your story. You have shopped. Literally.
Let other people tell your brand story
I've described what the story is, but what about the how? How you do that?
In a sense, the story takes care of itself. A good story is divisible. Others will appreciate the story and get involved with it. That being said, there are a few things you can do to make the stories more viral:
- Build your personal brand. Do you remember how a story is steeped in personality? You and your team are the personalities behind it. Increase your reach with your personal brand.
- Be active on social media. Stories will spread through the power of social media. Excerpts, excerpts and anecdotes are gradually passed on, retweeted, liked and explained. In the meantime, you'll build a presence and brand that lives in public social consciousness.
- Tell the story everywhere. Make history a part of who you are and what your company is. Communicate with the power of history. Whether you're writing a guest post, putting together a biography, or just tweeting about your day, give your story and elementary presence.
- Encourage your customers to tell the story. Testimonials are one of the most effective ways to get your story out there. Customers themselves will experience the problem // solution // success dynamic of history. If they are satisfied, they will be more than happy to crow about it. Use these stories on your website and in marketing collateral. They will reinforce the brand's story.
- Encourage storytelling everywhere. When your brand reaches the mainstream, its story will be further anchored in the public eye. Don't suppress an accurate representation of your brand's story.
A good example of successful brand storytelling is Ben Silbermann, co-founder of Pinterest. Although Ben is a quiet and reserved guy, he tells his story with passion and authenticity. His personal brand grew as he and his team told the story. It grew.
Stories are a means of building trust and belief. When people hear your story in more places, it increases their confidence. And when they start telling your story on their own, they trust it even more.
How to Become a Better Branded Storyteller
Brand stories are a powerful way to build trust. But how do you create an authentic story?
- Add personality
Brand stories should be centered with the brand personality and the personality of the writer.
- Keep your story simple
Simple stories are better. Science says so and experience confirms it.
- Focus on why your brand exists
Why does your brand exist? The answer should be a story like TOMS "one for one".
- Connect with your customers
Let your story show how you relate to your customers and how you understand them.
- Remember, customers buy your story, not just products
When a customer buys your product, they need to feel like they are buying part of your brand story.
- Let others tell your story
Encourage customers to share your story in their own words.
Stories are powerful. But don't get stuck in your story.
Remember, a story is a framework for a company's life. The story was not meant to create a trap, but to act as a catalyst. Some brands are so involved in their history that they neglect the value of their current activation. While you can honor your brand's legacy, you should still live in the present.
The great thing about a story is that it lives on. Real stories keep telling, keep going, and keep connecting with people. Keep your story alive by continuing to impress your customers and give them the best experience possible.
Your story will be the foundation of trust, but only a customer's personal experience will cement that trust in something that will last.
How will you tell the story of your brand?
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