When a business reaches a certain level of exposure, a key way to take the business to the next level is through effective branding. While most businesses understand the importance of brand recognition, they do not always realize the importance of incorporating a powerful and relevant story into their brand.
The most successful businesses are able to appeal to the psychological nature of their customers. The reason why so many businesses give away free things (SWAG) is that they understand how free giveaways encourage reciprocity in customers. Another aspect of human nature that businesses do not tap into enough in their branding and marketing efforts is the way that people use story telling to make sense of the world.
Stories Increase Loyalty
When brands are able to unearth their core story, they are able to endear themselves to their customers and create more customer loyalty. Loyal customers are more likely to become advocates who are likely to promote the brand through social media. Genuine supporters are much greater assets in a company’s branding efforts than paid sales representatives because they are convincing.
Good Stories are Spread
Stories are also easy to spread to others. They are memorable, so customers are more likely to spread stories to friends and family members. The good news is that every business has a story. In some cases, it is a story about how the business overcame all odds. In other cases, it is a story about why the business was created in the first place. With many small businesses, there is a family story or a personal story that helps put a face on the business.
Good Stories Have Conflict
Just like great works of literature, business stories are built on conflict. There is usually some sort of conflict in a story, even if the conflict is not obvious. For example, a small and family owned tool store might tell the story about how the owner loved tools, but didn’t know how to make a living talking to people all day about the best tools for a DIY project, until he realized that he could open a tool shop.
However, companies often develop other stories that they can harness as well, such as how a hardware store donated building supplies to a hurricane ravished area. These types of stories are easily shared on Facebook and Twitter and are also more likely to endear the company to its customers. The key is to look at the story and ask the question, “would I share this story on Facebook if this was not my business?”
Trying to pin down what makes a story sharable can be difficult even for seasoned marketers. Some elements that might make a story sharable might include:
• An odd or unexpected event or product that is hard to believe, but true
• Something that people have been waiting for, such as a video game release
• An act of heroism
• Emotional, funny, innovative or provocative stories
But this is only a small segment of what is possible. The key is to find a story that is genuine, easily shared through social media and that says what the business wants it to say about its brand.