The digital arena is fast-paced and abundantly automated. As data flies back and forth across the ether between business to business and business to consumer, brands can quickly become part of the noise and fail to make meaningful connections with potential customers. To stand out in the hyper-competitive digital space, companies have an opportunity to engage with consumers on a deeper, more emotional level, paving the way to a long-term relationship built on a keen sense of brand awareness and a rich attachment to the brand. Brand storytelling can help your business connect and communicate in a manner that is attractive and lasting. Why? Because storytelling is unique to the human experience, and we crave stories no less because we’re digesting them online.
Automated messages and SMS texts have their place in the savvy marketer’s bag of tools and resources, but unless they can tell a good story, they’ll never resonate emotionally with customers unless they can tell a good story. The earliest stories, like those told by Homer to a crowd around an ancient fire, weren’t even written down--not for centuries. People just remembered them. That’s a lesson that businesses today can learn from. People don’t forget a story that’s worth remembering.
Today’s consumers naturally aren’t looking for a business to recreate The Odyssey for them, but they are inclined to take notice of brands that engage them with storytelling. Forbes recently reported that a narrative describing a brand’s challenges, history, and successes might actually be more memorable and “real” for customers than facts. Storytelling, according to the report, can be “up to 22 times more memorable than facts” for customers. With brand storytelling, your business can differentiate itself from its numerous competitors, and that can result in substantial profitability on many different levels ranging from increased brand awareness to a boost in sales.
Making sales is essential for a business’s success, and while any sale is a good thing, a sale that’s enhanced by customer affinity or brand loyalty is even better. Many businesses can’t simply depend on one-off sales. They need a steady stream of sales to remain successful. So, it makes fiscal sense to cultivate long-term relationships with customers so that they choose your business over and over again.
Digital coupons are lovely, but it often takes more than sales incentives to build a loyal customer base. Today, your customers have an inbox that’s chock full of businesses providing them with coupons, deals, and big sales. As they scroll down their list of messages, you want your brand to stand out. With good storytelling and a steady stream of content to drive those stories home, your brand can bank on an improved rate of engagement from customers. It’s your story along with your great products and services that attract customers. And, let’s face it, you want them to tell their friends, “I love that store.” It’s emotional, and you need to interact with customers as much as possible on that emotional level.
As your business diversifies its content and gets into the routine of communicating with its audience, it has the opportunity to tell many different stories. Sure, your brand story is key and a core narrative for you, but your customers have stories too. Why not steer the narrative to what they need from time to time? Your company sells shirts made with high-quality imported cotton. They’re great shirts; you know this to be true because as the company owner, you them yourself. But you’ll sell a lot more of these shirts when you explain how their classic cuts and styles are “just like the dress shirts our grandfathers wore each day for work.”
All the products and services we sell are just ‘stuff’ unless we can put them in the context of a story so that they connect to our customers in some positive way. Big box stores get a lot of flack for their ‘cheap’ merchandise, but the minute you show your customers what it means to get an affordable deal on a new tool to fix their plumbing or a new pair of gym shoes to replace a child’s torn-up pair, those items aren’t cheap anymore. They matter.
Those stories are out there. Now go tell them. Or, better still, partner with us at Stretch Creative and let our professional writers help you craft your stories. The reason why storytelling is such a potent tool for sellers is that it’s not a gimmick. It’s not a trend either. Storytelling works because it reminds us of what we care about. When you’re trying to win customers, you can’t simply tell them you’re better than the rest, you have to show them, and storytelling is among the most reliable ways to show them who you are, what you value, and why they should engage with you.
Chris Reid is the Founder and CEO of Stretch Creative. He is an industry veteran who's helped thousands of writers and worked with emerging brands to Fortune 100. He started Stretch to create a better experience for all creatives—treated fairly and given the support they need to grow as incredible creatives and people.