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what is brand storytelling

Recent 30 Dec 2020

Think Like a Novelist: Prepare to Amp Up Your Brand Story

by Lifted Logic

Not to sound corny or anything, but life is all about stories. From the movies you watch to sharing gossip with friends, we are literally surrounded by elements of storytelling. A great story can intrigue curiosity and incite emotions, which is exactly why we love them so much. The thing is, many marketers don’t even think about elements of storytelling when they work. 

Yeah, because I’m trying to sell a product, not the next New York Times bestseller. 

I totally get that, but also… I kind of don’t. Here’s what I mean: as a marketer, no, you’re not aiming to create some literary masterpiece, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the story. Want to hear the honest truth? Your target audience doesn’t really care about your company. You could think your cupcake shop is the best of the best, but how are you going to sell that when literally every cupcake shop says the same thing?

You. Tell. Your. Freaking. Story. 

People care about why you do what you do; people care about who you are. And yes, cupcakes are great and all, but anyone with an oven, ingredients, and a decent recipe can make them at home—or at least, that’s what your potential reader is going to think. (We understand there are nuances that go into a perfectly crafted cupcake.) It is your job as a marketer to pull your audience in with your unique story so they want to eat your cupcakes over anyone else’s.

In this series, we’ll going into detail about what is brand storytelling and how you can use it to kick ass in the biz world.

Part II: Building Strong Characters for Your Brand Story

Part III: The Plot Really Matters

Part IV: Completing Your Brand Story With a Strong Theme

Elements of storytelling

Not all stories are good stories. You could open a book, become disinterested in .5 seconds, and never read those pages again. So when you’re crafting your brand story, you should focus on the elements that make a story great. Keep in mind, I’m only touching on the three basic elements; they’re definitely not the only ones. 

  1. Strong characters
  2. Plot
  3. Theme

Okay, so you’re probably wondering how the hell this works with branding? I mean, no one is making up characters or having some action-packed plot, right? I get it. It’s a little weird to think about, but I promise all these elements can translate to marketing. 

Once upon a time… how to start crafting your story

So first, throw away bullsh*t ideas like making up a story because you think it’ll be interesting. If you didn’t start your cupcake shop (yes, I’m sticking with it… I’m hungry) because it was your great grandmother’s dying wish, then don’t say that. Crafting a story isn’t the same as making up a story. 

To start, think about your audience. You want to structure your brand’s story around who you’re targeting. Again, that doesn’t mean come up with some illustrious lie, though I’d applaud you for creativity (then give you the side eye). It means finding elements of your story that would resonate with your audience the most. Think about it: a science fiction writer isn’t going to pitch an alien invasion story to a publisher who only likes cozy mysteries. It would literally be the most pointless thing ever. 

So let’s talk about how to figure out the kind of stories your audience likes. 

How to find the right story for your audience 

You could go on a whim and do the whole trial-and-error thing like a lot of people do. My rating on that method: 10/10 if you love wasting time and energy. Now, if you want to make an effective plan without spending loads of money on lackluster branding and marketing, then you should look at the numbers.

Data tells its own story, and if you know how to interpret, it’s a great tool to help you get started. First, you can look at your previous branding attempts and marketing campaigns. Which ones led to the most leads or brought in the most people? Once you have made a list of your most successful campaigns, take a look at the message and search for commonalities. 

You may be surprised to find most of the attempts that resonated with your audience have similar messages. From there, you can create a brand story that aligns with those messages. I’m going to be real honest—this’ll probably take some time (but it won’t be a waste of time… catch the difference?), but you don’t want to rush the process. Seriously, don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. 

While past analytics definitely help, you can also start collecting new data. Customer surveys can actually help a lot. That’s exactly why they’re still alive and thriving. Your current customers, clients, or whatever else you call the people who pay your bills, are a great source to gauge how well your message works. But here’s the deal—don’t bog them down with some long ass survey that goes on and on for no reason. They don’t want to go through that, and you probably don’t want to write it. 

You should definitely tweak this to your needs, but there’s one question that can lead you to the answers you need: Why did you choose us over someone else?

Beyond that, you can ask a few more questions, but the why is key. This allows you to understand why people like you. If you notice the same answer over and over again, for instance they could love your dedication to family, you can use that answer as a framework for your story. 

Once you have your framework, then you can begin crafting. Storytelling allows you to separate yourself from competitors and show how you’re different. 

Let’s do an example… and yes, it’s the cupcake shop. Imagine there are dozens of bakeries in the area that sell quality cupcakes that are just as delectable and mouth-watering as yours. That means customers aren’t necessarily choosing a place based on location or quality. So, what else you got? This is where you pull people in with unique storytelling-inspired branding. 

So let’s say you’ve already done audience research to find which stories resonate with them the most and why your current customers choose your shop over others. From that research, here’s the list you’ve created of why they feel your shop is special: 

    • Weekly social media giveaways
    • Fun, playful atmosphere great for kids
    • Customizable cupcake flavors
    • Dedication to helping local charities and community involvement
    • Decades-old family-owned business people know and love

Write that list down (or memorize it if you’re a genius), and we’re going to pull this out later to continue building our cupcake shop’s story. 

Head over to Part II to keep learning about brand storytelling

We’ll be the first to say that creating a brand story doesn’t come easy, and there’s nothing wrong with seeking outside help! Don’t forget to read the rest of the series.

Part II: Building Strong Characters for Your Brand Story

Part III: The Plot Really Matters

Part IV: Completing Your Brand Story With a Strong Theme

Whether you’re a new company, want to continue your story, or are completely rebranding, Lifted Logic has the tools and expertise you need to succeed. 

We don’t BS you into quick fixes and fad techniques. Instead, we transform your short- and long-term goals into effective web design, custom branding, SEO, digital marketing, photo and videos, social media campaigns, and more. 

Get started today by calling 816.298.7018 or using our free online cost calculator. For more tips on all things branding, web design & development, content creation, and more, subscribe to our newsletter to stay in-the-know. 

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About the Author

Lifted Logic

Lifted Logic is a team of creative writers, designers, developers, and photographers who specialize in digital storytelling. As a leading web design company in Kansas City, Lifted Logic works with hundreds of small, medium, and large businesses across the country every year.