A good story is worth telling. However, every good story has a number of elements in the narrative. Without structure and these elements in a story, it will most likely not resonate with your audience. Here are the basic pillars and a few elements of good brand storytelling.
The Four Pillars of Storytelling
- People connect with people. These are the characters who give your audience someone to relate to. Therefore, use the notion of empathy to help move your audience.
- Place is where your story happens. It grounds the story in reality. Place is more than just a backdrop—it’s a way to let your story speak for itself, display your character’s authenticity, and foster trust with the audience.
- Purpose is what your story says to the audience. It’s what you want your reader to take away from the story. By having a well-defined Purpose, you take on one clear vision that resonates throughout your brand’s story.
- Plot is the structure of your story. It allows you to maximise the impact of your story by creating an emotional pathway. That emotional path is defined by a beginning, middle, and ending.
All together, the 4 Pillars combine with the goals of connection, authenticity, meaning, and engagement. While using the 4 P’s to plan your story, try adding the elements of drama, authenticity, personality, caring, and graphic images into the narrative.
Everyone loves a great story and every great story has some form of drama. Without drama or conflict, there really is no story. However, this drama needs to feel organic to the situation. It needs to be genuine. This is where the real research, in the form of interviews, history, and data analysis, comes in.
Having already mentioned that your conflict needs to be genuine, you need to ensure that this authenticity filters into the actual story as well. In telling your story, make sure that you tell one that is true. If you tell a lie or make something up, someone will find out and it can damage your brand.
When it comes to the creation of stories, you need to ensure that whoever reads it will be able to relate on a personal level. The reason for this is simply because a story with personality will always resonate better with a customer than an impersonal one. Remember that in selling products, its people who are driving the action.
This makes it that much more important to ensure that the story is personal. Personalise the protagonist of your story. Make him or her seem real enough so that the audience feels a stake in (and wants to know) what happens next. By doing so, you are taking a brand or service to the level of the consumer and in so doing, ensuring that they can relate. And once they can relate, they’ll be that much more likely to trust.
Whether emotionally, intellectually or aesthetically, you need to make your audience care. This is important in our world, where people tend to gloss over posts and skim through content.
Why should they be interested in the story? How is it relevant to your audience? Does your story touch on themes beyond your product or service such as sustainability, free speech, climate change? Make this clear in your mind when crafting the story, because if it isn’t clear to you, it will not be clear to the reader.
A picture is worth a thousand words and videos all the more. They support your written stories and vice-versa so try to include images or video clips that support the written words. The reason for this is that short-term and long-term memory stores information in chunks, but the former is limited.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your audience stores information in their long-term memory is to pair concepts with meaningful images. Visuals help readers make sense out of the content and direct attention, increasing the likelihood that they will remember the material.
There’s nothing wrong with creating new words, provided that they make sense and their meaning is well explained to the reader. By doing so, you not only surprise and entertain your readers, but you can also build your brand by using cleverly coined words and phrases, even turning them into unique hashtags to promote your business.
A hashtag—written with a # symbol—is used to index keywords or topics. Hashtags have become a powerful tool to increase engagement, organise content, and connect users on various social media platforms. But use them sparingly.
In summary, good brand storytelling is more than simple processes, methods, or techniques. It’s described as an art, hence the “art” of storytelling. Storytelling is a trial-and-error process of mastery, and — like art — it requires creativity, vision, skill, and practice.
But what if you don’t have the time, patience, or resources to craft good brand stories? Well, there are a lot of highly experienced freelance writers and journalists out there who specialise in industry specific storytelling. Browse through their portfolio of work samples and choose one that resonates with your brand or industry.
Header image by Comfreak from Pixabay.