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Is your message getting lost in the crowd and
fractured by social media sound bites?
Ever have a prospect or social media follower ask, "What is it that you actually do?"
If so, you have a brand storytelling problem.
YOU have a Brand Story to Tell and it's Time You told the right story to the right audience to guide people from
to BRAND ADVOCACY
What is brand storytelling
Brand Storytelling Guide
What is Brand Storytelling
Brand Storytelling is the story you tell about your brand, plus the story others tell about your brand, added to how others perceive your company's behaviours, choices, and values. In other words, your brand story is your reputation told using traditional storytelling techniques. Using story structure to share your message with your audience attracts the right customers because they identify with your brand.
Storytellers connect to a brand's market on a deeper level as they pull at audience's heartstrings and spark a fire in their bellies. We used to call the approach advertising, but that term is so Mad Men of the 50's, we created a new term to sound trendy and cutting edge. Contemporary marketers and advertisers would have you believe brand storytelling is new, but it isn't. If you ever saw Apple's 1984 commercial or the commercials playing on our TVs during the Cola wars, you'd know advertisers have always told emotional stories to impact audiences.
Today, the story isn’t told one way and brands do not control the narrative like they did back in advertising’s hay days. Now, brands are a part of a dialogue about who they are and what they provide to the marketplace, the other side of the conversation is the customer, who has a lot to say about what a brand means to them. Brand stories told in the digital realm have evolved as technology has changed and the process will continue to evolve. However, don't let the name change fool you.
Dive Deeper into the Definition of Brand Storytelling
I've searched out the Internet, asked business owners, storytelling marketers, and professionals what brand storytelling is and how a brand can make an impact on their audience. There is more than you think to telling a brand story, this article will give you a general idea of what it is and what you need to do to tell your brand's story.
There are many pieces and parts that come together to tell a bigger brand story. It is easy for all those pieces to end up disconnected, fracturing the brand story and leaving audience members confused about what you do and how you can help them. This is why you need a larger strategy that brings in different marketing theory, processes, and platforms.
You need to bring in content marketing, social media marketing, digital marketing, email marketing, SMS marketing, advertising, publicity, SEO, and different platforms to guide audiences from awareness to advocacy.
If you want to dive deeper into your brand story and how to tell it to the right audience, keep reading and at the end I'll let you know where to find more information to help you tell your specific story and how to become known for a topic, idea, or area of thought.
Most brand storytellers don't know how to tell a brand story audiences can resonate with because they cast the brand in the role of hero and swap out plot for lists of information.
What is the definition of Brand?
One of the things many brand specialists tell me is people come to the to get a logo because they don’t understand what a branding is or what the definition of the word brand is. This is a deep dive into what branding is and what business owners need to know about creating a brand.
To me. A company is an independent entity. A person has a personality and so does a company. Like a person has values, so does a company. Like a person has a voice, so does a company. Like a person has an image, so does a company. The brand is the essence of the company and their interaction with the marketplace. Things like logos and websites are the clothes the brand wears, not the brand itself.
How the Experts Define Brand
Seth Godin’s definition of brand describes it as “a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, put together, impact a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
Marty Neumeier’s definition in his book Brand A-Z, where he defines every word associated with Branding. "A Brand is a customer's perception of a product service or company, a corporate reputation."
Why Tell a Brand Story?
Brands need to tell stories to draw people in and captivate them. Studies show that our attention span is less than a goldfish, but this isn’t true. We have an attention span and can focus on things for longer than a New York minute. We just take a fraction of a second to determine if we want to pay attention to the thing in front of us, before moving onto the next interesting thing vying for our attention. With so many brands competing for eyeballs on a small screen, audiences have an infinite amount of content to cast aside when looking for something interesting. Discover what people are saying about why brand storytelling is the future
Do you want to learn more? Take the CreateAPeel Brand Storytelling Course
As branding guru Marty Neumeier says, a brand strategy is “a plan for the systematic development of brand in alignment with a business strategy.”
A brand strategy helps you understand who you are, what you do, and why people want to know you. The strategy is a map showing how you will tell people what you want to be known for.
At MarketAPeel, we peel the layers to get to the core of your story, the redefine it before putting the right layers back on to ensure you are telling the right story to the right audience.
After we’ve redefined your brand’s core meaning, we establish the brand’s guidelines to build bumpers along the information highway so your message is connected to the Brand’s core message. We don’t want to confuse your audience by telling them about some off in left field thing, which leaves them wondering what it is that you do.
The problem with bumpers and a set core message guideline, you can get board of telling the same stories over and over again until your audience screams - “Yeah I get it already move on.”
We ask questions to uncover stories you didn’t think of sharing. Those moments you forgot about but are relevant to your brand’s story. It is those moments that matter to our storytelling … not some blog post telling you about a topic, like brand strategy, to entice Google to make its way over to your website. - Like this one.
Depending on your brand, you may be able to personalise your brand so it tells stories your audience connects with. But that’s a different part of the brand storytelling story - so stay with me as I move through this huge topic to help you figure out what you want to be known for and how to get known for it.
Once we have those great personalised stories people like to engage with, we help you craft the stories to make them interesting. Ever hear someone tell you a story so full of details, you fell asleep with your eyes open and didn’t even realise they’d stopped talking. We don’t want you to be that brand, so we figure out what details to leave in, which to take out and how to structure it to hook them in.
Would you agree that people are visual and like to look at photos more than read the copy you painstakingly obsessed over?
Now comes the part you thought was branding, your image. The colours, logo, tagline, and artwork. We help you to identify which images will reflect your brand image and which ones will get you into hot water.
When it comes to your visual brand storytelling a picture really does say 1000 words and reflects your brand’s core identity. There are plenty of brands out there wearing masks and other facades - we believe your brand deserves to be known for who it is.
It’s time to get your brand out of the closet and into the spotlight and MarketAPeel is here to show you how to do just that!
If you want to get started on mapping out your own brand strategy, Lucidchart has easy to use tools to help you.
Do YOU want to hire a
BRAND STRATEGIST to help you define your brand story?
How Marketing tells Stories
How Marketing tells Business Stories
Brand storytelling for businesses is content marketing and encompasses:
Branding: The brand is the identity and image of the business. Branding tells business stories by defining the business' values, determining its image, voice, and persona. The character development happens in the definition of the brand.
Blogs: The bloggers tell personal brand stories and business stories by writing articles on a regular basis and posting them onto a website or blog site.
Books: Publishers who help professionals and experts write and publish their books tell an in depth story about why they are an expert in their field or a thought leader in their industry.
e-Books and Digital Magazines: Brands who don't want to sell a whole book of content and would rather send audiences content on a regular basis can create e-books and digital magazines.
Copywriting: The copywriters tell the business story with the objective of getting buy in and advertising the brand as the best solution to a problem.
Content Marketing: The content marketers tell a brand story by creating multi media content and posting it on a variety of platforms to drive traffic from one stage of the funnel to the next one.
Personal Branding: People who tell their stories online to create a name for themselves as either influencers, experts, or thought leaders. Professionals create a personal brand to build trust as the provider of choice in the marketplace.
Pitches: Whether it is a sales pitch or a pitch to investors the presentation needs to tell a story that the audience will be interested in so they will want to either buy or invest by the end.
Podcasting: Either a business can create a show to build a following for their brand or an individual can build their own brand by consistently producing episodes of their show. People who are guests on podcasts increase brand awareness.
SEO: Search engine optimizers research results to find out what people are searching for, what they want to know about and then manage the project to ensure the content is there and the site follows the SEO best practices.
Social Media Marketing: These platforms enable businesses and individuals to create sound bites of their stories and tell them to the marketplace with daily postings.
Webinars and Events: Events enable brands to talk to people who are interested in what they do and what they have to tell them. Many events teach audiences something and help them to learn how to transition to what they want.
Brand Storytelling is Content Marketing
Content creators, like Shannon Peel of MarketAPeel, tell stories using different media to ensure they are speaking to their audience in the manner their audience prefers. Some people like to watch videos, others like to read copy, most enjoy the stories photos tell us and then there are infographics to lead us through a visual representation of a story. By taking a multimedia content creation approach to your brand storytelling, you are able to reach people where they want to be, mix it up to keep from becoming repetitive, and make a bigger impact by matching the story to the right content media.
How MarketAPeel Helps You tell Your Brand Story
MarketAPeel Brand Storytelling Agency: We work with you to define your brand story to communicate what you want to be known for in the marketplace. Then we create content to tell the story and build out your digital footprint to meet your customers along their buying journey.
MarketAPeel's Brand Storytelling Coaching Program: CreateAPeel members are provided with coaching to help guide you as you define your story and tell it to the marketplace by creating content and building your digital footprint.
Do it Self Brand Storytelling Information: The MarketAPeel platform is filled with information to help you learn how to tell your brand story to the marketplace and build out your digital footprint.
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Why Brand Story Marketing Works
Using brand storytelling in marketing works because it cuts through the noise by connecting with audiences on a personal level.
In personal brand storytelling audiences find you because they like your story
In business brand storytelling you find audiences and tell their story to them
You tell the audience their story and how your business can solve their problem by telling them a story that gets them to re-experience the problem and see the solution - your solution to their problem.
The indices (details) of the story enable people to interpret the meaning of the story by relating their experiences with the story being told. Indices are the details people can relate to. This is why knowing which details to include in the story is important to ensure you are attracting the right audience and connecting with them.
Let’s say I was writing for a company and they wanted their audience to be filled with 30 something single mothers, I’d add details specific to their situation and experiences to ensure they related with the story and other people didn’t. I’d add sounds of kids playing, or maybe whining for ice cream, set up the sprinkler in the back yard. Probably something about so much to do around the house even though it’s hot and they are tired. Probably wishing there was someone else who could mow the lawn as they sat drinking a cold beverage. Now, I have more indices to qualify the audience and I want to go out and tell stories about that experience because my client sells lawn care services.
Knowing the audience is important because the more focused the audience, the more common threads you can identify, the more details you can add to enhance the story and you can draw the individuals deeper into the story.
Listen to the full story of how to market to audiences using business brand storytelling structure - click the image.
Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of telling your brand story online? You aren't alone many people don't do anything because they are unsure about what to do or they've given up because there were no results to their brand storytelling efforts. When it comes to content marketing or brand storytelling people are so inundated with content they don't know where to start. This is why I created a program to help people like you build a strong foundation for your content marketing campaigns and build your brand one story at a time.
Why Storytelling Works
Brand Storytelling Quotes
“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.”
—Jimmy Neil Smith, Director of the International Storytelling Centre
‘We would be nothing without our story.’
– Richard Branson.
‘A great salesperson knows how to tell a story in which the product is the hero.’
– Peter Guber, Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment.
“If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger.”
—Jay Baer, Renowned Keynote Speaker, Author, Marketing Expert
“Every business has a story to tell.”
—Jay Baer, Renowned Keynote Speaker, Author, Marketing Expert
An SEO Guide
Before You Create Your Brand Story Content-
In the case of a transactional website, more traffic does not necessarily mean better results. When the wrong people show up on your website, their behaviours could adversely affect your sites search engine ranking (SEO) by increasing bounce rates and decreasing the average time on your site. It is more advantageous to have less traffic that will stick around, explore, and convert by completing the transaction. To determine the best way to get the right people to your website, I asked people who actively work on improving website metrics and create content for their companies, here’s what they said.
The Before you Create Content List
Research your competitions content
Determine how your audience talks
Know questions people ask
How people use the Internet
What topics are people searching
Create a content plan based on keywords
Determine channels, PPC, Social, SEO
Install a heat map on your site’s pages
Find Influencers to work with
Give a survey to find the platforms they use
Know where your touch points are
Read the Advice from over 70 SEO, brand storytelling & Content creating experts or listen to the podcast
Before You Start
How to Write Good SEO Content
Let's face it, the reason you are reading this is you want to get more traffic to your website by writing the right content. When it comes to writing your brand story on your website, you need to consider SEO keywords. By choosing keywords you want to be known for, you will be able to tell a more concise brand story.
I was quoted in that will give you 9 tips on how to write blog content that converts. click the link to learn more.
The BrandAPeel: Brand Storytelling in the Digital Age
Learning about SEO to Rank for
To know what to write about, you need to know which words people are typing into the search engines and that takes research. I started studying SEO back in 2005 by taking the Moz courses and following Rand Fishkin. Over the years, I'd dip a toe back into the SEO waters to learn how Google changed the rules to improve searchers experiences and to penalise those who tried to game the system. With every major update two things consistently remained of top importance – Keywords and Backlinks.
Sitting here in my bubble overlooking downtown Vancouver, I couldn’t even start to guess which words people were typing to find people who created content to tell brand stories, let alone if anyone was searching. Which words would bring me the traffic I needed to obtain clients who wanted their own digital magazines and readers for those magazines?
The Answer is Keyword Research.
Back in 2005, Moz.com was the only game in town when it came to understanding SEO and which keywords mattered to people. Now there are lots of different sites providing limited research results for zero dollars and in-depth results for a monthly SaaS fee. Each system has its own strengths, ranking systems, and features.
Thanks to these tools I felt I had a good understanding of backlinks and where to go to find out how I could get a backlink on a quality site. It also gave me the ability to check the Domain Authority of a site before adding my site to ensure I was protecting my Domain Authority Ranking. After all, if I suddenly was blacklisted or finding my ranking slipping because of being listed on high spam, low ranked, sites, it would be devastating. I’m putting in hours of work in research, writing, publishing, linking, applying, searching, and more. The last thing I want to do is blow it up with a bomb because I blindly added my website to whichever site I could find.
This is why it is so important to be careful about whom you hire to get you backlinks. The guy may be cheap, but does he know what he’s doing? Ask questions before you hire to make sure they are putting you on reputable sites and not just on their own spam sites.
I have a client who has a number of new platforms with low Domain Authority due to the newness of the domains and the lack of content. One of their platforms is an online directory with a domain authority of 3 and they are getting significant sign ups from previously unknown businesses. The only reason I can uncover is a paid for backlinks SEO company found the site and are systematically adding all their clients to this low ranked site. This is a sign of a person who doesn't know what they are doing.
Another example of SEO paid for backlinks is the sudden amount of spam my personal page's forum received, driving up the short term domain authority, which of course fell once the spam rate of the site began to rise. I didn't have time to manage the site and in the end took the domain down off it and froze the forum until I can rebuild the site.
Who is the HERO of a Business Story?
Every story has a hero, but every hero does not belong in your brand story. Since you don't have a lot of time to gain the attention of your audience and you aren't creating a re-make of Tolstoy's War and Peace, have one hero in each of the stories you tell about your brand.
When you tell the story about your life, is it one story or is it a bunch of stories woven together to create a larger epic? Sometimes you are the hero in the story and sometimes you are the supporting character. In some stories, you'll even be the antagonist or villain. Your brand's story is no different. It is made up of lots of different stories, which tie together to weave a tapestry of its life, so it is important you know which type of story you want to tell and which type of hero you want your brand to be, otherwise the tapestry will be a mess of different colours, shapes, textures, and materials.
You have to determine who will fill the role of hero.
This is where traditional storytelling, personal brand storytelling diverge from business brand storytelling. And I’ll explain what I mean. When writing a novel, I either write in the first person or the third person depending on the experience I want the reader to have with the characters.
When I write in the first person, I’m putting the audience in the role of voyeur. It’s like they are on stage with the hero watching the story unfold without any extra details beyond what the hero can see or know. The hero and the storyteller are one and the same. The storyteller only knows what the hero knows about the story and the audience experiences the story through the hero’s point of view.
This is where Personal Brand Storytelling happens because the person is both the hero and the storyteller. The audience’s role is to watch the story unfold.
When I write in the third person, I am putting a storyteller between the audience and the hero enabling me to tell the audience things the hero doesn’t know. I’ve removed the audience from the stage and put them back into the seats to watch scenes unfold with different character grouping on the stage. The audience experiences the story from the storyteller’s point of view and will know more about the story than the hero does.
In the third person I have three separate people in each role hero, storyteller, audience. Oftentimes, this is point of view people use when telling a business brand story. To make a bigger impact, you need to see the audience differently.
When it comes to business brand storytelling the hero of the story and the audience are one and the same. There is nothing between the audience and the hero because the audience is the hero. The storyteller guides the hero, who is also the individual in the audience, through their own story. This is the only place writing a story in the second person works. So, you want to use YOU language.
In traditional storytelling and personal brand storytelling the audience is passive, meaning they watch the story unfold and don’t affect the narrative or the hero’s journey. They may engage with the story with a like, a comment, or applause but this action does not change the story. The story exists regardless if they are watching or not.
In business brand storytelling the audience is active. They are the one with the problem that needs to be overcome and will transform as they journey through the story. The audience knows more than the storyteller about the story and adds details from their own experiences, which the storyteller does not know. They determine the hero’s transformational journey, direction, and without them, there is no story. They are an active member of the narrative.
They click to go one way or the other through the digital world and steer their customer journey from awareness of a problem to advocacy of the solution. And it is the job of the brand storyteller to ensure the brand is considered as the preferred solution when it comes time for the audience member to make a decision.
There are a number of story and hero archetypes to help you choose which story you want your brand to tell.
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Storytelling Hero Archetypes
The Classical Hero is the romantic hero who possesses a quality ordinary people don't have, a talent, exceptional good looks, money, or intelligence. Examples of a classical hero in storytelling are Harry Potter,
The Epic Hero is the classic Greek heroes of tragedy in legendary lore and mythology. They are larger than life men of good character whom people admire and this brings them fortune and success. Examples of an epic hero in storytelling are Odysseus, Lancelot,
The Iconic Hero does not change from the beginning of the story to the end. They are known by their own brand of character, behaviours and choices. The do not grow as individuals during the story, though they drive the story forward they are the same at the beginning as they were at the end. When in a series, they are the exact same in every book and there is no self reflection, no growth, no understanding. Examples of iconic heroes in storytelling are James Bond, The Lone Ranger, Optimus Prime, Sherlock Holmes
The Tragic Hero was defined by Aristotle in the tale of Troy. This hero is flawed and must evoke pity or fear in the audience because they are fated to die or be ruined. Examples of the tragic hero in storytelling are MacBeth, Romeo,
The Everyone Hero is the ordinary individual that we identify with. Unlike the classical hero, the everyday hero has no extraordinary qualities. They are usually os sound moral judgement and selfless.
The Reluctant Hero is similar to the anti hero in that they are forced to be the ones to step up and act. The difference is their morality. The reluctant hero saves the day because of a moral code, though they do not want to be the one called upon. Examples of the reluctant here in storytelling are Wolverine, Shrek, Captain Jack,
The Anti-Hero is not seen as a hero due to their lack of character or other flaws, which lead others to see them as villains more than heroes. By the end of the story, they've saved the day despite themselves. Examples of the antihero in storytelling are Jay Gatsby, Lady MacBeth,
The UnHero an everyday person who bumbles along and does little to elicit good in the end, even if they do elicit change, save the day, or move the story forward they make unethical decisions and actions to save those they care about. Examples of an unhero in storytelling are Darth Vader, Inspector Gadget, Walter White,
The Liminal Hero is caught between two states, elements, or spaces. Teenagers are liminal characters because they are no longer children but they are not yet adults, they are in the inbetween. The supernatural genre and YA genres are filled with the liminal heroes who have limited influence in the world around them. Examples of a liminal hero are Spiderman, Casper,
The Romantic Hero is from the romantic period of literature and they reject the established societies rules and expectations. They are plagued by inner turmoil and during the story they reject society's authority and turn away from what they are expected to do. Often referred to as the misfit hero. Mr. Darcy, Katniss Everdeen,
The Byronic Hero is based on Lord Byron himself, as the first real celebrity with a personal brand. This hero is a sub-category of the Romantic Hero as they are from the same era. The difference is that while romantic heroes are better off in their rejection of society, the Byronic hero is hurt and rejected by society. The Romantic the hero rejects society and Byronic are rejected by society. Examples of a byronic hero are Loki, Mr. Rochester, and Heathcliff
The Willing Hero knows he is a hero and works hard to be the protector of society. They are willing to take on the responsibility of hero as it defines their identity. Examples of the willing hero in storytelling are Hercules,
The Super Hero possesses a quality that ordinary people don't have, however, unlike the classical hero who is still part of world they are placed in, a Super Heroes quality is so much greater is they are considered outside of the society they protect. Examples of a super hero in storytelling are Superman, Thor, Wolverine