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Storytelling Through Your Brand

Does your brand tell a story?

Storytelling is one of the oldest and most powerful forms of communication. It's a way to connect with people emotionally and build familiarity. And it's an effective marketing tool that businesses can use to connect audiences to their brand.

There are many ways to tell a story, but all stories have a few key elements: characters, conflict, and resolution. Your brand is the protagonist in business, and your customers are the characters. Your products or services are the conflicts, and the resolution is the benefit your customers get from using them.

To effectively use storytelling in your marketing, you need to understand how to craft a story that will resonate with your audience.

How businesses build a narrative

Your brand narrative is the story of your business. It's the sum of all the experiences your customers have with your company.

A strong brand narrative will:

- Connect with your customers emotionally

- Build familiarity and trust

- Differentiate you from your competition

Businesses build narratives around their brand by creating content that is consistent with their story and connecting with their audience through multiple channels. They also use storytelling techniques, like characters and conflict, to make their story more relatable and engaging.

Establishing a narrative that's aligned with your vision and values

So how do you set a brand narrative aligned with your vision and values? Start by understanding your audience. Who are they? What do they care about? What are their needs and wants?

Once you understand your audience, you can start to craft a story that resonates with them. Every good story has a beginning, middle, and end. So, begin by mapping out the critical elements of your story.

For example, let's say you're a clothing brand. Your story might go something like this:

- The beginning: You were founded on the belief that everyone deserves to look and feel their best.

- The middle: You offer a wide range of fashionable, affordable clothes that help people express their individual styles.

- The end: You make it easy for people to find the clothes they need when they need them.

Once you've mapped out the key elements of your story, you can start to craft messaging and visuals that support it. Every touchpoint your customers have with your brand should reinforce your narrative.

For example, if your story is about making people feel their best, your website, social media, and in-store experience should reflect that. Your messaging should be positive and uplifting, your visuals should be inspiring, and your customer service should be friendly and helpful.

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Understanding who it is you're talking to

The best way to connect with your audience is to be authentic. Be true to who you are as a business, and don't try to be something you're not.

Your customers can see through inauthenticity, so it's essential to be genuine in your storytelling.

Some tips for being authentic:

- Be transparent about your successes and failures

- Be vulnerable

- Be real

The next step is to craft a story that resonates with your audience. You need to understand their needs, wants, and pain points to do this. What are they struggling with? What do they want more of in their lives? How can your products or services help them achieve their goals?

To do this, you must understand exactly who you're talking to. That means creating buyer personas for your target audience.

Buyer personas are fictional characters that represent your ideal customer(s). They're based on accurate data and research and help you understand your audience on a deeper level.

Once you've created your buyer personas, you can start to craft messaging and visuals that speak to their needs and wants.

Our message in their language

For a story to resonate, it needs to be relatable. It needs to speak to your audience's specific needs, wants, and pain points.

The best way to do this is to use the language they use. What words and phrases do they use to describe their problems? What words do they use to search for solutions?

You can find this out by doing some keyword research. Look for your audience's words and phrases when they talk about their needs and wants.

You can also look at your website's search data to see what terms people are using to find your site. And you can use social listening tools to see what people are saying about your brand online.

Once you've gathered this data, you can start to craft messaging that speaks to your audience's specific needs.

Some things to keep in mind:

- Use simple, easy-to-understand language

- Avoid industry jargon

- Be clear and concise

Consistency of storytelling builds familiarity

Your brand story should be consistent across all touchpoints. But that doesn't mean it has to be boring. In fact, consistency is one of the essential aspects of compelling storytelling.

It helps build trust with your audience and creates a sense of familiarity. And when people are familiar with your brand, they're more likely to do business with you.

So how do you create a consistent story?

The first step is to define your brand voice. This is the tone and personality of your storytelling. It should be consistent across all channels, from your website to your social media to your email marketing.

Your brand voice should be reflective of your overall story. If your story is about making people feel their best, then your brand voice should be positive and uplifting.

Some things to keep in mind when defining your brand voice:

- Be consistent across all channels

- Be true to your story

- Avoid being too sales-y

Once you've defined your brand voice, it's essential to be consistent with it. That means using the same language, tone, and style in all your communications.

It's also essential to keep your story consistent. That means using the same characters, plot, and setting in all your content.

One way to do this is to create a brand style guide. This document outlines how you want your story to be told. It should include guidelines for everything from your tone and voice to your visuals and messaging.

Your brand style guide should be a living document that you refer to often. And it should be updated regularly as your story evolves.

View case study

Creating recognisable trademarks of your brand

The visual elements of your story are just as important as the words. Humans are wired to respond to visuals.

That's why it's so important to create recognisable trademarks of your brand. These are visual elements that people can associate with your story.

Some examples of recognisable trademarks of brands are:

- Nike's swoosh

- McDonald's golden arches

- Apple's bitten apple

- Coca-Cola's red and white label

Think about some of the most recognisable brands in the world. What visual elements come to mind?

Now think about your brand. What visual elements can you create to help people recognise and remember your story? You must continue being consistent with your visual elements across all marketing channels, from your website to your social media to your ads.

Partnering with talent to help build your story

Finding like-minded individuals or talent who can help you build and evolve your story is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success. Influencers, coaches and content creators can help you take your story to the next level.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when partnering with talent:

- Make sure they're a good fit for your brand. You want to make sure that their values align with your own.

- Do your research. Read their blog, listen to their podcast, and watch their videos. This will help you get a better sense of their style and whether or not they're a good fit for your brand.

- Be clear about what you want. When you're reaching out to talent, be clear about what you're looking for. This will help them understand if they're a good fit for your project.

- Be prepared to pay. Most talent will expect to be paid for their time and efforts. Be ready to offer a fair rate for their services.

Building an emotional connection with your audience is one of the most important things you can do as a brand. And partnering with talent is one of the best ways to do it. Why? Because they can help you take your story to the next level.

When you're looking for talent, make sure you find someone who is a good fit for your brand and who can help you craft a story that will resonate with your audience. With their help, you can create an emotional connection that will last a long time.

FQA

What are the benefits of investing in a Design System?

 

Design Systems can save your organization thousands of hours of work, especially when you’re building a large SaaS product. UI components and design elements can easily be replicated so that teams can use the same components over and over, without needing to design them from scratch. It also allows your design team to change a single component in a matter of seconds, not hours.

 

For example, let’s say you’re going through a redesign and a designer needed to change the button from red to blue. Without a design system, this designer would need to change that button color manually across all of your screens that have that button. At a small startup, that may only take an hour or two to do; but if you’re scaling an enterprise SaaS product, that single change can take days. With a design system, that designer will change the color once, and the system will automatically reflect the change across every screen in seconds.

 

Design system also serves as a single source of truth that allows for scalability when designing new features--it prevents inconsistencies, design debt (and/or technical debt), and misinterpretations. So when you have a product team with multiple designers, they are all working out of the same component library, instead of their own individual references. This benefit then trickles down to development handoff--if a developer had already created a red button, they won’t need to re-develop that same button.

 

What’s the difference between a Design System and a Style Guide?

 

Style guides are your foundation for your brand identity. They set the tone, voice, and language of your brand by establishing key design elements, such as typography, iconography, and colors. Style guides only serve as one part of the Design System.

 

Design Systems, on the other hand, lay down the principles on how all these different elements should work together and how they should or shouldn’t be combined. For example, if a button is always blue, but then is red when placed inside a chart, the Design System will explain as to why there is this inconsistency of design elements in certain instances.

 

Design Systems are also always evolving, unlike a Style Guide. A Style Guide usually has a standard number of design elements that never change unless an organization goes through a major re-branding; however, a Design System is expected to evolve as the product scales because of new interactions and UX that is involved.

 

Why are so many product teams releasing Design Systems these days?

 

If your organization does not utilize a Design System, then it is leaving money on the table. Design Systems can directly impact your bottom line--it saves thousands of work hours that would otherwise be used creating repeated design elements that already exists. It ensures that your entire product team and organization are working from the same single source of truth, which is essential for scaleability and consistency. Without it, your team is stuck doing busy work fixing the inconsistencies.

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