Brand storytelling has been used in advertising for decades, but these days it is an increasingly important marketing tool to differentiating your design brand from your competitors as well as connecting with your customers and clients on an emotional level. If you want to build a successful brand, making your customer as the main character in your brand storytelling, not your product or service, is key.
If you are a design brand, how can you use brand storytelling as a strategy?
Firstly, let’s look at what stories you can tell. Instead of thinking about your products or services as you main marketing message, we need to start with identifying the emotion that customers feel or look for in your products and services. From seeking inspiration, aspiring to a certain lifestyle, looking for practicality, empowerment or transformation, good brand stories connect with audiences that encapsulate at least one emotional connector.
Understanding what makes your customer tick (their values, wants and needs), you can then create relatable stories that help you connect through these emotional needs. The aim is to identify the problem customers have ( functional and emotional), how they feel about it, and then use storytelling and different narratives to communicate the solution (which is your product or service, or your brand as whole).
For example, if you are an interior design business that specialises in residential projects, show your potential clients how your unique design process or special expertise can transform their home life, considering individual needs of each family member and their lifestyle, and how it can help them achieve better work-life balance. One good example is an interior design studio Jolie, that specialises in creating sensory design that focuses on individual human behaviour and sensory needs in commercial and hospitality environments.
If you are a furniture lifestyle store that specialises in curating colourful and vibrant products, focus on how these pieces can bring joy to your customers’ homes and how practical they are for modern family life. One brand that does this really well is Graham & Green, a family lifestyle business built around exploring and traveling the world, and bringing unique finds to their customers that bring them joy.
How to structure a good brand story campaign
To achieve a highly successful marketing campaign through storytelling, the campaign should have the following elements:
This point is the most crucial one. It is the reason why we stop and pay attention to the campaign and the story it communicates. It needs to be something powerful. Understanding your customer inside out will help you define what kind of trigger will be most effective. Some brands use influencers or celebrities, others play on our problems and weaknesses, or use strong storytelling visuals. Analyse your customer and come up with triggers that create the biggest impact.
This point is about WHAT COULD BE, HOW WOULD I FEEL? It is about the improvement in my life as a customer. It is about you, as a brand, painting the picture for me as your customer. Help me visualise my dream or aspiration. Present me with the transformation, vision and the future. Tell me a story that fires me up.
This point is the solution to the above two points. If I buy your product or hire your services, I’m buying into the story. I believe that you have the solution to my problem. Make me believe so I can be inspired to make the actual purchase.
Successful brands are able to engage all three points in their brand storytelling campaigns while sharing the same viewpoint (values and ethos) with their customer. Ultimately, the customer has to believe in it.
Remember that brand storytelling never stops. Don’t be afraid to expand on it, add another layer or angles that customers will respond well to. And, as I said in my introduction, with the power of social media you can also get your customers involved and let them be the hero of the story.
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