Apple’s launch of the iPhone in 2007 was groundbreaking. Today, almost 10 years later, we still see Images and clips of Steve Jobs unveiling this game-changing device. Why has this product launch become so iconic? Because at its heart was great storytelling, and even now, it remains one of the best examples of how to tell a brand story.
Through storytelling, Jobs built the iPhone brand before showing the audience the phone—or even telling them the product’s name. The lesson Apple taught every marketer is that storytelling creates a compelling brand that allows you to connect with your audience.
Every successful brand story includes the following four key components:
- An origin story
- The reason your company exists
- What motivates the company’s employees to come to work every day
- An inside look at your company
Let’s look at each one of these components more closely.
An origin story
Every successful comic book superhero movie franchise starts with an origin story. Peter Parker (Spiderman) was bitten by a radioactive spider. Bruce Wayne’s (Batman’s) parents were murdered before his eyes. Clark Kent/Kal-El (Superman) was the sole survivor of Krypton. Tony Stark (Iron Man) was nearly killed by an insurgent military attack. Audiences pay millions of dollars to watch the chronicling of each hero’s journey from these starting points. In short, people love origin stories.
So, is your company telling its origin story? If so, how? Your website is the perfect place to tell customers and potential customers how you came to be and why. And your marketing campaigns should incorporate pieces of your origin story to remind people how you came to exist. TOMS and P&G—two very different brands with very different visions—both have pages dedicated to telling their stories, and you can see elements of these stories throughout their campaigns.
The reason your company exists
Tied to your origin story is the reason your company exists. Your brand storytelling should tell your customers what your mission is. IKEA does this exceptionally well. Instead of focusing on furniture, the company’s mission is to make everyday life better. Sometimes there’s no avoiding mentioning your product or service in your company’s mission statement, but your mission statement should always focus on how your brand makes your customer’s world better.
What motivates the company’s employees to come to work every day
While most of us work because we need to earn an income, we remain with our companies because we believe in the products and services they provide. Loyal employees embrace their company’s mission and become advocates for its brand. Successful brand storytelling taps into what employees find appealing about their company’s mission and shares that with its target audience. Employees at The Container Store tend to rave about the company, and it’s family-friendly philosophies extend through employees to helping customers make life better for their own families.
An inside look at your company
People connect with other people. They don’t connect with products and services. Letting target audiences inside your company shows the human side of an organization. For example, WeddingWire uses a Behind the Scenes topic on their blog to show readers how their company operates. It focuses on the people who connect customers with the vendors, venues, and resources they need to plan the perfect wedding.
Once you create your brand story, you’ll want to share it through all your channels and in many forms as possible, but remember that storytelling varies across channels. A blog post might be the right place for an employee to talk about your brand’s values, while a customer’s story might be featured in an ad. And you can share videos of people benefiting from your products and services through social media posts—just be sure the benefits are part of your story. For example, IKEA created IKEA Home Tour videos to show how the brand makes customers’ everyday lives better, and that supports the brand story they want to share.
No matter what channel and method you use, make sure all your marketers understand how to tell your story so you present a cohesive brand identity to your target audience. Mastering brand storytelling as a company can help you engage customers like never before.
You can direct your marketers to these resources to help them tell brand stories that captivate your target audience:
[Course] MarketingProfs University Quick Study
[Workshop] Storytelling: Using the Power of Story to Drive Action
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