By Stephanie Shaterian
The idea of storytelling as a marketing technique is not new, but it’s been rapidly gaining traction as a technique that is uniquely effective in the online digital world. We are hard-wired to respond to stories and our emotional response to stories can have direct impact on our purchase decisions. As Entrepreneurs, this can lead to all sorts of questions and indecisions on our end. How do we know the stories we tell will have the impact we want? How do we shape our brand narrative for specific audiences? Or at base level, how do I craft a compelling brand narrative? The key to creating compelling stories is having a specific reason for doing so.
Let’s work on a hypothetical example together. Say our business is that old chestnut – a lemonade stand.
● Your Brand is a Super Special Snowflake – just like our kids, our businesses are unique and individual – and there’s no one out there doing it exactly how you do it. For our fictional example, our lemonade is very special for a number of reasons. We use our granny’s super-secret family recipe. The lemons are from an old family tree. Of course it is organic and sustainably produced as well!
● Your Audience is a Super Special Snowflake – your audience, your niche, your peeps. However you slice it, the people that need what you’ve got have specific pain points and you can help them. The stories we tell need to recognize and address these pain points. Going back to the lemonade, maybe that super-secret recipe is how they do it in the south – and anyone from that region is going to immediately identify and have emotional response to the flavor of our drink.
● Emotional Resonance – People are moved to action by the emotional response they have to stories. We’ve got very powerful lemonade here, particularly for folks who have moved away from the South. Nostalgia, longing for home or the past, conjuring up memories of childhood activities or family members who are no longer with us. A taste of this lemonade is going to help bring it all back.
● Narrative – So we know what we have, we know where our audience has pain that we can help and we know the kind of emotional response we want to evoke. You could put up a lemon yellow website that exclaims, “Best Lemonade Ever!”, “Reminds you of Grandma’s Recipe from Alabama!”. But that’s not telling a story. A story has a beginning, middle and end. It can and should be very straightforward and simple. A great one for our lemonade stand would be: You lead a busy modern life – it’s hard to slow down and remember what it was like to appreciate simple joys – Our southern family lemonade will bring that feeling back.
● Tactics– Now we can share that narrative in our branding, images and colors we select (Maybe a hazy sepia tinged with yellow), it reflects in the “About Page” and in our social media marketing (Throwback Thursday – share your childhood summertime photos with us on our Instagram feed!), and in our packaging and design.
Never before have we entrepreneurs had such unprecedented access to reaching potential clients/customers through a multitude of channels. We can leverage that access- through web, through social, through mobile- by telling compelling stories that resonate and engage with the people that need to hear them. Be true to yourself and your brand, have fun and the stories will come from there.
Stephanie Shaterian, owner of fLO Content Marketing, is the consummate online actress, taking on the identity of any brand and creating winning, witty content that helps companies and non-profits build loyalty and top-of-mind awareness among clients and prospects. Stephanie has worked with a diverse range of clients including: consulting, advocacy, retail, greentech, commercial furniture, medical, performing arts and animal boarding(?!). She also helps parent entrepreneurs get a handle on their social media marketing with her quick and affordable Coach fLO program