by Phoebe Chongchua
It seems like the buzzword these days is “storytelling” but a story without a purpose does little for a brand. And a story produced without knowing your audience can become a complete failure.
“Every story should be written with a certain audience in mind”, says Bryan Adams, head of Ph.Creative.
The problem is often with brand storytelling, the content creation begins before a brand becomes familiar with its audience and audience personas.
This frequently leads to mediocre content that gets few likes and shares.
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Inspiring audiences with storytelling
However, effective storytelling can inspire audiences, help you hire
For instance, Nike is a clear example of a brand that inspires its audience by making them the hero and encouraging the audience to help finish the story.
“They reach the higher purpose within people,” says Bryan.
“They do something which a lot of other brands fail to do. They put the audience as the hero and position themselves very well as the mentor,” explains Bryan.
By telling a story about the customers and being the mentor for them, a powerful relationship is formed between the brand and customer. “They challenge the customers to go it alone. And all they do is hand them their product and say, ‘Here are these shoes. We believe in you. You can do this - off you go.'"
Bryan says this brand storytelling method inspires Nike’s audience to tell their own story using its products.
“It’s a technique that Hollywood and mythology have effectively used for many, many years and Nike really nails it on the head,” says Bryan.
Hiring employees with storytelling
Brands are often challenged with reaching the best talent to hire. Bryan shares how his company helped a brand to recruit the best mechanical engineers for a company despite the fact that they didn’t spend much time online.
“We told a very simple story and we positioned the mechanical engineers as the hero. We
Using a Facebook contest, the wives engaged with the company and filled in information about their husbands.
In order to successfully reach the wives, Bryan says they had to do persona and empathy mapping so they could accurately understand who was online listening, (in this case, not the actual engineers but, instead, their wives) which is why this campaign targeted the contest toward women. This allowed the brand to get to know the mechanical engineers through their wives.
“We could tell a story that did connect their lives; we just had to go via their wives,” says Bryan.
Creating corporate culture using storytelling
“A lot of the great storytellers …are starting to align the story that they tell their employees and the story that they tell their future employees with the story they tell their customers,” says Bryan.
This creates authentic and transparent storytelling throughout the brand.
“To tell an authentic story that really resonates is to allow employees or customers to align their own vision with a company vision and, once things are streamlined like that, communication is so much easier. It’s simple. It allows a healthy culture and it allows you to lead from the front with an organization that you’re actually aspiring to have and your staff, your team, your employees have the same vision,” explains Bryan.
Brand storytelling and inbound marketing strategies are only effective when they’re aligned with the business objectives.
“Only then can you put a strategy in place which isn’t peripheral but is right at the core of where the business is trying to grow.
Three Key takeaways
1) Use persona and empathy mapping: really know and love your audience. Break your audience into segments and analyze them.
2) Use the ABT (and, but, therefore) method: tell a story to the audience but change the “ands” and “
3) Publish only excellent content: “If it’s not going to get shared, it’s not worth the effort,” says Bryan.
Mentioned In This Episode
Find Out More About Bryan Adams
Bryan is the co-author best-selling inbound marketing book, ‘Getting Goosebumps’, speaker and CEO & founder of the award-winning digital marketing agency, Ph.Creative.
He is a self-confessed social media addict, blogger and podcaster with a passion for storytelling, digital strategy and making things as simple and effective as possible.
Bryan is an industry expert and commentator with over 10 years’ experience working with an impressive portfolio of clients, including: Virgin Media, MasterCard, BAE, Dominos, Bupa, Vodafone, Tesco, Dulux and Nationwide Building Society.