Corporate storytelling: Why brands need to tell stories

By Melissa Kitson @mnkitson

Since the days of the caveman, stories have played a crucial role in helping us connect and understand one another.

Be it a moral parable or an epic adventure, a story has the power to bring people closer together. Indeed when a person listens to a story their neural activity starts to mirror the storyteller’s. In other words, stories get people on the same ‘wavelength’.

For brands, corporate storytelling offers a unique way to create meaningful engagement.

This is why:

Stories make brands human

Storytelling moves a brand beyond the slogan and provides a context in which an audience can connect on an emotional level. Instead of understanding a brand by what it has to offer, an audience understands a brand by ‘who’ it is. This leads to stronger and longer-term relationships. If an audience gets ‘who’ the brand is they are likely to be more trusting, loyal and engaged.

Corporate storytelling gives brands a ‘voice’

Logos don’t speak. At least they rarely do. With a brand story, a brand has the opportunity to articulate its ‘voice’. Is it conversational, blokey, posh? In telling a story, brands have free reign to explore all the nuances of voice. This helps them better differentiate themselves from competitors and address target market with greater impact.

Stories are shareable

Corporate storytelling appeals to our natural tendency to share and tell stories. We crave stories. Whether it is our appetite for soap operas or compulsive Facebook activity, our daily lives are characterised by storytelling. These habits lend themselves to sharing corporate stories. A good brand – like any good story – is told again, and again, creating buzz and a strong word-of-mouth reputation.  

We remember more information in narrative-form

A brand with a story is a brand that is remembered. According to Jennifer Aaker, a professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, information that is woven into a story is remembered “up to 22 times more than facts alone”. This is vital for raising brand awareness and ensuring key messages are not lost.