A brand without a story is dead in the water.

In today’s super-engaged society, you’ll quickly become an afterthought if you’re not top of mind. Brands need a way to be in front of the customer’s eyes without being pushy. They also need to be memorable, and they need to solve a real-world problem.

That’s a lot of weight to carry. Good thing you’ve got a great tool at your disposal: storytelling. It’s approximately 22 times more memorable than just stating your company message.

When talking about brand storytelling, it’s not just a traditional bedtime story. It’s also not reciting buzzwords, hoping they stick. It explains what makes a company important in its industry.

Storytelling is the latest marketing technique connecting brands to their customers. Let’s dive into five reasons you should embrace it for your brand.

It explains the “why” behind your business.

Businesses don’t just run on unlimited budgets and endless motivation. They have a purpose that powers them from the inside out.

Let’s look at Simon Sinek’s concept of The Golden Circle. Sinek explained that all great companies differ from traditional companies by first answering why they do business. Then they explain how they’ll deliver their product or service, then finally what the product or service actually is. Most businesses go the opposite direction, starting with their product without even getting to the “why.”

Once you have clearly defined your why, you can share it with the world through storytelling.

It adds a human element to your business.

Companies are always trying to find ways to reach the customer. They try different communication channels, new promos, or even a full rebrand just to get some attention. But they really need a human element to make this relationship work. This will put them on the same level as the customer, making them more approachable.

A report by Braze, a customer engagement platform, and Forrester, a marketing research company, revealed why relatability is so important for brands. 57 percent of respondents said that human communication would increase their brand loyalty, and 58 percent said human communication would increase their likelihood of spending money with a given brand. You don’t want your audience thinking of you as just another company trying to sell something they don’t need. Storytelling is a compelling method to bridge this gap.

Think about what happens when you tell a story. You take the lead in a conversation and paint pictures before your audience’s eyes. You use familiar images and language that everyone can relate to so your audience doesn’t feel left out. But there’s another often-overlooked element here: vulnerability.

When you tell your brand story, you welcome criticism and humanize the brand. It’s up to the customer whether they emotionally connect with your brand or not.

It’s a known fact that customers are more willing to choose a brand that affects their feelings. One Harvard professor published a book revealing that 95 percent of buying decisions are made subconsciously, using thoughts and feelings to justify purchases. It’s just how we’re programmed.

It builds trust with the audience.

Trust is crucial if you want your brand to stick with your customers. When you gain their trust, you turn curious visitors into recurring customers. Without their trust, you risk losing customers to your competitors.

A 2017 Forrester report showed that not one brand surveyed significantly improved its trust and experience rankings from 2016. It predicted that the most influential brands will have personalized customer experiences and strong cultures. They’ll also work on serving niche audiences as opposed to appeasing everyone.

Build trust in your company by using your brand story to share personal struggles and successes. It also gives you a chance to share the moment you decided to start your business. Customers get an inside look into who your company is and what makes you tick. It lets you add a human element to your brand, putting you on the same level as your audience.

It’s so much easier to trust someone when they are an open book.

It’s shareable and viral.

Take a look at your social media feeds and see what your friends are sharing. Chances are it’s not a coupon or the opening of a new McDonald’s in your area. They’re sharing what resonates with them: Spotify’s “Year in Review” or the latest public relations stunt that went horribly awry. All these things evoke emotions and get people talking.

It should come as no surprise that we are especially interested in stories. We’ve been telling them since the beginning of time. Before we had written language, we relied on storytelling to understand our place in the world. Even when we began to write our stories down instead of telling them, we didn’t lose interest in storytelling. Stories entice us and intrigue us, letting us temporarily escape reality.

Stories have the added benefit of being highly shareable. We’re more likely to share a story than an annual report full of boring data. Stories trigger feelings, and we tend to want to share those feelings with others. People are compelled to share a good story because they want to see if others have the same responses.

It supports your content marketing strategy.

Content marketing uses different mediums to educate a target audience and turn them from visitors into customers. It unobtrusively moves people through a sales funnel without directly selling them anything.

You want to be the go-to resource for answering any of your target audience’s questions and concerns. Your goal should be to educate them and provide new insights. As their trusted outlet, you’ll be at the top of their list when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.

Brand storytelling is key to this conversion. It introduces your brand to the potential customer in a low-stress way. You’re not handing over resumes and headshots — you’re giving them an elevator pitch and letting them make a decision.

You don’t need a crafty sales pitch or old marketing technique to get your audience’s attention. You can instead engage them with your brand story.

Let your story be the foundation for your business. If a strong story holds you up, you’ll never fall down.

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