Once upon a time, there was a B2B brand that did not utilise brand storytelling or content marketing effectively. Their blog posts read like press releases, with no compelling reasons for potential customers to continue reading – let alone choose their business. They missed golden opportunities to engage audiences, share values, and build their brand community. Their website lost visitors, their socials lost engagement, and their business lost customers.
But let’s rewind the clock to write a new tale for that business… one that uses brand storytelling… and one that has a much happier ending.
What is brand storytelling?
Before the superhero can save the day and everyone lives happily ever after, it’s important to understand what brand storytelling is, and why it’s important.
Storytelling is a narrative which shares information, and, most importantly, shares emotions that you want your brand to evoke. It’s a way for companies to share the WHAT of their business – as in, what the product or service is – and the WHY – that is, why they exist, or why they matter.
In today’s digitised world, storytelling provides brands with something that society is sorely lacking – human connection. Stories have been shared since ancient times – even cavemen sat around campfires and shared their tales of triumph and tragedy. They alerted their community about the ways of the wooly mammoth, and celebrated the best food finding locations. Stories are not only for sharing information, but the more memorable ones tap into people’s emotions and keep them connected – and remembered.
Today’s businesses should not be afraid to tell their stories – this is true for both B2C and B2B marketing strategies. And it’s equally important to tell all types of stories, of both challenges AND successes. Believe it or not, stories about struggle – or even failure –help readers understand the passion and effort that went into getting a business where it is today.
Brand storytelling provides warm fuzzies for an otherwise cold and faceless business. It’s these warm fuzzies that make customers feel good about their purchases, or in the case of B2B brands, that inspire them to align their business with another that shares its values. When your brand’s story evokes positive emotions in the people it reaches, it can compel your customers to share the story further, leading to one of the happiest endings that business could have; word-of-mouth recommendations, which turn your customers into your advocates.
The benefits of brand storytelling for B2B brands
Increased human connection
All companies rely on human employees to make decisions that impact their growth, sales and performance. At the crux of it all, businesses are run by humans, for humans. So increased human connection is a critical need for all businesses which can be fulfilled by storytelling. So open up, get personal, and watch the love and engagement follow.
More brand loyalty
For any business to succeed, it needs to be bigger than their product or service. They need their existing and potential customers to know, trust and like them. Brand storytelling can achieve exactly that. And businesses who gain trust, also create brand loyalty.
Prospective clients, especially, want to know how others have had great experiences or succeeded thanks to your business. Today’s consumers are more likely to research products and services thoroughly online before making a commitment, and they’re more likely to trust your business if they can see that other people do too. Client testimonials and case studies are a great component of brand storytelling.
Makes you more believable
Researchers at Ohio State University conducted a study on the cognitive processes that occur when we become engrossed in a story. They gave a name to that feeling of being so caught up in a story that everything else fades into the background: “transportation”. And they confirmed that when we are transported by a story, it affects our real-world beliefs.
Our brains are wired to believe a narrative account over a straight informational piece. This is because with facts, figures and information, we have to search our own knowledge bank to relate what we’re reading with our own personal connections and analysis. However, when we’re transported by a narrative, we are swept up in the story, and that becomes our single focus. Which means the personal connections of storytelling are already made for us. No brain strain required.
What brand storytelling isn’t
Storytelling isn’t a place to re-hash a press release or a company announcement. It’s not about simply telling what your business offers, because that alone won’t make your business stand out from the rest. Storytelling has to transcend your products and services. It should turn your business into a superhero – because every great superhero has an awesome origin story. Let them in on your kryptonite. Because humanising businesses is what brand storytelling is all about.
Storytelling will help transform outcomes for any company that utilises this B2B marketing strategy.. Ultimately, when storytelling is done well, not only will it increase a business’s visibility and profitability, but it can also turn a business into a brand, and a brand into a legacy.
So how do I do it?
- Instead of trying to dazzle readers with facts and statistics, try making your brand content more real.
- Write stories that transport people into your business world and show how your products and services are making a positive impact for real people..
- Express the conflict or pain points your customers experience. And share resolutions or triumphs your business facilitates for others.
- Use your narratives to evoke emotions and create deep emotional connections with your audience. Tell them your history, challenges, successes, or raison d’etre.
- Ask yourself what makes your company more human? How do you transform people’s lives?
- Listen to this great podcast from Masters of Scale and be inspired by the story of Charity Water and how this brand harnesses the power of brand storytelling to scale.
Your business journey will be different to just about everyone else’s out there, so use those stories to your advantage. Oscar Wilde is often quoted as saying, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” It applies in business as well.
How can my business become a superhero?
The most successful brands in the world use the power of their archetype to tap into human psychology and create powerful results. The best way to get started is to know your organisation’s archetype, in order to improve your content strategy.
Download our free ebook to understand the fascinating world of brand archetypes and how to harness its power. With a little help from Bc, your business will be up, up, and away!