Lessons from the Lab

Branding as Storytelling

Tess Robinson

Amongst the chaos of infinite choice, today’s brands need to evolve from simply creating awareness and buzz, to creating meaning and connection.

It’s no easy feat, but to become a lasting and loved brand is to become embedded in people’s lives. We not only have to engage consumers at deeper levels, but also ask the question, “What feeling will we provide that will keep our customers connected to our product and loyal to our brand?”

My perception of branding is intrinsically linked to storytelling. I don’t think you can talk about branding without talking about your ‘story’. To me, a brand is nothing but a story. A brand in and of itself can’t make you feel a sense of belonging, intimacy, confidence or peace of mind, but the story the brand tells can make you feel a certain way.

All branding is storytelling in its purest form. It’s the story you tell and the story you sell.

Your brand is a representation of who you are and where you stand in the market. It’s the sum of your business as a whole, as told by those who interact with your business. In my opinion, it’s everything. Your entire company is your brand, from the scent of your foyer to the shoes your staff wear to a meeting. From the timing of your invoices to the fineprint on your warranties. Branding is business and business is branding.

It’s your reputation and your reliability. It’s your demeanor and your delivery. It’s everything you stand for, and everything that stands for you. It’s quite literally, everything your business is and does.

And the best brands build compelling stories. Stories that resonate with their ideal customers. Stories that are meaningful and memorable. Stories that are persuasive and powerful. And above all, stories that are unique and authentic. Us humans are creatures of emotion, and we crave connection. It’s how we are all inherently wired. So, to create a lasting relationship, evoke connection and foster loyalty with your customer, you need to be honest, authentic and share your story.

As legendary marketing guru, Seth Godin says; “The marketer’s job, then, is to tell a true story, one that resonates, one that matters to people, and to repeat it often enough that it creates value.” And I couldn’t agree more. Humans are drawn to stories. We are compelled toward things that are wrapped up in compelling narratives.

But a brand can’t just tell any old story. We need to craft our stories meticulously, with accuracy and honesty. The best stories and the best brands are those built on a hot bed of pure, unadulterated authenticity. Why? Because authenticity breeds trust, and trust breeds loyalty. And if you haven’t heard me say it a thousand times before, loyalty is the bedrock of any booming business.

Telling our story through our brand is about building trust like we do in our day-to-day relationships with one another. Trust is built on a foundation of authenticity, honesty and humility. Every little piece of your company, your story and your brand that you share with the world is an opportunity to show up. It’s an opportunity to share who you are, clarify what makes you different, show that you care and connect your brand with the right, eager-to-pay people, through being authentic, honest and true to our values.

Whilst we can’t dictate how people speak and feel about our brand, we can dictate how we present ourselves to the world, which in turn, gives people clues as to how they should feel about our brand. The way we show up in the world should be a deliberate act and every expression of our brand should be a conscious choice.

The two questions you need to ask yourself are what is my story, and is it true?

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