Share Your Journey with Brand Storytelling

By Kelly Tabbutt

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Whether you work at a company or are a freelance science writer, you have a brand. Yes, even as a single person, you have a ‘brand.’

Branding is a huge element of marketing, and takes time and strategy. To learn more about how to develop your brand as a science freelancer, check out Fancy Comma’s books, Amplifying Science Communication with Public Relations and How to Get Started in Freelance Science Writing.

Brand storytelling can be a powerful component of your marketing strategy as a freelance science writer.

In this post, you’ll learn about ways to use storytelling to connect with stakeholders (whether clients, consumers, or others) and amplify your brand.

What Is Brand Storytelling?

Most people find watching a movie – whether fully fictive, a documentary, or a retelling of actual events – more interesting than watching the news. It is not about what is said but how it is said: the story that captivates hearts and minds. The heart of brand storytelling is the person or organization’s journey that connects and builds interest.

Brand storytelling is about reaching your audience so they can feel that they trust your brand. It is about building a shared experience with your consumers that will lead them to root for your brand’s success.

In this post, I’ll first talk about the basics of storytelling, including why it is so effective, as well as how to tell the most impactful story. Then, I’ll talk about what this means in the context of your brand: what brand storytelling is, why it is important, and how to do it impactfully. Let’s get into it!

Why is Storytelling So Effective?

You can take your audience on a journey

Why are stories – narratives, so much more compelling than chronologies? One reason is the more descriptive, emotive, and active language in narrative accounts. Another reason is that  events in narratives are woven together and placed in context to create a journey. 

Build a shared experience

Telling your experiences in a way that creates a mental journey for your audience builds a shared experience. The descriptive, emotive, active language used in narratives create a universe within which your audience can place themselves and not only witness but experience the unfolding of interwoven events. 

Build an emotional connection

Narratives tell your journey so that your audience sees it through your eyes. Sharing not only the facts, but the emotions and reactions associated with your experiences, allows your audience to understand your experiences and relate to them in a way that builds an emotional connection. 

Classic Narrative Elements

Every brand has a story. Some stories end with the protagonist learning something new, or with something changing. Other stories start with the protagonist making a change, then going back to their normal ways. Think of your favorite stories: what do you like about them? Rely on them as you develop your brand story.

To tell your story, you can use the various narrative elements typically used in storytelling. They are: introduction, inciting incident, climax, and resolution.

Introduction

There are four key elements of any narrative. The first element is, of course, the introduction of  the main characters and the creation of a context for the unfolding of key events.

Inciting Incident

The second element is the “inciting incident.” This provokes the main event. If the story is about finding your dream job, the “inciting incident” could be something that makes you decide to quit your old job: working too many hours there, for example. 

Climax

The third and central element is the climax. This is where the conflict in a story is resolved. The climax is the highest point of tension and the turning point. The decisions here determine the conclusion. 

Resolution

The last narrative element of a story is the resolution. In this part of the story, the loose ends are tied up, and the consequences of previous events and actions come to fruition. 

What is Brand Storytelling?

Now that I’ve talked about the various elements of stories, I’ll talk about ways you can apply them to your brand.

Your brand and you

What makes good brand storytelling? Your brand is your professional self. It is the accumulation of your professional experiences and goals and your toolkit of skills. Your brand story shows how and why your brand came to be, where it is now, and where it is going.

“Origin story”

One of the most crucial functions of brand storytelling is its role as your brand “origin story.” Sharing this journey with clients and customers shows them who you and your brand are and connects them to the story in a way that makes them want to see your brand succeed. 

Raison d’être

Equally important in brand storytelling is demonstrating your brand’s “raison d’être”: why it exists, the purpose and goals you strive to fulfill through your brand. The reason for its existence tells your audience more about the integrity and value of your brand than anything else. 

Why is Brand Storytelling Important?

Brand storytelling can help people understand and remember your brand. Your brand’s story can highlight your uniqueness, help create trust with potential clients or customers, and can be a backbone of your marketing and public relations strategies.

It sets you apart

A brand story is vital in today’s world, where most sectors of the market are flooded with competing brands offering similar services and similar prices. Your brand story tells your audience – your potential clients and customers – why they should trust and support you over everyone else. 

It creates trust

Showing how your brand is unique, not necessarily in what you do but in how and why you do it, sets it apart. All else equal, through brand storytelling, you can show your audience what drives your brand in a way that connects with the potential client or customer’s values and goals. 

It is the backbone of marketing

Brand storytelling is also vital for marketing. The story of the origin of your brand and its purpose should be the backbone for all marketing. Marketing can follow and build on this story. A strategic approach, in which you tell stories about your brand which consistently highlight what sets you apart, can create and maintain trust.

How to Tell an Impactful Brand Story

Now that I’ve talked about brand storytelling and why you need a story narrative for your brand, let’s get into the details of how to tell a good brand story.

Paint a picture

The key to any good storytelling is to show rather than tell. Rather than telling potential clients and/or customers why you are the best, provide insights that can help the reader come to that conclusion themselves. What differentiates stories is the creation of a coherent set of events and circumstances woven together to create an experience, a sort of “lived” movie, in your audience’s mind. 

Remember: you are constantly adding to your brand storyr brand story is constantly being written

It is important to know and incorporate the basic elements of a narrative when using brand storytelling. Remember, though, that you are not at the end of the road: your brand story is a work in progress. So, tell your story with your goals in mind but and an eye toward continued growth. Your brand story can and should evolve with your brand.

Clarity and consistency are key

Above all else, in order to build and maintain trust, you need to tell your brand story in a way that creates a consistent message of what your brand stands for throughout the story, and which is consistent with your professional experiences, current work, brand goals, and marketing. 

What questions do you have about brand storytelling? How has brand storytelling helped you connect with potential clients or consumers? Chime in below in the comments!

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