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Storytelling is not: “Our product does X, and you should buy it because Y.”

Storytelling is a much more powerful way to help people understand what you’re all about other than simply explaining “this is what we do, here’s why you should buy.” As consumers expect more from the companies with whom they do business, storytelling is the key to getting through to them.

At Spencer Brenneman, LLC, we are helping a European company introduce its product to the U.S. market. Storytelling will play a central part in how we position the offering in a way that is relevant and competitively differentiated from the other choices consumers have.

Storytelling is not: “Our product does X, and you should buy it because Y.

So, what makes storytelling good in the marketing context? First and foremost, stay true to who you are as a brand. Second, bring that to life consistently. Finally, keep it relevant for your audience. Here are some questions to keep at the forefront when developing a story to tell:

How can this story reinforce my brand promise? How can the story further back up that promise?

Your focus must stay steadfast in everything you do—guided by your brand promise. If you are telling a story that is at odds with how the market perceives you, then you will confuse them and dilute your overall messaging strategy. If there is a connection but it is not immediately clear, make it clear. If you are evolving, layout the journey for them. Or, bookend it with messages about who you are that tie everything together.

How will this story sound? Is it consistent with the tone of your other communications? Will it have a distinctly different sound than that of your competitors?

Your brand should have a personality unique to you and in-line with your promise. Those adjectives should come to life in the words you choose and the pictures you paint. Just as importantly, they should be different from how your competitors sound. Spend time on their websites and social media accounts. Can you swap out your name with your competitor’s and still have it sound right? If so, you need to work harder at finding your brand’s voice.

Why is the subject matter relevant to your customers? What about it will touch them emotionally?

Some may scoff at the idea of having emotion as an element of all your storytelling, but it’s an integral ingredient for any brand connection to grow and take hold. It’s the emotion that will make them fall deeper in love with your brand. So, what is the emotional response you want your customers to experience? Comfort? Excitement? Joy? Whatever it is, find ways to embody that in your writing without, of course, blatantly saying so.

It’s the emotion that will make them fall deeper in love with your brand.

The more you work at weaving your brand into everything you do, the easier it gets, and the stronger your brand will become. Now, won’t that be a nice story?

— Douglas Spencer

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