I’m pretty good at storytelling
For most of my career I worked as an editor helping writers tell the best possible stories. For more than a decade I was a music journalist helping people discover recordings to enhance the soundtrack to their lives. Then for close to 20 years I had the privilege of crafting award-winning stories for children. And now I happily assist companies storytelling about their products and services.
Quite a difference, you say? Not really.
Storytelling is an approachable and appealing way to convey any message no matter what the subject matter or platform. We’re told stories, both true and fictional, since the day we were born. And we like them. We really like them. Even the most dry material is more interesting and accessible when it’s wrapped around a story. Stories get people’s attention. And much like stories found in books and magazines, stories attached to the marketing of a product or service can and do help with brand promotion. Some people think all you need to do is put your product or service out there on the internet and consumers will come. Well, that’s bull.
Stories help paint a picture of your business, why it exists, and its value. And in marketing, stories become a creative and more emotional way to get your message across. If a consumer feels something for your brand through your stories, you’ve made a stronger connection that brings trust about the essence of your brand. It’s stories that differentiate you from the competition.
Storytelling can be about anything really.
A good story can include a character (the company founder, a brand character, employees), a setting (where your business is located), actions (such as creating new products, overcoming adversity to build a quality brand), or your product or service or accomplishments (what makes you truly unique). Creating stories around these areas gives people something to grasp onto and remember — the essence of your brand and why you exist.
FirstTracks has successfully helped companies craft stories to enhance their business growth and stay vital. Annalee Dolls is a venerable company with a long history of creating fun and collectible dolls. But how does an almost 100-year-old company stay relevant when there are dozens of other doll companies out there? For Annalee it’s all about the company’s founder, Annalee Thorndike. The company successfully built its brand on the values of its creator. Her story is compelling. (She loved creating dolls since she was a child.) She lived her story and shared it with her customers. (Her whole family got involved in building one of the great doll companies and built a community of doll collectors that still gathers today to celebrate these amazing creations.) Today, even though she’s gone, her company lives by the same values and traditions and carries on her mission using her same designs and processes.
As part of our marketing efforts we regularly bring these stories to the audience.
We write stories about the company’s history and how it’s still active today. We showcase designers who create dolls with the same techniques and style. We show the passion of the collector community and how they value these special doll creations. We do this through blogs, social media, email, contests, the company’s website and gift shop locations, videos, and print catalogs. In a year-long project, FirstTracks wrote and produced a hardcover illustrated biography of Annalee Thorndike to keep her legacy very much alive and bring her story to a whole new generation. The investment worked. Annalee, the person, is the driving force behind the business and it differentiates Annalee, the company, from the competition.
In a crowded marketplace you need to distinguish yourself from your competition.
Others may have more success than you — even though your product or service is better. Storytelling is the perfect way to change that. In one very crowded marketplace, Hyo Silver stands out for its beautiful hand-crafted sterling silver jewelry. This family-owned company decided to build its brand on both its quality products and its very unique story. The founder, Jo Symons, is a former rodeo queen, and the company is physically located in “the cowboy capital of the world.” Highlighting these elements through creative storytelling sets the company apart. Blog and social media posts as well as the website showcase how the company lives and breathes the western lifestyle of the American Southwest.
Hyo Silver also requests user-generated content through its #hyosilverselfie tag on Instagram to bring its customers into the story. Stories about the company’s events and sponsorships as well as its presence at numerous rodeo and cowboy events also paint an enticing picture of the brand. Further, FirstTracks helped Hyo Silver enhance its reputation for expert customer service through detailed website features.
In our digital age, storytelling has become even more important for brand awareness, as consumers are constantly bombarded with information and advertising. Figuring out why your company exists, and then telling that story to your customers through marketing messages from social media posts, to your blog, to advertisements, print materials, and videos has never been more important. It’s essential.
Key points you should remember:
- Storytelling is a powerful tool because it allows a company to connect with its audience on an emotional level, rather than simply presenting facts and figures.
- Stories create an emotional connection. When people hear a story, they are more likely to remember it.
- Stories humanize a brand, giving it a personality and a voice, making it more relatable and engaging.
- Stories set a brand apart with unique and compelling information.
- Stories help build trust. When a company shares stories about its history, values, and mission, it shows transparency and authenticity and builds credibility.
- Stories help create community by connecting customers with a shared experience or shared values. This can lead to increased engagement and loyalty.
Overall, storytelling is an increasingly important tool for promoting a product or service or building a brand because it allows companies to better connect with their audience, differentiate themselves from their competitors, and build trust and community with their customers. Storytelling that is genuine, honest, and aligned with a company’s values will always be powerful.
If you need assistance with storytelling that capture the essence and heart of your company or service, the team at FirstTracks is here to help. Contact us today by calling 603-924-1978 or filling out this short online form. We look forward to meeting you soon so we can learn more about your business and help you reach your growth goals — and tell your best stories.