Storytelling is a powerful tool in your marketing that can be used to create a compelling brand identity for your small business. It enables you to connect with your target customers on an emotional level, engaging them in a way that makes a substantial, lasting impression of what your company is all about. Viberg, the boot company headquartered in Victoria, is an example of a Canadian company that’s successfully crafted a brand image for both the company and its products using the story of its founder, Ed Viberg, and his vision of handcrafted boots made using only the highest-quality materials. Viberg’s website notes that Viberg uses “traditional manufacturing methods” and the founder’s son, Glen Viberg, still works on the factory floor, personally checking every pair of boots.
What Makes a Good Brand Story
To have the highest, most-effective impact, the story you tell to establish your brand identity should be congruent with the nature of your business. If your small business is a technology company developing cutting-edge internet security software, then Viberg’s story of a traditional, family-owned business and handcrafted goods would not be the best choice because it just doesn’t go with what you do as a business. A more appropriate tale would be about some “eureka” moment, a flash of insight that led you to create a significant technological innovation. A good brand story is a true story, even if your marketing department embellishes it a bit. Truth is important because you’re aiming to make an emotional connection with your audience, and truth is an element that touches people on a deep emotional level. Use your brand story to communicate your company’s values in a way that enables people to relate to, and feel inspired by, them. A good example of this is a documentary Ford published on YouTube about the creation of its Focus RS. The documentary, telling the story of how Ford engineers struggled, but ultimately triumphed, in creating the car, communicates the passion of Ford’s design team and gets the viewer rooting for it to succeed. A great brand story is a true story that moves your customers to feel a deep emotional desire for your company to succeed. Many successful branding campaigns rely not on what customers think about products but on how they feel about them. Good brand stories engage your customers and engender brand loyalty by creating an emotional association with your products or your company that makes your customers feel better about themselves when they do business with you.
Why Brand Stories Work
Brand stories work, in part, because they’re simple and easy for your audience to grasp and remember. You can use that fact to your advantage. Keep your brand story simple and easy to remember by making it a consistent message that is repeated and perpetuated by every presentation of your company and its products, including things such as your logo and website design, email communications, content that you publish, and of course your marketing, advertising, and public relations campaigns. You can use all of these things to reinforce the brand image presented by your story. Brand stories work not just because they’re easy to remember, but because companies make a special effort to make their brand story memorable. Another reason brand stories work is that stories are just more fun to read or listen to than a list of your product’s features. You can play up that aspect of brand stories by consciously adding some fun to your story. Some companies accomplish this by doing something like slipping a funny photograph of the company founder as a child into the presentation of their brand story. Your small business can gain a distinct competitive edge by using storytelling to communicate your brand identity. Craft a brand story that appeals to your customers’ emotions and engages them, helping to build strong customer relationships.