Have you heard of the phrase, “What you see is what you get”? Well, this universal phrase has somewhat of a different meaning when it comes to the world of marketing.
Here it actually means, “What you’re getting is how you perceive it,” meaning that the marketing strategy employed by a brand is responsible for persuading the customers into purchasing a certain product.
One such infallible marketing strategy is storytelling. How you tell your brand’s story can make or break the relationship with your customers.
And before we go further into details about it, let’s take a look at this video to get you through this topic quickly:
But why exactly is storytelling important in marketing? Remember: you are selling your brand, not just one particular product, which ultimately helps in the long-term sustenance of your business. This means to have your customers become invested in your brand rather than one particular product or service it offers.
If your customers are emotionally invested in your brand, they will support the products you launch. And the more emotionally invested your customers are with your brand, the more financially invested they will be in your brand.
Read along for a crash course about the importance of storytelling in marketing strategies which includes a listicle of some of the best storytelling examples for 2021. We know how much you love those tl;dr summaries.
What Is a Brand Story?
A brand story is an authentic narrative of the motivation, values, mission, and vision of a brand shared with its customers to cultivate a genuine emotional connection.
A good brand story is one that is honest, heartfelt, and always a perfect amalgamation of feelings and facts that inspires, includes, and motivates its readers.
Storytelling is the best way to connect with your brand’s customers and to retain them as it shows the customers why they should place their trust in a brand.
Every brand has the goal to have their products be their customer’s first option, and stories create the bond necessary between a brand and its clientele to make this possible and earn their respect, which is one of the essential achievements for a brand.
Stories Can Come In Many Forms
While coming up with a story for your brand, it is important to unlearn the story structure of a hero’s journey we were taught in Literature 101 (unless that works for your brand).
In the marketing realm, storytelling is developing a connection between your brand and your customers, and there are different types of content that can be used in this strategy.
Here are some of the best storytelling examples for 2021 that explain how such brands pull off their stories.
1. Customer Testimonials
Getting real people and consumers to share their side of the story with other viewers is a wonderful way to present your products in the market.
Dove does this incredibly well. The brand does not hire supermodels or influencers to do their bidding for them. Instead, they rely on their loyal customers’ testimonials to help reach out to their target customers.
Studies conducted showed that 57% of their target customers were averse to regular advertising. This is where their advertising campaign trumps the competition.
Out of all their ad campaigns, the Dove Real Beauty Sketches ad stands out as it aimed to teach women to start looking at themselves in a positive manner. The 3-minute long viral video was so loved that it became the most-watched ad of all time.
2. Celebrity Endorsements
Beauty and fashion brands are no strangers to partnering with famous celebrities to promote their brands.
Jennifer Aniston, the beloved actress, has been partnering with the skincare brand Aveeno since 2013, and the partnership has benefitted them both. Marketers believe she was an ideal choice for the brand since she plays relatable roles and exudes natural radiance.
In 2021, Valentino Beauty collaborated with actress and singer Lady Gaga for its new scent Voce Viva. The perfume’s story ‘My voice, My strength’ is communicated with her powerful single ‘Sine From Above’ that is enhanced by a diverse chorus.
3. Incorporating Customers in the Story
Some brands go out of their way to provide the best experience for their customers.
For instance, Manchester City launched its innovative virtual reality technology so fans could experience game days like never before. Fans can get exclusive tours of their favorite footballers’ changing rooms and watch as they step out onto the blue carpet.
In recent years, many brands have shown their support to causes they care about by joining hands with their fellow consumers. An example of this could be seen in the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign.
To show their solidarity towards people of minorities, several brands completely boycotted ads on Facebook and Instagram.
Major brands such as Adidas, Puma, Patagonia, and Unilever joined the cause, solidifying their brand stance with their target consumers.
How to Tell Your Brand Story Effectively
Now that you know the importance of storytelling, it is time to know how to tell your brand story effectively, and the answer is quite simple- by being MEAN! Yes, you read that correctly!
The foolproof way to effectively communicate your brand story is by making sure your story has all the components of MEAN, i.e., Medium, Execution, Accessibility, and Narrative.
M = Medium
The medium of your story for maximum reach: In the digital era that we live in, there are numerous ways content can be shared.
But to maximize the reach (and save money if doing sponsored posts), a brand should know their engagement rates on various social media platforms, their customers’ preferences on particular social media and cater to them accordingly.
E = Execution
How to best execute your story: Bringing an idea to life can be most rewarding. If done correctly, the way a brand executes its story is responsible for the way it will be received.
So it is imperative to utilize the appropriate tools and manpower to execute them, like when brands use a diverse cast of models while marketing a beauty product to show that their product is universal.
A = Accessible
Ways to make your story accessible to as many people as possible: Given the global world we reside in, every brand has the potential for getting its story heard and seen throughout.
The key is to make it as accessible as possible. One simple way is by including text/subtitles (preferably in targeted languages) on the screen of any visual content.
N = Narrative
The importance of framing an apt narrative: while developing the narrative, it is important for a brand to create a customer-focused narrative where they share their values with their customers and feel included and involved.
This was done excellently by Oreo in their ‘Proud Parent’ advertisement. It partnered with PFLAG to explore parent-child relationships in the LGBTQ community. The visual ad showcases parents as allies for their children and their choices and urges other community members to do the same.
To highlight the importance of love and acceptance in one’s family, Oreo designed special rainbow cookies that were given away to social media users who showed themselves as allies with the hashtag #proudparent.
The Importance of Storytelling in Marketing Strategies
Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of Spanx, turned her $5,000 investment in the shapewear brand into a billion-dollar industry with her exceptional product.
It all started with her not being able to find the right underwear to wear under her dress. Her relatable storytelling as a “frustrated consumer” herself who had to “make the product herself,” “sell it,” and “bring awareness” to people helped the brand get to where it is.
She shared her story with the masses, and according to her, “the more vulnerable you’re willing to be, the deeper the connection will be with your consumers.”
Another well-known example of the “frustrated consumer” story is the Kylie Lip Kit and the billionaire’s want for a good quality lip product that was enhancing and long-lasting. It isn’t a surprise that Kylie brought back the trend of nude lips and overlining.
When it got to a point where most of her favorite nude lips were getting sold out, the youngest billionaire decided to take matters into her own hands. When she launched her lip-kits back in November 2015, they sold out in less than ten minutes.
Storytelling for beauty brands isn’t any different. Jennifer Lopez’s skincare brand, JLo beauty’s storyline, is Lopez herself and her flawless skin! The star ingredient in her skincare line is olive oil, a beauty secret handed down from her mother and grandmother for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
If you are a skincare and beauty enthusiast like us, you must know a YouTube creator called Hyram who is launching his own skincare line called, Selfless by Hyram. The brand’s story revolves around social change, sustainability, affordability, and passion for skincare which is an extension of his YouTube career.
Hyram also managed to create a major buzz all over social media even before the brand was launched. This can also be credited to their pledge to various nature conservation organizations.
The story here is clear: there is an urgency in the world where we can be active participants to combat it- by purchasing products from Selfless by Hyram.
A brand story that helps bring forth the idea behind its creation can be a powerful component in resonating with its intended clientele.
Localize Your Story
Long-time followers of this blog already know what content localization is and how it can be done to expand your brand’s reach. But do you also know that your story can be localized?
If you are a brand based on a diverse region or a global one, you can localize your story accordingly. Suppose you are a skincare brand with a presence in two extreme climates like the snow and white heat. In that case, you may benefit from sharing your story about the importance of sunscreen in the hotter area.
Or, as we discussed previously, by framing a story of the diversity of the brand rather than developing individual stories. However, the latter can be beneficial to a brand with a global presence.
Here are some creative ways in which brands can relay their stories:
1. Getting into Social Media! It is the biggest platform for storytelling.
2. Using stellar copywriting and apt creative designs.
3. Being inclusive and diverse while executing your story.
4. Sharing a real, honest story instead of a sensational one.
5. Practising a customer-based story narrative.
6. Making customers feel like active participants in a global change.
7. Presenting evidence to show that your story is not just a fantasy but an achievable reality.
How to Tell Your Brand Story Effectively: A Quick Recap
1. Recognise your audience: The target customers should be receptive to the brand story. A quick research about your customers and their preferences will come in handy while drafting a brand story.
2. Present an honest, cohesive narrative about your brand’s inspiration, values, history, future plans, and method of execution.
3. Make your customer the hero of your story where they feel like they are contributing to a greater good.
4. Practise what you preach! There is no faster way to turn your customers than not delivering on the promise made.
5. Make the story relatable so that customers can share it with their loved ones, which will expand your clientele.
Header Image Source: Sarah Pflug on Burst
How did you like May Thawdar Oo’s blog post “Sell Stories, and Then Products”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for beauty content marketing blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂