Brand storytelling: A science-backed way to differentiate
Published on August 25, 2023
In the ever-evolving marketplace, it can be hard to continually craft unique brand stories that keep customers coming back. But with a little help, you can be the signal that cuts through the noise. The secret to differentiating your product or service? Two words: brand storytelling.
Developing a unique brand story in our dynamic digital market is tough
If I had a dollar for every time a client told me they needed “a brand story that stands out,” well… you know how the saying goes.
Customers have higher expectations than ever, and simply identifying what:
- Or prices
That set you apart from the competition doesn’t cut it anymore. To connect with buyers and close deals, your marketing team needs to create messaging that leaves buyers with no doubt that your brand is the best option for their needs.
And bonus points if you can prove that your brand aligns with their beliefs. In fact, when we look at the newest generation of buyers, studies show that 84% of Gen Z will buy and advocate based on their core values.
Luckily, we at Duarte have some experience analyzing target audiences (Gen Z included) and crafting customer-centric brand stories for some of the biggest brands in the world.
Here’s how to get started developing your best brand story yet in order to set your marketing and sales teams up for B2C or B2B storytelling success.
Brand storytelling is not about what you want to say
It’s about what the audience needs to hear.
The Duarte Method is all about empathy. That means we put the audience first. It’s not about what you want to tell your audience, but rather, what they need to hear in order to act.
When marketers understand who the target customers are and what matters to them, they’ll be more likely to craft meaningful messages that resonate. Which means sales teams will be more likely to nurture relationships with both new and existing customers. Because nothing builds relationships like feeling understood. Empathy is how you take your brand from transactional to meaningful. Everybody wins.
You can start to analyze your audience by looking at general demographics, but you can’t stop there. You also need to consider the:
- And pain points of your buyer persona(s)
By delving deeper than just age and gender, you can create content that speaks to what matters most to the customer.
6 starter questions on how to write a brand story
The goal in brand storytelling is to generate stories that resonate with your audience. To do that, you need to ask specific questions. Here are some of the first questions we pose to our clients about their target audience.
1. What are they like?
What do they like to do on their days off? What’s their family dynamic? What do they read or watch in their spare time?
2. Why are they here?
Why are they listening to this presentation or reading this content in the first place? Are they actively seeking something, or are they sitting through a mandatory meeting?
3. What keeps them up at night?
What do they fear? What anxieties are they experiencing? What feels out of their control?
4. How can you solve their problem?
Why are you uniquely positioned to solve their problem? How will your solution make their lives better?
5. What do you want them to do?
No product presentation is complete without a call to action… what’s yours? Do you want them to click ‘add to cart’ or is this the stage to connect them with a sales rep for more details?
6. How might they resist?
How will they push back on your solution? What objections can you prepare for? Why might they talk themselves out of it?
If these questions seem ultra-specific — it’s because they are. The better you can understand your audiences’ existing thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, the better equipped you’ll be to move them through brand storytelling.
You know your audience, now it’s (brand) story time
Once you’ve completed an in-depth audience analysis, you have the fuel you need to craft compelling brand stories that will make your audience feel aligned with your brand. After all, stories have the power to evoke emotion, foster relatability, and impact behavior. You don’t have to take our word for it — take it from neuroscience research. Stories impact our brain chemistry. Period.
Center your brand storytelling efforts around your buyers’ dreams, fears, and pain points (which you know, thanks to your comprehensive audience analysis).
Brand storytelling examples for sales
One storytelling technique to try is if you know your audience is concerned about climate change, incorporate a story or analogy that illustrates your company’s respect for the planet. Or even better, an example of a climate-related commitment or action.
Maybe your customers crave more time back in their week. If so, you could incorporate a story about someone who had more time to spend with their kids after purchasing one of your products. Illustrate what that looked like for their entire family, and help your audience imagine themselves in that real-life scenario.
These are the kind of brand storytelling examples that will stick in buyers’ minds because they resonate on an emotional level.
Brand storytelling examples for marketing
Of course, brand stories shouldn’t be confined to just product decks and sales conversations. You should repurpose them for your overall brand as well. A larger marketing strategy will need to tell the brand’s story as well. So where do you start?
First, that means determining what channels your audience members like best. When you consistently meet audience members where they are (by communicating on the channels they use most) you’re more likely to evangelize brand champions. Just be sure to slice and dice your brand stories based on the platform.
For example, you wouldn’t use a long-form script in its entirety on social media. Instead, it’d be more impactful and appropriate to include a quote from the story, a corresponding image, and a link to the full thing. You get the picture.
Mastering brand storytelling is really just:
1) Deep diving into the minds of your customers, and
2) Infusing your messaging with audience-centric stories across channels
Once you’ve nailed these storytelling techniques into your day-to-day business, you’ll be that much closer to differentiating your brand and winning the hearts and minds of your target audience members.
If you’re still feeling stuck, never fear. Our storytelling and presentation design experts are here to help you take your brand storytelling efforts to the next level.
Sales and marketing, Storytelling
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