Three Tips To Create Stories That Connect With Consumers

Every brand has a story to tell, one that is closely related to how the brand serves its audience. Telling stories effectively can both set expectations for the consumer and simultaneously build brand loyalty — assuming that the promise of the story is delivered. How do you tap into your brand’s story, and tell it in a way that sticks?

  1. Often the easiest story arc to construct is one that is centered around the consumer’s need. As a marketer, you want your consumer to relate to common problems your product or service is intended to solve. Providing concrete examples of what issue the product is addressing — whether through graphics, illustrations, or written testimonials — helps the consumer relate, and if the audience can relate to what’s being communicated, their interest in the product is piqued. That’s the first half of a story arc, and the ending is, of course, the consumer discovering your product.

  2. Use a voice that is authentic to the consumer, and to your brand. Authenticity is not communicated necessarily by any one particular tone or style guide. Rather, it’s communicated through speaking to the customer on their terms, in language they would use. An upscale luxury client won’t address their audience in the same way that an e-commerce brand for millennials will, and in fact might lose consumer confidence by deviating. Similarly, elevated “luxury” language might alienate or confuse a customer who is expecting a product to be low-cost and convenient. Missing the mark voice-wise doesn’t necessarily cause a negative reaction to the product, but the customer probably just won’t pay attention as they’ll assume it’s not for them.

  3. Think about the format of the piece — not all stories are meant for all mediums. Is your brand envisioning a story with a twist halfway through, or a running joke? That’s a TV or digital video spot. Communicating narratives with multiple beats is difficult through print ads: in print, advertisers and marketers need to think of how to concisely summarize their brand mission through one or two images and a few lines of text. Be prepared to find shorter (or longer) ways to tell your brand story to fit the format.

Storytelling is perhaps the most intuitive way for audiences to understand brands, simultaneously informing and entertaining the consumer. It’s up to marketers to do the research to determine that the customer’s narrative is, and advertisers to create media that speaks to those audiences.

Daniel Meek