What Is Brand Storytelling and How Can It Benefit You?
Updated October 3, 2022
Many marketers use brand storytelling to communicate their purpose and build a community around their brand that consumers can be a part of. Using brand storytelling in this way can improve customer loyalty, generate brand awareness and increase sales. If you work in marketing, public relations or brand management, then you may be interested in learning more about brand storytelling. In this article, we explain what brand storytelling is, share why it is important, list 14 types of brand storytelling and provide examples to help you get started.
What is brand storytelling?
Brand storytelling is a marketing method that uses a creative narrative to connect a brand to its customers. This narrative often links a brand's mission to customer values to develop a stronger bond. Companies may use unique characters, settings and plots to develop their brand story. They can also draw on their company history, inspiration, goals, products and services to create a robust brand story.
Why is brand storytelling important?
Brand storytelling is important because it offers companies the opportunity to personalize their brand and form a deeper connection with their customers. Developing a successful brand storytelling strategy can help your audience learn more about your brand, your purpose and your products. Incorporating brand storytelling in your marketing campaign can benefit you by:
Improving audience engagement
Making your brand more memorable
Increasing brand awareness
Differentiating your brand from competitors
Increasing sales and revenue margins
Evoking strong customer emotions
Highlighting your values
Increasing customer loyalty
Building a community around your brand
Humanizing your brand
14 types of brand storytelling
Here are 14 types of brand storytelling you can test out in your next marketing campaign:
1. Data-driven brand storytelling
The data-driven approach leverages statistics, analytics and data sets to gain customer attention and build trust with them. By incorporating data into a brand's story, marketers can show how their products, services or processes benefit customers and the larger community. When marketers combine data with a company's mission statement, values or goals, they can create a powerful brand story that motivates customers to take a desired action, such as make a purchase or sign up for a newsletter.
2. Visual brand storytelling
Visual brand storytelling incorporates compelling videos, photos, animations and graphics to attract customer attention. By using images to illustrate a brand's story, marketers can provide customers with a more engaging visual experience and create memorable ad campaigns. You can also use visual brand storytelling to influence your customers' emotions by thoughtfully selecting images that portray your company authentically. This can help your customers find deeper meaning in your brand.
3. Audience-centered brand storytelling
Audience-centered brand storytelling allows the consumers to be in control, instead of the brand itself. Marketers who embrace this approach focus on what their audience needs and strive to provide them with meaningful value through their advertising campaigns. The content they develop may educate their audience, provide them with entertainment or improve their lives in some way. While it can take marketers longer to see the return on investment from this brand storytelling technique, using this method often results in lifelong customers.
4. Mission-focused brand storytelling
Marketers who implement mission-focused brand storytelling use their advertising campaigns to share the purpose of a brand. They may highlight why a company was founded, why it exists today or what motivates leaders within the brand to serve their customers. This type of brand storytelling allows customers to connect with a company based on their core values.
5. News outlet as brand storytelling
In the news outlet as brand storytelling approach, marketers focus on establishing a company as an expert and leader in its industry. They create content that informs customers about the latest industry news and provides educational value. Marketers may use blog posts, podcasts, videos, printed articles or social media posts to establish a brand's credibility using this method.
6. Visionary brand storytelling
Visionary brand storytelling focuses on the future of a company. This type of storytelling focuses on a company's overarching mission statement and their objectives. Marketers may share information about their product development goals or different initiatives the company believes in. They may also illustrate how a brand plans to improve the lives of its customers or the communities they work in. Using visionary brand storytelling can help you build a strong community around your company and make your customers feel like they belong to a movement.
Read more: Guide to Vision Statements
7. Legacy brand storytelling
Legacy brand storytelling focuses on a company's history. Marketers may share how the company started, who their founder is and their reason for existing. They may also take customers on a journey by showing them how their brand has evolved over time. This type of brand storytelling can be very effective for companies that have a rich history. Highlighting your longevity as a company can help you build trust with customers and develop a more authentic relationship with them.
8. Employee-focused brand storytelling
This type of brand storytelling features a company's founders, leaders and employees. Marketers may interview these individuals to create video content, capture lifestyle photos of them at work and incorporate employee quotes in their advertising materials. Allowing your employees to help you tell your brand story can make your company appear more authentic and help customers develop a personal connection with your business. Employee-focused brand storytelling can also help companies improve their hiring and recruitment campaigns by showcasing a positive work culture.
9. Character-driven brand storytelling
Character-driven brand story telling features real people, fictional characters or mascots that represent the company. Marketers who use the character-driven brand storytelling approach usually focus on using one individual in all of their advertising campaigns to create consistency and familiarity. Over time, customers may begin to associate the character with the brand. This can help brands appear more human, convey their personality and create memorable connections with customers.
10. Community-focused brand storytelling
Marketers who use the community-focused brand storytelling approach highlight how a company is making a positive impact. They might show how a brand is investing in their community by sharing information about charities they support, fundraisers they've established, organizations their employees volunteer with or actions they've taken to create a better world. This type of brand storytelling can positively influence customers who share the same values as your company and make them feel good about purchasing your products or services.
11. Product or service-based brand storytelling
This brand storytelling approach focuses on how and why a company developed their products and services. Marketers may use product or service-based brand storytelling to highlight key feature and benefits. This can help customers understand the value behind a company's products and services and determine whether they are better than a competitor's. Marketers may also use product or service-based brand storytelling to show consumers how they source their materials. This can provide customers with a sense of transparency and help brands build trust with them.
12. Seasonal stories
Marketers may choose to incorporate seasonal brand storytelling to develop highly relevant advertisements throughout the year. Companies may craft seasonal brand stories around upcoming holidays, awareness months or social events. They can also use the weather or seasons to promote their different products and services. While seasonal brand stories need to be updated frequently to remain relevant, they can be effective because it is easy for customers to relate to them. Companies can also use seasonal stories to highlight their values, showcase their community involvement and create a positive brand message.
13. Educational brand storytelling
Educational stories can provide customers with a significant amount of value by teaching them something new. Marketers often use tutorials, quizzes, interviews with experts and instructional stories to develop educational content customers can engage with. Providing your customers with valuable and educational content can help you increase their brand loyalty over time. Offering free educational content may also increase the amount customers are comfortable spending on your actual products or services, which can help you increase your revenue margins.
14. Customer brand storytelling
Using customer stories is one of the most effective brand storytelling methods because it illustrates how a company's products or services can provide real value to consumers. Marketers may share how their products or services helped a customer overcome a challenge or incorporate testimonials from fans who love their brand. By allowing existing customers to help them tell their brand story, companies can cultivate a deeper understanding with their target audience and help them envision using their products or services themselves.
Examples of brand storytelling
Here are some examples of effective brand storytelling campaigns to help you get started:
Here is an example of a company using customer brand storytelling:
A company that owns several resorts around the world wants to increase their premium memberships. Customers who purchase a premium membership can visit one of their resorts every month for a flat annual fee. To showcase this offer, the company shares customer stories that feature people enjoying a wide range of different tourist attractions, resort amenities and experiences. They also interview happy customers and have them share their favorite travel memories.
This company uses the customer brand storytelling approach to show how their premium resort memberships can provide real value. By sharing their customers' travel experiences and favorite memories, they can communicate why people love their brand. They can also help potential customers envision what type of vacations they may be able to take themselves if they purchase a premium membership.
Here is an example of data-driven brand storytelling:
A technology company wants to promote the innovative artificial intelligence (AI) software they've created to establish themselves as leaders in their industry. At the same time, they want to show customers they can trust their products. Marketers compile data about how the company's AI software is being used to benefit society. Then, they develop an advertising campaign that demonstrates how the company's AI software is 33% more accurate at diagnosing skin diseases than medical professionals are. They also share that their goal is to ensure that every healthcare facility in the United States has AI capabilities by the year 2030.
In this example, marketers use data-driven brand storytelling to get their customers' attention and build trust with them. They use statistics to establish their brand as an industry leader in AI software development. The company also embraces elements of community-focused brand storytelling by sharing how their products can have a positive impact on society. Finally, this company incorporates visionary brand storytelling by highlighting their goal to provide AI capabilities to every healthcare facility in the United States. This mission can encourage their customers to feel like they are a part of a movement and a community.
Here is an example of product-based brand storytelling:
A paper manufacturer wants to show their customers that their products are ethical and sustainable. They develop a campaign that shows how they responsibly source their raw materials and interview knowledgeable employees to educate the public on these practices. They also share information about different sustainable nonprofit organizations they support and highlight their goal to plant 1,000,000 trees this year.
In this example, the paper manufacturer uses product-based brand storytelling to show how they responsibly source their raw materials. This can help them build trust with their customers. They also incorporate employee-focused and educational brand storytelling by having experts on their team provide their audience with key information. Finally, they include elements of community-focused and visionary brand storytelling to share which sustainable nonprofit organizations they currently support and how they plan to improve the environment in the future.
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