In today’s crowded digital world, brands need to stand out more than ever if they wish to succeed. The amount of noise on social media and the competition in search rankings is more intense than it has ever been, and it’s not going to get any easier. Given this, how can brands break through and reach their audience?
The answer comes in two parts: a consistent brand voice, and storytelling to back it up. These two elements, when combined, will create the ultimate representation of your brand. Join us as we look at the steps to building your brand’s voice and telling great stories with it.
How to Develop and Establish Your Brand’s Voice
Before you can start telling stories, you need to establish how you will tell them. What kind of tone will you use? Will you be casual, friendly, funny, or strictly professional? All of these things, and more, are defined by your brand’s voice.
All of this is fueled by your ability to make your brand more reachable. As you build this voice, you need to be more available to your customers.
This is separate from your visual marketing and your writing guidelines (grammar, spelling, etc). Despite being separate, it’s a vital part of everything you do. Here are some ways to establish your voice:
1. Establish Your Personality
Start by choosing three words that you feel would represent your brand’s voice. One example would be clear, friendly, and bold. You can, of course, choose more specific words as you narrow down your personality.
Simply consider this to be the voice your brand would have if it were a real person. How would they approach situations, what would be their tone in each approach? Use these things to define your personality and narrow down those three words that describe you and your brand.
2. Listen and React
The next step, is to look at your audience and your competition. In both cases, you should be doing more listening than talking. Look at how your customers tend to communicate, which words they use, and the tone they take.
Now, look at your competition. How are they promoting their brand? Do they use similar wording, or take a different direction? Now, look at yourself and your business.
Do you want to try a similar approach to your competition? You could, but you should also take your customers into account and make sure you’re appealing to them and their personalities. It’s here that you should seek a balance between everything.
3. Be an Inspiration
The final step, is to take your brand’s voice to the next level and use it to say something that no one else is saying. Here’s where you speak to your audience, use power verbs, and really get them excited to be a part of your brand.
This is where stories come into play.
How to Harness Storytelling With Your Brand’s Voice
Stories make everything more interesting. Think about it: would you read a boring article about increasing traffic to your blog, or would you read an exciting case study where someone actually did it? You would, of course, check out the success story.
Here are some tips to tell stories that are interesting, engaging, and beneficial for your brand and its voice:
1. Start With The Right Structure
We’ve all probably seen <href="#/media/File:Freytags_pyramid.svg">Freytag’s pyramid before, but you may not have realized that this is the name for it. This diagram outlines the perfect structure for a story. Whether you’re tweeting something, crafting a Facebook post, or writing a story for your blog, this structure is the ideal way to tell your story.
Start with some exposition, creating conflict, reach a climax, and then come down to an ending. It’s a great flow for any story, especially in your marketing.
2. Make Your Customers The Focus
Brands often think that stories should be about them, but that’s not the case. Instead, your customers should be the focus of every story you tell. Make them the main character, and your product the solution to the problems they face.
This is the best way to connect with them and show that you care about their well-being. Your customers will also empathize with the characters in the story, making it all the more impactful.
3. Try Different Formats
Stories aren’t always text. Sometimes, they’re told through pictures. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. A lot of brands utilize visual storytelling to break up the usual text that their audience is used to seeing.
NASA, for example, posts incredibly space images and pairs them with some facts. The story is primarily found in the picture.
Your brand’s voice and the stories you tell go hand-in-hand. Mastering the first one, allows you to harness the other. It’s the best way to connect with your customers and grow your brand in new and exciting ways.