Industry Insights

What is Storytelling? And Why It’s More Important Than Ever...

By Jane Whittles


5 Minute Read


Wednesday, 8th July 2020

Who doesn’t love a good story? Memories of childhood bedtime stories, mates at the pub telling their tales on a Friday night and we all have that ONE friend who just loves to share a story (you know who you are).  And as we listen, we buy into the excitement, we laugh, we empathise, we learn something new, we visualise the story in our heads and we remember it. Stories build connections between friends, between families and from a brand point of view, with customers.

 So, why is it so important for your business or brand to tell its story?  

Two reasons: one, it differentiates your brand from competitors and two, people will remember it (which means they remember you when they make a purchase decision).

What is Storytelling?

Remember these? Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot and John Lewis with Excitable Edgar.

Aldi are telling us that they have everything you need to put on the best Christmas dinner ever, but it seems better when we hear the story of how Kevin the Carrot has to save Christmas.  And poor Excitable Edgar, he loves Christmas,yet keeps ruining everyone else’s fun with his fire breathing antics. His best friend, Ava, delivers him the perfect Christmas gift, a pudding! We feel sad,we laugh, we share comments on social media with our friends.  We’re engaged!

These retailers are building a connection, engaging all the senses, pulling themselves away from other retailers to tell you a compelling story that you’ll remember.

But, we haven’t all got John Lewis’s marketing budget, have we?  Doesn’t matter, anyone can tell their story, and importantly, ensure it permeates every facet of marketing collateral that you possess. Website, social media, packaging, case studies, presentations… tell your story at every possible moment.

How To Find Your Story?

So, how do you find your own story? Time to take a step back. Put the kettle on and sit down with a cuppa and a notepad. Take sometime to have a think about your brand or business and ask yourself some questions:

  • How did your business/brand start and why?

  • What do customers think about your business/brand?

  • What do you do better than anyone else?

  • Do you have a founder?

  • Your best and worst customer review?

Put some thoughts on paper (try a mind map), keep it casual and make it personal, no-one wants to hear a story full of corporate blah blah. Is there humour or tension in your story?  Something that went wrong and had to be fixed for example. Can you tell a tale about how you came up with the idea or what you stand for? Do you champion customer service (I mean really champion customer service), are you environmentally responsible and dedicated to a circular economy? Are you a B Corp? Do you do good things in your community?There are lots of ways to stand out and stand up for something that your customers can believe in too.

Think of some of your favourite brands, what’s their story?  Why do you like them, why do you buy them? Are you proud to tell people that you buy them? Work out what their story might be, it will give you ideas for your own.

Once you have a rough outline or your mind map (I love a mind map), have a look at every point where a customer interacts with your brand/business. Your story needs to run through every touch point.  Before, during and after a purchase your story should be there, loud and clear, telling your tale.  It should incorporate and be supported by,your brand assets, brand values etc., to create a beautiful brand circle (more on that in another blog). Think about social media, your business card, website, advertising, case studies, press releases, sales team, after sales service… time for another mind map.

But Why Is Your Story So Important Now?

Well, sorry to bring it up, but we’re going through one of the most tumultuous times in our history, and I don’t just mean Covid-19,but also Brexit.  We’re all concerned about the future of our livelihoods, our food and drink, our health, the economy, and just what’s going to happen next. So, if that doesn’t tell you that you’re going to have to shout and holler about how amazing your business/brand is, then I don’t know what will.

As we all embark on a brave new journey, post-lockdown, and your customers and consumers start to spend their cash, what are you doing to ensure that your business gets a piece of that spend?  What makes your brand stand out from competitors? What are you putting on social media? What’s your story?

 Need a hand? Give us a call and we can have a chat (mind maps not compulsory).

About The Author

View more from Jane

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