Story telling is the cornerstone of effective marketing. Every brand has a narrative; a story about who you are, what you do, and what makes you unique in the world. Experiencing this story over and over and over again helps the customer understand and remember who you are.
Today, we’ve got multiple avenues that make it easier to tell our brand stories – on our websites, on social media, through mobile apps – but actually creating those stories can be challenging. Here are six ways to strengthen your story telling skills:
Take Pictures Throughout Your Day, Every Day
Smartphones make this simple. Get in the habit of taking a couple of pictures every day. Soon, you’ll have a sort of visual journal of your business’ life. Reviewing this periodically can help inspire creativity, and the habit of looking for photo-worthy moments strengthens your story telling skills.
Listen For Stories
During conversations with your customers and colleagues, listen for the stories they’re sharing with you. Some stories relay an experience, others are informative in nature, and some are events in themselves, meant to provoke a laugh or other emotional response. Familiarizing yourself with the different types of stories makes it easier to create stories of your own.
Give Yourself Story Telling Goals
Having specific, concrete goals, such as “I will tell one story on social media this week,” can help you focus your story telling efforts. A deadline to work against puts hard limits on the decision making process; you have to choose a story idea and commit to telling it, rather than endlessly dithering among all the possibilities.
Remember, Stories Can Be Told Many Ways
Stories can be written down. They can be told via a live-streamed performance. Stories can be told without any words at all, using iconography, imagery, video and more. You can even tell a story via chat messages or Tweets. Explore different story telling platforms. You may find one story telling method to be more comfortable and intuitive to you than another.
In today’s fast paced world, you’re likely not going to have anyone’s attention for long. Create your stories accordingly, keeping in mind the norms of the platform you’re going to share your stories on. Vines, Snapchat and Instagram videos, and even GIFs convey stories in a handful of seconds; YouTube videos can be much longer.
Binge watching has shaped customers’ expectations of narratives. Capitalize on this by creating campaigns composed of several linked episodes. Purina is doing a great job of this with their Dear Kitten videos. Familiarity can boost goodwill and brand recognition. Big story telling campaigns take some time to implement, so make sure you really like your concept before you commit to it!