How to Use Brand Storytelling to Grow Your Business

Another great article from Mary Aspen Richardson

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/chalkboard-story-blogging-believe-620316/

We all love a good story. Since the age of campfires, we almost seem hard-wired to recognize narrative patterns and relate with benevolent underdog protagonists. We value storytellers themselves as the vessels of the stories they tell – especially if they’re protagonists. Is it surprising, then, that storytelling offers an excellent marketing opportunity? For many, it’s probably not. Indeed, storytelling can inspire trust, foster bonds, and do so much more that marketers crave as outcomes. To illustrate this, let us explore how to use brand storytelling to grow your business.

What is brand storytelling?

First and foremost, let’s establish what exactly brand storytelling is. At its core, it’s a simple enough concept; your brand’s stories elicit specific positive emotions. But that’s just its fundamental function – how it does so is rather complex, albeit specific:

Source: https://blog.flipsnack.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/01-steps-to-create-a-good-brand-story-v3.jpg.webp

So first, your story needs to be good. This fundamental quality will allow it to entice audiences and incite engagement. Then, it needs to specifically address your audiences’ problems, i.e., pain points in marketing terms. Finally, it needs to remain consistent and foster long-term relationships to best leverage the positive emotions it elicits.

Of course, what makes a good story is a vast subject in itself, which we can’t afford to dive into here thoroughly. Still, if you’d like to know more about these fundamentals, you may also consult our article on why brands need stories, to begin with.

Ways to use brand storytelling to grow your business

Having a good story is only the first half of the proverbial battle. The second, perhaps even more crucial, half is leveraging it effectively. We all know the common saying about trees falling in the forest; it also applies here.

In brief, you may leverage brand storytelling through virtually every marketing channel. Among others, consider the three key examples that follow.

#1 Content marketing

First, no matter which marketing channels you prefer, you most likely have a content marketing strategy in place. Growing your brand almost necessitates one, and you can use content to your advantage in various ways toward this end. As Bill Gates famously asserted in the distant 90s, “content is king” indeed.

To illustrate this, consider the most common goals of content marketing:

Source: https://visme.co/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/13-1.jpg

As you can see, brand awareness predictably reigns supreme. Audience education and building trust come second and third, respectively, and “pure” marketing goals only follow this trio.

Luckily, brand storytelling explicitly seeks to achieve these exact goals as well. Put differently – you will most often use brand storytelling to grow your business. You can thus use it confidently to enrich your content marketing strategies – and reap some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) benefits through higher authority and more engagement.

#2 Social media

Second, your marketing channels most likely include some social media platforms. It’s hard to argue against it; consider TikTok’s unique path to purchase and stellar marketing results. Marketers can’t afford to overlook social media marketing nowadays or the vast potential audiences it offers.

In addition, visual content like the infographic above remains remarkably effective as a form of content. Social media platforms also thrive on such content – especially visually-focused ones like Instagram and Pinterest. Not-so-coincidentally, storytelling does so as well, making this nothing short of the perfect match. With increasingly more features on “stories,” your brand story has a natural home in social media.

#3 Email

Finally, email most likely won’t be absent from your arsenal either. The king of marketing for many, email boasts up to a dazzling 4,200% Return On Investment (ROI) – if done correctly. And as modern audiences increasingly seek value and personalization, “correctly” often overlaps with “using effective stories.” So, why not use brand storytelling to grow your business through your newsletter and email outreach?

Indeed, consider typical trust signals that facilitate higher email open rates, your mission statement, which audiences increasingly value as an indicator of moral alignment, or even clean, compelling copy, which will convince them that your solution suits them best. These elements, which email marketing hinges on, require brand storytelling to shine through.

Leveraging brand storytelling

Now, how exactly you do so will ultimately depend on you; the stories you have to share, the channels you use, your unique audiences, etc. Still, leveraging storytelling does require some universal principles, which we may cover here.

#1 Craft a compelling story

Before all else, you will need a compelling story to spearhead your efforts. Remember the “three Es” brand storytelling calls for:

Source: https://stonecreate.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Brand-Storytelling-V2-01-2560×1301-1-768×390.png

You cannot entice audiences or have them engage with subpar stories. You most certainly cannot enthrall them with them either. So, to use brand storytelling to grow your business, you may start with the key components of any good story:

  • A relatable protagonist. Who are you, and who are the people behind your brand? When and how did you get started? Brand humanization is critical here.
  • Adversity. Similarly, why did your brand come to be? Which persistent problems in your field called you to action? What problems did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?
  • A positive outcome. With challenges behind you, what lies ahead? How does your brand seek to help your audiences, and why are they now your focal point?

As you do, remember to keep it a story; few people will care for business loans and mergers. Your brand will need to sound human in relatable terms for people to relate to you.

#2 Center on the customer

Next, your story needs to use said humanization to bring your audience into the spotlight. It’s their journey that you can make more pleasant, and it’s their problems you can solve. In this sense, the customer is the ultimate protagonist – and you’re there to help. Embracing this philosophy may be the best way to use brand storytelling to grow your business.

To do so, among other approaches, you may:

  • Have them identify with you. Focus on your shared love for the field; you should come off as their peer with a shared journey.
  • Focus on their pain points. Lean into their concerns, and highlight exactly how your brand’s story crafted the ideal solutions.
  • Encourage engagement. Ask for engagement, comments, shares, and so on. The more they hear from you, the more confident they will feel in your genuine willingness to help.

All the better if you can do so through social media polls and activity.

#3 Focus on long-term connections

Finally, the ultimate goal of this approach is, of course, to forge meaningful, long-lasting connections. This is an almost inherent goal from a storytelling perspective, but it’s also one of deep marketing value. Consider the sheer value of customer retention as LinkedIn illustrates it:

Source: https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/image/C5612AQGjeev_4-8JJQ/article-inline_image-shrink_1500_2232/0/1520141138069?e=1657152000&v=beta&t=oU98XKa4BlXb9sb5WUjR3SF2Fnn1XuMKc1CiGxltG8M

For an age when the Edelman Trust Barometer identifies a “cycle of mistrust,” connections weaved through stories may be the best remedy. In this sense, you won’t just use brand storytelling to grow your business but also sustain it through deep-rooted trust. Your storytelling will substantially inform your perceived trustworthiness from your mission statement to humanization through influencer marketing and everything in-between. 

To strive for this goal, you may consider the approach that best fits your story. For some basic examples:

  • Do you persistently champion a noble cause?
  • Does your social media marketing activity thrive on constant engagement?
  • Perhaps you require your audiences’ support as an underdog against your field’s status quo?

In all such cases, centering on loyalty through engagement, customer support, and loyalty programs should frame your storytelling.

Conclusion

There are as many ways to use brand storytelling to grow your business as there are brand stories. You may leverage it through any marketing channels you engage in and to any extent your audiences allow. In all cases, however, brand storytelling requires a good story that humanizes your brand. It calls for a keen focus on the customer’s needs and an authentic willingness to forge long-lasting connections. Finding exactly how to manifest these qualities will often present a challenge, as different storytelling techniques resonate with different audiences. Still, it’s almost imperative that you do so for brand awareness and customer retention. While brief, this article hopefully offered some inspiration for fueling your brand’s growth through its unique, enticing story.

Social Media Manager Role Evolution, New Marketing Practices, Take Shape

Do you want to pursue a career in social media marketing? Are you looking to hire a social media manager to upscale your business’ marketing growth?

Regardless of your goal, you need to understand what it truly takes to be an exceptional social media manager.

7 Tips for a Successful Rebrand

Guest article from Mary Aspen Richardson

In the digital age, branding is crucial; from a brand’s logo and mission statement to its website’s color and outreach tone, a brand’s identity will inform customers’ perceptions, expectations, and behaviors. Proper branding will instill positive connotations in brand recognition, inspire trust, and foster long-term relationships. Thus, a rebrand may be highly desirable or even unavoidable when this pivotal element underperforms. However, that’s no easy process, and it comes with multiple pitfalls for the unprepared. To help you navigate these waters, then, let us share 7 tips for a successful rebrand.

When is it time to rebrand?

First, let’s briefly outline the reasons and motivations for a rebrand. Doing so here will help contextualize the process that follows.

Brands will typically consider rebranding of different scales in such cases as:

  • Mergers and acquisitions. In such cases, the merged entity may either maintain the brand image of the better-known brand or compound the two. Still, a rebrand of some scale may be necessary.
  • Market repositioning. Attracting new audiences and redefining one’s position in the market will also often require a new brand identity. This is particularly true when a brand expands its offerings.
  • Expansion into new markets. For effectively similar reasons, expanding into new markets will also often require a reinvigoration of one’s brand. New audience segments will often require a different identity to resonate with.
  • Damage control. Relatively more rarely, brands may also be damaged seemingly beyond repair. In those cases, a rebrand may be the only viable option.
  • Modernization. Finally, time inevitably outdates brands as well. Realigning core values with one’s audiences, recalibrating internal culture, and other branding elements can effectively refresh a brand’s image.

Of course, the exact scale of one’s rebranding efforts will strongly depend on the reason. Modernization may require little more than a visual update, for instance. In contrast, repositioning may call for complete reinventions to add proper meaning to one’s marketing.

7 Tips for a Successful Rebrand

With this context in mind, let’s outline a strategic, prudent rebrand process.

#1 Collect feedback

Feedback collection and data analysis are likely vital parts of your marketing efforts. If so, they can also serve as excellent foundations for rebranding. Consider such practices as the following, through which you may extract meaningful insights.

Tracking website visitors and activity

Monitoring your website’s effectiveness is among the most reliable ways to know what your audience wants, needs, and expects. You may use such tools as Google Analytics, website heat maps, and other dedicated marketing solutions that collect analytics.

Conducting surveys

Where tracking performance handles quantitative data, surveys offer qualitative data to explain your findings. Audiences are typically very eager to participate in surveys and tend to respond honestly. Moreover, they appreciate the perceived attention to their views on your brand and their experience with it.

Employing social listening

Finally, you may monitor what audiences won’t say directly through social listening. Such tools allow you to track discussions on your brand that happen outside of your profiles and content and can perfectly complement your social media strategies as well.

#2 Identify rebranding triggers

With all your insights, you may now more reliably identify rebranding triggers. In line with the circumstances outlined above, consider such findings as:

  • A poor reputation
  • Low trust
  • Poor engagement signals
  • Low market penetration
  • Branding inconsistencies

If such conclusions can’t be remedied with smaller, hyper-specific changes to your outreach, PR, and content strategies, it may be time for a rebrand. Of course, the key to a successful rebrand is to initiate it exactly when it’s needed.

#3 Carefully consider the cost and risks

Still, before you get started, you should also consider the scope of your investment. That is, the costs, time frame, expected returns, and potential risks.

For this step, as you solidify your plans, examine:

  • Costs. Depending on your rebrand’s scope and exact nature, costs will vary considerably. Simple visual polish may not strain your budget much, but holistic reinventions of your brand will.
  • Time. Similarly, rebranding takes time to complete and bear fruit. This time investment will also occupy your teams and sway them from their current tasks.
  • Risks. Finally, no business effort is ever truly free of risk, and neither is rebranding. Slight changes may fail to meet your goals, while complete makeovers may alienate existing audiences.

By no means should this step discourage you. However, evaluating those factors may inform your choices and guide your efforts toward a safer direction.

#4 Rebuild your visual identity, retell your story, and recapture your audiences

With all of the above covered, you may now begin executing a successful rebrand. Here, you may start with your visual identity and then explicitly address all shortcomings you’ve identified above.

The 3 fundamentals for this stage, as the section’s subheading suggests, are the following.

Rebuilding your visual identity

Start with your brand’s visual identity; humans are very visual beings. Examine your logo, website design, social media profiles, and even visual content, and align them with your rebranding’s goals.

Retelling your story

Your brand needs a story, and rebranding entails retelling it. Beyond visuals, examine:

  • Your mission statement and vision
  • Your brand values and culture
  • Your brand voice and personality

The sum of such elements ultimately tells your brand’s story, communicating its past, present, and future.

Recapturing your audiences

Finally, consult your insights again to determine what existing audiences expect. Maintain these values and qualities, and keep them at the core of your new brand identity. At the same time, keep an eye on your new audiences – should they be your rebrand’s goal.

#5 Test your concepts with key stakeholders

Next, you may begin testing such rebranding concepts with key stakeholders. For larger-scale rebrands, at this stage, you should also establish a rigid rebranding framework; as you approach launch, all teams must work in perfect synergy. Without this happening, you cannot have a successful rebrand of any considerable scale.

At this stage, you may move beyond the C-suite and test the waters with existing customers, employees, and other stakeholders. If you have access to audiences of potential customers, they should also help immensely. This step will help identify potential issues and shortcomings early and allow you to correct your course if need be.

#6 Deploy a “stealth” brand launch

Moving beyond closed test environments, you may proceed with a “stealth” launch – a soft, controlled launch to critical stakeholders. This practice allows for a gradual, safer rebrand execution that typically works better than abrupt, explosive announcements and launches.

You may begin with your internal teams, other key partners, and key customers for this step. Outline your reasons and motivations, allow for previews and constructive input, and prepare press releases as needed. This step will serve as the final rehearsal before your full launch, so remain vigilant and attentive.

#7 Remain persistent and consistent

Finally, once you have fully launched your rebrand, it is crucial that you commit to it. By this stage, you should have

  • Identified your key rebranding triggers, backed by ample data
  • Planned your rebrand and execution
  • Progressively and thoroughly tested your changes

That is not to say you may not need to make minor adjustments by any means. In fact, as with all business endeavors, maintaining a watchful eye over your analytics may always reveal more room for improvement.

However, you should now largely have a solid, data-driven, robust rebrand in place. As such, it is crucial that you fully commit to it; rebranding entails a new brand identity, regardless of size. Customers perceiving your rebrand as superficial or a quick fix will, in most cases, hamper your efforts, if not outright invalidate them.

In closing

To summarize, there are many reasons why a rebrand may be essential. A plain visual one may be desirable, or a holistic one may be necessary. In all cases, however, a successful rebrand requires very careful planning and strategic execution.

You may begin with accurate data to identify your rebrand triggers and negotiate its type and scope to best match your needs. You may then evaluate the risks, craft your new identity, and consistently test it with select audiences and stakeholders. Finally, you must fully commit to your rebrand post-launch to maintain trust with your audiences and ensure success. It may not be easy, but with these 7 tips for a successful rebrand, it will certainly be more manageable.

Meta description: From collecting insights and identifying your rebrand triggers to a strategic execution, discover 7 key tips for a successful rebrand.

Photos used:

https://pixabay.com/illustrations/rebranding-branding-brand-graphic-6672112/
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https://pixabay.com/photos/painting-pencils-paint-pens-911804/
https://www.pexels.com/photo/group-of-people-on-conference-room-1181396/

7 Tips to Increase Engagement on Your Social Media Polls

TikTok Shares New Tips on How to Maximize Branded Content on the Platform

As TikTok continues to grow, and become a key culture driver in many regions, many advertisers are logically considering how they can tap into the platform in order to boost their promotions.

But marketing on TikTok is different from other platforms, most specifically in that TikTok users respond better to native-style content, arguably more so than other platforms. The full-screen, short-form nature of TikTok clips means that interruptive approaches are less successful, so you need to align with norms and trends of the ‘For You’ feed for maximum branding impact.

Why Your Brand Needs a Story

Your brand is much more than your logo or your company name. Brands inherently carry value, and they represent your company’s identity. The best way to inform your audience of the values your brand represents is to take them on an engaging journey and get them caught up in caring about your story. To make these concepts somewhat less abstract, we will explain in detail why your brand needs a story.

How to create a story for your brand

Unfortunately, developing an engaging story that captures the interest of your audience isn’t all that simple. You can’t just cobble together an About us page and call it a day. Technically you could, but that isn’t exactly the type of winning storytelling you are trying to achieve.

You’ll need to go back to your core values and ask yourself what exactly you want to accomplish. Think about what prompted you to found the company in the first place. Was there a specific spark of inspiration that led to the conception of your products? Generally, most products and services are created to respond to a need or solve a problem users might be having. Try to put into words the problems you are trying to solve and how you will make that happen for your customers.

Give your audience a taste of what makes your company unique, and inform them how their experience will be different if they choose to do business with you. Have your marketing carry meaning and purpose, and make your company’s values permeate every customer interaction. You might think that your products set you apart from the competition, but you first need to find a way to tell that to your audience.

What makes a good story?

You actually don’t need too many ingredients for a story to be good. Pretty much all that’s required is to have compelling characters and an obstacle they need to overcome. In this instance, your brand and all the people behind it will be the characters. When it comes to the obstacles – you can simply talk from experience. Stories are always about building a relationship with your audience. It’s time to open up and share your experiences and the struggles your business has faced so far. People always love a good underdog story, and if you present your tale in a compelling way, your audience will empathize and root for your success.

The benefits of creating a story for your brand

Having a story associated with your brand is a great way to get people to care. There are more businesses fighting for their 5 minutes in the spotlight than there are minutes in the day. It has become exceedingly difficult to stand out in an overcrowded market. However, if you manage to elicit a positive emotional response, you are more likely to create a lasting impression. By creating a captivating story, your brand will get easily recognized. Getting people to know who you are and care for your story is what marketing is all about. This is ultimately why your brand needs a story – because people’s impressions of your brand will make or break your business.

Brand storytelling in the modern marketplace

Basic psychology says you have very little time to make a first impression. You either win people over, or you don’t, and getting a do-over is almost impossible. Unfortunately, user attention spans in online spaces are ridiculously short. The average user is constantly bombarded by tons of information, and they have grown desensitized to traditional marketing. This gives you only a few opportunities to tell your story and explain what your brand is all about. Making an impactful first impression is why your brand needs a story that will help you attract the right audience.

You can forget traditional storytelling techniques. Your marketing on social media needs to be attention-grabbing, short, and impactful. Social networks like TikTok and Instagram commonly have users scroll over vast amounts of content in a manner of seconds. Businesses need to go the extra mile to ensure a positive customer experience because opportunities for user interaction are few and far between.

If you are in doubt about how to navigate the social media landscape, you should look at what is trending on those platforms. Both users and businesses are constantly outputting new content. Social networks have transitioned from places where users connect to platforms for consuming content. There is a reason content marketing has become the new industry buzzword. However, to make your content stand out, you need to master the art of short-form expression.

The minimalist approach

You need to be able to tell your brand story with the fewest possible number of individual elements. In this context, there are many design mistakes and pitfalls you have to avoid. All the design elements need to work in perfect harmony, and even the smallest piece of the puzzle needs to be able to tell your story.

Of course, there is also a necessity to tell your story more broadly once you get your audience to listen to what you have to say. At the end of the day, those small pieces need to connect to the larger and more complex parts. If you keep everything bite-sized, your values will appear to be only surface level. Use your website to post long-form articles that go into more detail about important topics. Create videos that demonstrate how to use your products and the benefits they provide. Most importantly, find a way to distill the essence of that longer content. You have to be able to showcase your best qualities in snippets.

Rounding up

Creating a compelling story will take some work, but it is bound to pay off. Modern audiences want to be engaged and entertained in a way that makes them feel understood. Having them connect to your business on a personal level is the best way to build a loyal customer base. Hopefully, we’ve explained why your brand needs a story and how to go about creating one for your business. Now it’s time to get creative and let everyone know what your brand is all about.

Meta description: Does your business get the attention it deserves? Many brands are struggling to get noticed, which is why your brand needs a story.

Thanks to Mary Aspen Richardson for the submission

The Impact of TikTok Clips in the Purchase Journey

TikTok has published a new report which provides fresh insights into the role that its platform plays in the evolving path to purchase, and how TikTok clips can change the way that brands and consumers interact.

8 Free Google Ads Tools to Help Boost Website Traffic

Are you just getting started with a Google Ads campaign for your business? Need help creating your ads and deciding on the right way forward?

The team from Red Website Design share 8 free Google Ads tools to try in this infographic.

6 Ways to Add More Meaning and Purpose to Your Marketing Strategy

To be successful, a marketing strategy needs to be carefully thought out and meticulously planned. Creating a winning marketing strategy is always tricky. However, if you manage to get things right, it will help your business grow and expand. Rather than recommending general and vague approaches, we will discuss six ways to add more meaning and purpose to your marketing strategy.

1.  Carefully determine the goals of your marketing strategy

You’ll need to have a good idea of what you want to achieve with your marketing. Some of the most common answers usually revolve around selling more products. However, modern brands have a complex relationship with the internet, and marketing can be used for much more than simply moving products. Focusing only on sales can actually alienate some of your audience. Instead, you can look for ways to add more meaning and purpose to your marketing strategy while adopting a more humane approach.

Other goals you can achieve through your marketing strategy:

  • Increase confidence in your brand. Let customers know how committed you are to improving the user experience and gain their trust as you become the industry leader for your sector.
  • Boost your audience and increase your reach. Build a large following so your future marketing efforts will have a large audience base that is already receptive to your products.
  • Improve customer retention. Work towards building strong relationships with your customers in order to win their return business.

Although it may sound trivial, it’s important to figure out what you want to achieve through your marketing. The goals for a marketing strategy for selling a home will be quite different from marketing for an eCommerce store.

2.  Know which metrics are important for your marketing strategy

The internet is a large place, and there is an insane amount of data being generated every 60 seconds. Even if you try to look at just the data your marketing can produce, it will still be very easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information.

Realistically, not all the data you gather will be relevant. You’ll need to eliminate the needless information and get rid of as much noise as you can to focus on what’s really important, and your choice of metrics can help you there.

You can ask members from various departments which Key Performance Indicators are essential to them. However, you should also include customer feedback so that you can add more meaning and purpose to your marketing strategy.

3.  Define your audience

When trying to create a marketing strategy, it’s crucial to know who you will be marketing to. Defining your target market doesn’t mean you need to market to only one audience, but you should still know which demographics your users fall into.

If you are marketing a single product to multiple different demographics, you should make small adjustments to better resonate with those audiences. It’s also important to note where those audiences reside on the internet and customize your marketing to better fit the trends on those platforms. Social media can have an enormous impact on audience behavior, and it can also influence what kind of content will get more shares and likes.

4.  Create amazing content

For the longest time, content creation was viewed separately from marketing. On the other hand, nowadays, you simply can’t avoid industry buzzwords like content marketing.

Intermixing engaging content with your other promotional marketing can make your entire marketing strategy come off as more appealing to a wider audience. If you are struggling to find the right balance of content and promotional ads, you can follow the 80-20 rule. This means that 80 percent of your marketing needs to offer genuine value to your users.

However, you’ll also need to create a plan to distribute the content out to your audience. You don’t have to limit yourself to only one channel or platform. On the other hand, you can also hide some of your content behind a subscription, which can be a great way to get a hold of user emails and generate leads.

5.  Focus on boosting local SEO

Connecting to your local community is one of the best ways to add more meaning and purpose to your marketing strategy. You should get to know the people in your area and start building solid relationships with the people in your community. This can include both customers and other local businesses.

Support local events, or even host your own, and try to be present whenever something important is happening. This will give your marketing a hands-on approach, and your brand will become a common household name.

When it comes to the SEO side of things, you can try out some of the following:

  • Claim your Google My Business entry. Try to get on Google’s map pack to get more hits from local searches.
  • Create dedicated landing pages for your city. Whether your business has offices in multiple locations or just one base of operations, it’s a good idea to make a specialized landing page for your city.
  • Make sure your NAP is consistent. Check out all of the places your business is listed online and see if they have the correct information with your company name, address, and phone number.

6.  Automate certain parts of your marketing

Some business owners may fear that marketing automation can make their company feel impersonal. On the contrary, if you automate some of the processes that are more mundane, you will have more time to focus on your leads and build stronger relationships with your customers. Your marketing will also be much more efficient, and employees will have an easier time sharing information across teams. Automation is also scalable, so you will be able to find the perfect balance for your business.

In conclusion

Marketing can make or break any business, and if you play your cards right, you’ll be able to win over a loyal following, increase sales, and boost your brand’s reputation. A good solution to ensure your marketing stays on track is implementing these six ways to add more meaning and purpose to your marketing strategy. By following our tips, you will be able to achieve success and set up your business for long-term stability.

Meta description: Your company’s marketing needs to be able to achieve multiple goals. Here are 6 ways to add more meaning and purpose to your marketing strategy.

Images used:

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