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The Power Of Telling Brand Stories

July 17, 2023

In this digital age it’s easy to get lost in crowd. With 5 seconds tops to capture interest the crux is to be distinct. But with thousands of competitors vying for attention how do you boost your brand communications to stand out? It’s time to harness your story power to fly high. Read on for insights. and tips you can try today.

We’re All Wired For Stories

Science tells us that, as far back as ancient times, we’ve been shaping and sharing stories. In fact, via our language gene FOXP2, story is wired into our DNA. 

Across centuries and cultures storytelling has gifted us with the primal tools to engage and inspire. You could argue, it’s had a hand in our very survival.  

What if you could harness the art of story to elevate your brand words in far-reaching, amazing ways? Feel intrigued – keep reading. 

The ‘Hero’s Journey’ – Drives Brand Storytelling

Across centuries, people have pondered what makes a good story.  The late, great American Professor of literature and mythology Professor Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) wrote ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). In it he shared his take on the hero’s journey myth.

Reference: Joseph Campbell Hero's Journey Image (c/o Wikipedia)

This model follows the familiar story arc of the individual who is called to adventure, faces a crisis, meets a guide, pushes to overcome and unlocks transformation.  

This taps into our primal, human need to join the dots, rise above and bask in the joy of success. So, mastered right - story is your small business super-power. 

Applying The Hero’s Journey In Content

Whilst there’s certainly a place for sharing your ‘business story’ it’s vital that your brand storytelling is not all about ‘you.’ Mr StoryBrand himself, Donald Miller, sums it up below.

“When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as the guide, we will be recognized as a trusted resource to help them overcome their challenges.” Donald Miller

To capture your target customer’s attention, you must make them the ‘hero’ not your brand. Your priority should be to build empathy for where they are and where they want to be. It’s about positioning yourself as the ‘guide’ to take them forward. 

When creating content, it’s useful to keep the hero’s journey in mind. The priority is that, through your brand communications, you are taking them on a relevant and resonant journey from a place of pain to a world of gain.

My 7-point Brand Storytelling Flow diagram draws on the theories of Campbell and Miller, to help you find your brand storytelling flow to engage your ideal humans.

Different Stories For Brand Impact 

When incorporating story into your communications, it’s important to ensure there is a strong sense of: purpose, relatability and emotion. It is about connecting heart-heart and human-human. Here are some story types to try:

  • Origin/back story – A story highlights your journey as a business or brand owner. It’s a great way to reinforce your passions, purpose, personality and promise. 

Tip: Draw on common linkages/life experiences with universal relevance.

  • Everyday ‘micro’ stories – Any everyday story or anecdote has the potential to entertain and inspire and engage your audience.

Tip: Connect with your audience’s journey - their pain and gain points.  

  • Epiphany story – A story that highlights growth, a turning point – an ‘epiphany.’ This is a  powerful way to stir people’s hunger for transformation. 

Tip: Paint a picture of exciting transformation with your choice of words. 

You don’t need to be a pro writer to start using story in your content. The best thing is to trial different ways that feel authentic and encourage your audience to engage.        

Top Storytelling Texts To Inspire You

There are a wealth of rad reads to boost your storytelling smarts. Here are my top 5 for you to explore.

  1. The Science of Storytelling: Why Stories Make Us Human, and How to Tell Them Better by Will Storr.  Unpack the science, history and structure that powers great stories.
  2. Story 10x: Turn the Impossible Into the Inevitable by Michael Margolis. Stories are the beads on the necklace of narrative. Don’t miss this fab framework for brand and business leaders.
  3. All Marketers Are Liars (Tell Stories) by Seth Godin. This pocket-sized gem really gets to the heart of how a great story underpins great marketing.
  4. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall. A quirky journey through the storytelling genre with a scientific and sociological twist.
  5. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller. Mr StoryBrand gives the lowdown a structure for shaping compelling brand stories.  

Next Story Steps – Be Human to Human

I understand that getting started with storytelling in your business can be daunting. But let me reassure you, you don’t need to be a pro to take prospects on a story journey.

Firstly, your story success centres on your ability to connect. If go human-human with your target audience then you're on the right path.

Secondly, weave your words to speak to your audience’s pain and gain points. Highlight how your brand guides them to them to a better place.

Thirdly, stay true to the universally recognisable 7-point hero’s story steps. As we've heard above this is universally recognised and reassuring to your reader.

And, finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with your words.  Trial different story styles to see what gets the most engagement. Once you get in your story flow it becomes like second nature.

One thing is for sure, you’ll never regret going exploring brand story to stand out and shine. 

“No one ever made a decision because of a number. They need a story.” Daniel Kahneman

If you feel you’re eager to unleash your brand story power, explore my Brand Words section for different options. Or, alternatively, book a Brand Brilliance Comms Hour to unpick your story approach or a Brand Clarity Call to help you decide.  


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