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How To Harness the Power of Authentic Brand Storytelling

Using authentic brand storytelling is often the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to connecting with your audience. Your offer could be perfect; you could have lists of features, mountains of data, and the world’s best marketing team. But if your brand isn’t using storytelling, there’s always going to be something missing for your customers.

Brand Authenticity

The most successful brands of all time – think Disney, Apple, Nike, or Gilette – all understand that storytelling is crucial to brand authenticity. In other words, your audience doesn’t just want to know what you do, they want to know who you are and how you got here.

Authentic Brand Storytelling: Belle On Bev

Belle on Bev

Storytelling’s impact on brand authenticity

Storytelling is a key part of the strategy when it comes to how to improve your brand. We like to believe that facts and logical reasoning make the biggest difference in making decisions, but that’s simply not true.

The biggest brands in the world didn’t get to where they are because they made the most logically sound case for themselves. They got there because they told a compelling story that moved people to action and created a sense of loyalty and community.

Authentic brand storytelling is a mirror through which your ideal customers can see the best parts of themselves. Your brand’s journey mimics their own frustrations, fears, and path to overcome the problem you’re perfectly equipped to solve.

This feeling of connection allows customers to perceive you as more trustworthy, more honest, and more authentic. Your brand isn’t cold data and pure facts – it’s an entity they can relate to.

Stories and neuroscience

Why do stories hold such power over us? Simply put, stories are how our brains learn. We make connections to ourselves, each other, and the world around us through stories. And we form powerful connections with the people who tell us those stories through something called neural coupling.

Neural coupling causes the brain activity of a listener to mirror that of a speaker. In other words, we feel what the people telling us a story feel.

Authentic brand storytelling is no different. Your brand’s story can move people. Not just to buy from you, but to believe in your brand’s mission and purpose as deeply as you do. And that’s the foundation of brand loyalty.

Authentic Brand Storytelling: Olive DTLA Billboard

Olive DTLA

How to implement authentic brand storytelling

You want your business to make money, but that’s not its sole purpose. Your business was created to fill a specific need, in a specific way, for a specific kind of person. That’s why your brand identity is so different from your competitors. And it’s why authentic brand storytelling is possible.

Using storytelling in your brand authenticity strategy means setting the sales pitches to the side for a moment. The second your audience feels you’re just trying to sell to them, they’ll stop seeing your story as authentic. Instead, it comes off as a cheap marketing ploy.

When you use storytelling in your brand, keep it real. Stay honest and focused on connection, not closing. You’ll be paid back in spades with the customer loyalty and advocacy your authenticity earns.

Use classic storytelling techniques

There are many different ways to tell a story. Some are dizzyingly complex – think high fantasy or sci-fi – while others are simple and straightforward.

Pixar is legendary for its storytelling techniques. Pixar’s films don’t just bring in billions of dollars, they’ve connected with generation after generation. Why? They use a tried-and-true storytelling framework.

One of the most central ideas in this framework? Simplify, simplify, simplify. An excellent story doesn’t need flashy design or A-list acting talent. All it needs is a hero you can root for, a struggle you can relate to, and a powerful belief that your story can change the world. It needs a clear challenge, goal, and solution.

Authentic brand storytelling can borrow from these ideas. Classic tips and tools for writing powerful stories transcend mediums. A well told brand story makes your purpose clear, allowing your audience to connect with you beyond the product or service you offer. It’s an emotional affinity that endures beyond a particular campaign or product launch.

Authentic Brand Storytelling: Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars Smart Cups Strategy

Smart Cups

Make the customers part of the story

Your brand is not just your product, but your brand is also not just the founder. Authentic brand storytelling is humble. It’s not afraid to make past, present, and future customers part of the story.

Origin stories about the brand are nice, but stories that focus on the brand’s present and future are compelling.

Take The Parks Project, for example. Their brand story is about using their fun, outdoorsy apparel to support National Parks and environmental advocacy across the country. It’s a great story about why the brand exists, but it also empowers the customer to be part of the positive change. They’re not just buying sweaters– they’re buying environmental sustainability and keeping our national parks alive. That’s a lot more powerful.

Stories can also be a part of your brand reputation strategy but tread lightly. Make sure you focus on making reparations and learning from mistakes. In case of a controversy, you need to consider deeply how your brand story is used to move forward.

Don’t use a fill-in-the-blank formula

It’s as true for authentic brand storytelling as it is for rebranding a company – one-size-fits-all templates will never measure up to true brand authenticity. They might be helpful for a first draft, or to help organize your thoughts. But audiences will see through them instantly.

Copy and pasted storytelling isn’t much better than presenting a list of features and benefits. Truly authentic brand storytelling is emotional. It’s passionate. It’s unique.

You’ll need to go through a few drafts or iterations of your story when you first create it. And you’ll need to create new stories as time goes on, adjusting to the evolution of your company. Remember, brands are living organisms. They grow and change over time.

Authentic Brand Storytelling: The Mail Order District

The Mail Order District

Bring your brand forward with storytelling

Authentic brand storytelling can be tricky to pull off, especially if you aren’t a storyteller to begin with. But it is absolutely critical to your brand’s success. A brand without a compelling story is forgettable. A brand with a compelling story is unstoppable.

Finding the right words for your brand can be extremely challenging to do from the inside out. Having an objective third party to listen and distill everything about you into a cohesive, impactful, and brief story is immensely helpful. Partnering with an experienced branding agency can take your brand to the next level. Flux is a branding agency in Los Angeles, and we’re passionate about the impact storytelling can have on your brand.

Reach out today and take your brand from now to next.

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