Most books contain stories - whether they are based on fiction or reality - but not all stories are books. In fact, MOST stories aren’t books that you’ll find on the shelves at Barnes and Noble or in your local library. The thing is, stories often go unnoticed because they’re woven into our everyday lives.
When building a brand, it’s essential to keep storytelling in mind if you want to connect with your target audience. People make purchases based not only on facts but also on emotion. Because stories allow us to connect on a deeper level with our customers, we can tap into the emotional component of the customer’s journey.
The problem is that brands can easily miss the mark when it comes to storytelling in marketing. In our previous post, we shared how storytelling marketing works. In this post, we’re going to dive deeper into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to storytelling and your brand.
What is a Story?
Going back to the basics, let’s cover what a story is and what a story is not. Personally, I think this graphic from ReferralCandy’s blog sums things up nicely:
I’d like to highlight one point, stories are about your customers. The biggest mistake a brand can make is telling a story about itself rather than focusing on the customer. This is what we’re going to cover in our storytelling example.
An Example of Successful Storytelling: Zoom
To start, let’s look at a brand that we probably all know thanks to working remotely for so long - Zoom. While Zoom was a strong player in the market before COVID, its influence skyrocketed during the pandemic. Some might think it’s just a supply and demand issue, but really what’s helped the company out so much is its storytelling.
It all starts with their tagline:
We deliver happiness
Right from the start, Zoom connects with its target market by offering more than just a practical product, and when most of us were scared and depressed when COVID struck, this was the inciting moment in Zoom’s story.
Looking at their YouTube channel, we can see Zoom capitalized on this story. For instance, in a 2019 video on the Zoom Culture of Caring we hear real people talk about how Zoom video conferencing impacted them as both employees and as customers. The video is only about two minutes, but during that time it’s like watching a movie.
Not only do they have their own stories, but Zoom also freely shares the stories of their clients. There’s a whole page dedicated to customer stories. These case studies exemplify successful storytelling. They all have a problem, a plan, and a solution that allows us to see how Zoom “saved the day”.
Why it Worked
Going back to what storytelling is and isn’t, we can see that Zoom hit the nail on the head. Here are five examples of what they did right:
The information about delivering happiness allowed customers to learn the key benefits of the online video platform. It served a purpose; it conveyed a message. The content was built around this, whereas a lot of brands make the mistake of writing before they plan the story.
In the videos that Zoom posts, we can see that their team members are motivated by the company’s mission. Delivering happiness means something to each of them, and they convey that meaning in their written content as well.
Zoom’s entire content strategy revolves around delivering happiness - it’s what they stand for. As a brand, you need to know what you value and stick to it in order to tell an engaging story.
Zoom’s story isn’t just a sales pitch. They don’t talk about why they’re the best in the business or why other companies aren’t as good. Instead, they focus on their unique value proposition and how that shapes the customer’s journey.
What would a story be without a plot? Zoom gets it right with a clear beginning, crisis, and end, as we showed earlier.
Storytelling in Marketing: Next Steps
So you’ve seen an example of someone who got it right, but now what? We covered some ways to use storytelling for your brand in another post, so if you think you have a story for your brand, test it out with some testimonials, company history, core values, and more.
But, if you need help telling your brand’s story, contact us to hire an expert storyteller.