Telling your brand story with content marketing
Wouldn’t it be nice to snap your fingers and achieve results?
Want to lose five kilos? Master an advanced skill? Find the love of your life? While we might like these things to happen overnight, the reality is they take time and effort.
The same is true of brand awareness. Developing a brand and forming meaningful associations with your product, service, culture and ideals doesn’t just happen and it’s not enough to plaster the world with your message either. To effectively raise brand awareness, you must master the art of storytelling.
Writing your brand story
You can’t tell a story if you don’t have one, which is why it’s important to establish your brand before undertaking any serious marketing efforts.
This doesn’t necessarily mean labouring over every detail of your brand – from the script in your logo to the signature in your emails. We’re simply talking about knowing your message and ensuring it’s clear and consistent. You want to formulate a well-crafted, compelling statement of who you are and what you do. This is the only way to drive customer loyalty in a competitive market.
Imagine you’re a doctor. That’s a pretty straightforward brand to establish – you’re a person who practices medicine, right?
Not necessarily. While you are, in fact, a medical practitioner, this alone won’t earn you business. To attract your target audience, you need to flesh out more of the story. What kind of medicine do you practice? What are your values ? What can clients expect? Do you bring special offerings to the table?
The same is true in any industry. You can’t rest on the laurels of one’s offering. To define your brand, answer the following:
- What are your skills?
- What are your unique selling points?
- What do your customers need?
- What are your values?
- What is your style of service?
Focus on what differentiates you from the competition and come up with a message that compels your target audience.
When it comes to brand awareness, content is king
Now that you have your message, how will you share it? The answer lies in effective content marketing.
That’s because while other forms of marketing may drive sales, content is key for storytelling. Like we said earlier – it’s like losing those stubborn five kilos. You can’t just will brand awareness into fruition. You have to work at it and build awareness strategically. While Google ads and paid promotion might tell your name, they can’t tell your story. Content can.
People favour brands with emotional appeal. After all, your customers are human, and getting them to spend means appealing to their human nature. Content marketing allows brands to show their softer side and move away from their offerings.
Take this video from Chipotle Mexican Grill, an American fast food chain, for example. A major aspect of Chipotle’s message is their dedication to using natural, ethically sourced food products. To share this, they chose to pull at heartstrings with this video of a sad scarecrow living in a world of ultra processed foods:
This high performing piece of content went viral, earning more than 14 million views and cementing Chipotle as the go-to brand for sustainable meat.
How to be the ultimate brand storyteller
Videos like ‘The Scarecrow’ don’t just happen. If you want to tell your brand story, you need to create the right content.
Here are some tips.
A staggering 80 per cent of consumers say authenticity is the most influential factor in their decision to follow a brand.
Content shouldn’t be glaring and in your face. Consider The Scarecrow again. Did you expect this to be an ad for a Mexican food chain? Of course not, but the surprise in no way weakened the message.
Old school marketers often struggle with this concept. Putting your money behind subtle advertising can be scary, after all, but you need to trust the process. Well crafted content can amplify your brand without the need to spell things out.
GET THE CUSTOMER INVOLVED
One of the best ways to be authentic is to make your customers a part of the story.
Embracing user-generated content can take your brand to the next level. As many as 88 per cent of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from a close friend, so reach out to happy clients to share their stories.
In 2016, Tourism Australia launched several UGC campaigns to create a live feed on their site. The results were impressive: one campaign saw a 30 per cent increase in engagement and a 66 per cent increase in time spent on site. The best part? Tourism Australia was able to piggyback off something people already love to do: brag about their holidays.
FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS
When Apple introduced the very first iPhone, they didn’t make advertisements around the high-tech capabilities of the device. They didn’t talk about the processing speed or the data storage. No, they told what the phone could do.
Solutions are at the heart of good marketing. People don’t care about the product or service on its own, they care about how the product or service will improve their lives.
When raising brand awareness, produce content around solutions. Map out your target audience. What are their needs? Then, create content about how you meet those needs.
Say you’re planning a holiday and are tossing around the idea of buying travel insurance. Which headline would you be more likely to read:
- 5 reasons our travel insurance product is amazing, or
- 5 reasons you need travel insurance.
Although both articles are likely to include the same content, the second is much more appealing. That’s because at the end of the day, you want to learn how the product relates to you.
SHOW YOUR VALUES
Why do consumers choose to support one brand over another? While product superiority, price and location are all factors, values also play a major part.
According to Harvard Business Review, 64 per cent of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason for having a relationship with a brand.
To this end, ensure your values are known by creating content that showcases who you are, how you came to be and what your mission is as a business. Don’t stop with your ‘About Us’ landing page. Push your content further – like Chipotle did – to let people know what you care about.
Brand activism is another winning tactic. Create content around relevant causes you care about. Many brands did this a few months ago to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Speaking up about what matters to your organisation can help associate your brand with a purpose, but be careful to tap into the market’s emotions in a way that resonates. If you miss the mark, your campaigns could have the opposite effect.
According to 85 per cent of marketers, the primary reason for creating content is to build the brand and boost public perception of a company.
To make sure your content does just that, take the time to think about what you want to say. Be clear and adopt a distinct tone and style to accompany your message. Never forget about the human connection, and be specific and targeted in everything you produce.