Imagine a business whose brand is instantly memorable to anyone who thinks about it. A business whose persona gives people an instant positive reaction, no matter where they are or who they may be. This is the dream for most businesses, right? But how can this sort of recognition be achieved? The answer is through storytelling.
Research confirms that stories can be up to 22x more memorable than other types of information, which is why many businesses try to utilize storytelling tools when developing their company’s brand voice. Storytelling explores and experiments with different environments, creating whole new worlds out of different topics, settings, feelings, elements, tones, and attributes. Stories have the power to connect with people on a more personal level in the same way that businesses want to connect with their customers.
Brand storytelling can be shown through many different forms, such as words, visuals, and sounds. However, many companies don’t know where to start when it comes to developing their brand voice. So how can brand storytelling work for them?
How Brand Storytelling Can Work for a Business
A company and its brand are technically two different entities, but both are undeniably connected. A company’s brand is essentially the “sidekick” of a business: it exists to emphasize the importance of the company by being a symbol for what the company stands for, as well as extending its support when necessary. The brand exists to help bring a unique and empathetic voice to its company, and it offers people a more personal view of the business to help them eventually become customers.
When building a brand voice, we consider all the different tenets of applied storytelling to create it, including:
- Empathy. What are the feelings you’re trying to evoke with your brand voice? Businesses may use specific empathetic keywords, such as integrity or collaborative, to help better convey to the world what their core values are as a company.
- Definition. Who are the “characters” (customers) of your story? Customers play an integral role in any company’s brand, and their voices must be considered during the brand storytelling process.
- Ideation. How many “story concepts” (messages) does your brand have? It is necessary to refine a brand’s story to have a clear and precise message – having too many ideas can lead to a muddled message and a less empathetic voice.
- Prototyping. Which story works best for your audience? Creating “prototypes” of a brand story is common practice for many businesses, as it may take a bit of workshopping to figure out what works best for their audience, much like a story going through the editing process.
- Testing. How does your audience react to your brand voice? If the brand story a business has developed isn’t working, then some tweaks and refinement of the message may be necessary. Or perhaps even a reevaluation of a company’s why.
The Walt Disney Company, for example, has a well-known brand focused on creating a sense of magic and wonder for adults and children alike. They have developed their brand voice to convey their story through empathy, definition, and ideation. However, their brand constantly needed to be assessed and refined to keep up with a growing audience to get to that point. Prototyping and testing are important aspects of any brand voice as they allow companies like Disney to consistently grow as the years go by.
But how can smaller businesses not as big as Disney create a compelling brand voice for their own company? Well, that’s where Vive can help.
How Vive Builds a Brand Voice for Our Clients
Empathy: Zweck Analysis® and Brand Deck Words
Many of Vive’s clients have participated in our Zweck Analysis®, where we take a deep dive into learning more about a company’s why. Why are they in business, and why should people care? This is a method to help us better understand what drives them to do what they do.
Following the Zweck Analysis®, Vive conducts a brand deck exercise: an interactive activity utilizing a personalized, literal deck of cards with key descriptive words on each side to define who the company is and who they are not. Narrowing the 50+ words down to the top eight words which best describe their business will be used in future messaging. These brand deck words are crucial to creating a company’s brand story as well as developing its unique and empathetic brand voice.
Definition: External Analysis
Another part of Vive’s onboarding process includes an external analysis of phone interviews with their customers. Customer interviews provide a better perspective of the people who work closely with an organization. Moreso, the customer-driven voice should be accurately acknowledged in a company’s brand story.
Ideation: Message Rollout & Marketing Plan
Once Vive gets the information needed from the company and its customers, we begin refining the brand message, which is then followed by a marketing plan. The services Vive offers depend on where the company is in its marketing journey, the priorities, timeline, and budget. Whether it’s a new logo, a new website, blogs, social media posts, PPC campaigns, or even trade show booth designs. These marketing tactics are necessary to help build what is eventually going to become a company’s brand story.
Prototyping and Testing: Updating the Brand Message
To assure a brand messaging platform doesn’t go stale, it’s important to make sure its brand story continues to work effectively with its audience. Vive recommends a follow-up internal & external analysis with the organization and its customers, where we review their brand deck words and interview any new customers to the organization. These measures help ensure their brand story remains relevant as the company grows throughout the years.
The Effect of Brand Storytelling
Who doesn’t love a good story? A company’s brand story should feel compelling. It should draw people in and create an empathetic voice that allows people to care about it. No matter how big or small a business is, a good brand story is the best way to define a company’s perception. The marketing experts at Vive prioritize a company’s brand during their marketing journey with a solid promotional mix of deliverables to create the most compelling story, which helps their customers connect with their unique, empathetic voice.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Vive can build your brand story, contact us today to start a conversation!