Storytelling has been an innate part of the human experience since the beginning of time. Stories have long captivated us and left long-lasting impressions. Communication and stories are a basic part of who we—humans are driven to tell stories and to listen to them. It makes all the more sense that storytelling has evolved tremendously over time and still persists today not only for entertainment purposes but also in business marketing and brand building.
At its core, a brand is essentially the story of a business. Storytelling is a timeless way to emotionally engage audiences, create personal connections, and to overall expand engagement. Unlike any other marketing technique, storytelling invokes the power of human emotion and connection, creating a deep sense of trust and shared experience.
While many businesses use storytelling to build their brands, the opposite can true as well: many stories have unintentionally become multi-million dollar brands with cult followings. Blockbuster movies, books, video games, and TV shows have essentially created entire cultures in which loyal fan bases allow the world of the story to live on.
How can simple stories become powerful platforms to launch mega-brands?
Authenticity and Emotional Connections
Nothing connects a business to their audience better than stories. Storytelling innately allows people to connect on a deeper level because it focuses on shared human experience. When people see authentic characters and real-life conflict—even in fantasy settings—it is difficult not to form a personal connection. Characters and conflict an audience can truly relate to create lasting emotional connections, sometimes as deep as real-life relationships. This type of storytelling allows brands to mean something more to the audience beyond what they are selling, essentially humanizing the brand.
Trust and Loyalty
Brands simply cannot grow without trust or loyalty. If an audience finds the characters, conflict, or resolutions to be disingenuous, chances are they will remember your brand but not for the right reasons. If the audience finds the people and struggles in your story to be authentic and perhaps even reflective of their own experience, they will immediately feel a deep personal connection to the brand. If an audience can rely on a brand for genuine portrayals of the human experience, they feel they can trust their entire brand. Building this trust and credibility through accurate storytelling is the beginning of building enduring loyalty and strong customer or fan bases that will last a lifetime.
Long-Lasting Relationships and Endless Engagement
Great stories create deep bonds between the characters and the audience, ones people often visit again and again. The audience’s feeling that they have been through the same struggles allows the story resonate deeply with them. Even when a story ends, it still lives on through the audience. Stories are a timeless medium that allow endless engagement and interaction. We see this continually in our current culture in cosplaying, conventions, fanfiction, and more. The ability for the audience to place themselves within the story is what truly can make a story and brand last forever.