How Brand-Driven Storytelling Empowers Business Growth

Jen Saunders

Today is National Tell A Story Day. Some people choose to honor April 27 by writing a story as a celebrated art form. Others revel by telling a story to someone in their life with the intention of allowing that person to better know them. The person listening tries to make sense of it, identify with it, and tell their own. When it comes to business, this process is not all that different. The goal is to connect; to unearth shared passions, similar dislikes, and allow people to view your brand from a place of connectivity and resonance.

Brand-driven storytelling is an art and a science. The best digital marketing agencies in Los Angeles that offer branded storytelling either as a bucket in their content marketing offering, or as a completely separate service are rare marketers. Telling a story that connects a company to the public masses requires a true marketing backbone that blends the traditional academic with the savvy tech expert. It requires the ability to delve into psychology. A brand story must also be created by a truly gifted writer and not your run-of-the-mill blogger.

Novelist Terry Pratchett wrote that people think stories are shaped by other people, but in fact it’s the other way around. Your story already exists; it shaped and defined your brand. Now you need to tell it, and this is not an easy task. So why do it? How will brand-driven storytelling fuel business growth? When people identify with your branded story and see their reflection in your struggles and victories, they experience an emotional and powerful connection that motivates them to invest in you.

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Let Luke Skywalker, Greek Mythology and Authenticity Lead You

The original three ‘Star Wars’ films didn’t just resonate with 13 year-old boys who loved space adventures. People of all ages and backgrounds loved and continue to celebrate these films because George Lucas stuck to the classic model of storytelling as practiced by the ancient Greeks. If you want your branded story to reverberate as an epic, then you need to tell all the components that make up an epic story while being 100% authentic (the newer ‘Star Wars’ films Lucas created were widely criticized because he strayed from his authentic roots).

Here is an example of a brand that tells a successful authentic story in line with the modern Skywalker hero and Perseus, the classic champion from Greek legend:

There is a character –

  • Luke Skywalker is first introduced as a brooding daydreamer trapped in the ennui of his family moisture farming business. He seeks adventure and senses a higher purpose.
  • Perseus was a half god / half mortal, son of Zeus. He grew up loved and favored by the gods, but felt called to a higher purpose.
  • Philip Miller, founder of Minnetonka, felt a calling to step away from his mundane life in 1946–he felt called to make a name for himself.

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The Conflict –

  • Luke Skywalker wanted to go join the Rebellion to fight the Empire, but his uncle needed him to stay on for another season.
  • Punished by the goddess Thetis who was jealous of Perseus for the way Zeus favored him over her own son, the hero went to sleep one night and woke up in a strange land, completely lost.
  • Philip Miller knew that the American culture at the time was to take to the open road in cars and head west stopping to see attractions on the way, but had no storefront or platform for selling his moccasins.

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The Old Crone / Wise Guide –

  • Luke Skywalker meets the old wise Jedi master Obi Wan “Ben” Kenobi, whose interaction ultimately leads to his freedom to leave home and assist in a daring mission.
  • Perseus meets Ammon, an old man who helps him locate gifts left by Zeus and decipher their meaning.
  • Philip Miller met an old man who owned a roadside gift shop. He sought advice on how to sell his moccasins.

Being Reborn / “Quasi-Baptism” / Plan –

  • On his mission to save the princess, Luke is still a whining boy. After he is pulled under the water in the Death Star’s trash compactor he re-emerges through symbolic quasi-baptism / rebirth as a confident, fearless hero who complained no more. His plan was clear.
  • Perseus dreams of Andromeda and becomes awakened to his destiny
  • Philip Miller was granted shelf space in a roadside gift shop to sell his moccasins next to china and other other tourist items.

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The Road of Trials and Eventual Success

  • Luke Skywalker faced his father, resurrected the good in him, and brought an end to that era of the Empire
  • To save Andromeda from being a sacrifice for the Kraken, Perseus faces the Stygian witches to find the solution to for killing the Kraken, fights and beheads Medusa, and gets back in time to use the head t to turn the creature into stone. He saves Andromeda and fulfills his destiny.
  • Philip Miller knew he needed a clear brand recognizer so created the Thunderbird Moc in 1955–the iconic shoes that show the classic supernatural bird that symbolizes power and strength. This was the product that grew his brand where it is now sold in more than 50 countries as a timeless show that still remains in style worn by people of all backgrounds.

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Your Brand and Customers are Your Story’s Hero

Remember, people and brands are shaped by stories. Be sure to craft those defining moments that showcase your brand as the epic hero. When buyers can identify with it, they will become voyagers and bigwigs–heroines who use your products and services as a continuation of a sub-story while feeling empowered with a purchase-based resolution.

Make your brand story actionable; inject messaging that charges readers with the request for an action. This will expand brand interaction with your readers while simultaneously making the story more impactful by giving a two-way interaction layer. And when you do this, the hero role extends from brand to reader when an action takes place such as a purchase or a form submission.

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Powerful Branded Stories Are Campfire Stories

Classic stories are told, again and again, around campfires for decades. A successful branded story will leverage the power of amplification around and through the digital campfire setting of social media, and with this will come additional business growth. When your story resonates with the day-to-day activities your buyers experience and has a clear position in their lives, people will be more inclined to share your story and their experience with your product. This is a “holy grail” element of branded storytelling because it opens up the door for free marketing–earned media and social signals with huge opportunities for revenue gains.

Did You Find this Article on Branded Storytelling Useful?

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Jen Saunders is the Director of SEO for WEBITMD bringing more than 15 years of search marketing experience. She spent 13 years in Europe earning her PhD while looking at lots of old neat stuff. Jen enjoys simple things, like trees, sunrises, and the delicate lull of a 16th century harpsichord. Jen enjoys meditating and studies Buddhism. She is a certified master scuba diver, dolls make her nervous, and she enjoys craft beer. Jen has two cats, Chairman Thaddeus Whiskers and Lord Joffrey Gaius Pitty-Paws. They are her heirs.