Ask The Expert storytelling

Published on September 12th, 2017 | by Editor

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The Importance Of Storytelling For Organisations

How many other companies offer what you do? Where else can your customers get the same products or the same services that you offer, perhaps even for less? The good news is that your organisation can succeed even if you do not have a completely original product, unparalleled service or the most competitive value offering.

Brand identity enhances your organisation with attributes beyond the core “nuts and bolts” of what you provide. It creates an image, personality and sense of value that can enhance or detract from your concrete product or service offering, depending on how you shape and maintain that brand identity.

Why is a positive brand so important?

A positive brand adds value for the customer, client or audience by shaping a story around what that brand is and what it says about the person buying or engaging with it. Increasingly, brand storytelling is about creating an accessible, personable identity for customers or followers to connect with. In a world with more options than ever before, consumer choices are based on quite literally buying into a story that customers want to be a part of, whether it is a story of achievement and success or altruism and ethical or moral elevation.

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TellMAMA is a charity that orients its brand identity around the altruistic goals of fighting hate crimes and supporting victim rights. Its founder, Fiyaz Mughal, demonstrates the power of storytelling in building a following for his brand and creating a compelling brand identity by giving a human point of connection to the causes that he supports. His story starts with a personal connection to refugee camps and witnessing injustice in Nairobi and the UK, with an uplifting call to action that encourages followers towards unity in their essential humanity.

The power of storytelling for brands is multifaceted, and when done right, it creates a high degree of connection and buy-in. Human beings connect with more than just information and a list of features or benefits. They’re compelled by an emotional connection to the suffering and success of others, the drama of stakes and costs, overcoming adversity and pursuing goals. Even setbacks, when discussed in a certain way, can contribute to positive brand identity, giving your organisation a human face that elicits empathy and encourages your audience to cheer on your success.

Take Elon Musk as another example of the power of brand storytelling. Currently renowned for his success in diverse visionary endeavours such as TESLA, PayPal and SpaceX, a core component of Musk’s brand story is failure. His early failures and enormous risk-taking resulting in near-failures are well publicised, and yet, he continues to elicit significant investment in unlikely ventures. His brand is seen as aspirational and motivating because it tells a feel-good story about risks being rewarded, perseverance and vision winning over challenges and doubters alike, with the hope, if not promise, of future success predicated on the hero’s journey of a leader and founder at the helm.

In fact, Musk appears to even consciously use the power of storytelling as a tool to continue his rise, pitching what might be considered impossible projects and ventures with continued success. Capturing the imagination and stirring the emotions of an audience, crafting a story where the unfamiliar or impossible feels plausible and accessible and bringing the complicated and theoretical to life are just a few of the ways that Musk has implemented the power of storytelling to advance his projects and organisations.

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How can your organisation benefit?

Your organisation can benefit from using storytelling to achieve strategic goals and craft a positive brand identity by providing relevance, helping your audience connect to your goals and your organisation and setting context, bringing them along on a journey of discovery and understanding where they can internalise the process by which a conclusion, whether a project, purchase or action step, is the natural outcome. Help motivate your audience towards a specific purpose by using the emotional momentum of storytelling to drive their actions in response.

Storytelling is such a powerful tool in connecting with and motivating audiences that it should come with a warning label: use with caution. Consider and test your stories before letting them loose into the world. Start with strategy for your business or organisation, then identify which stories support a positive brand identity. Your customers or audience are likely to develop their own stories around your brand or organisation in the absence of clarity, so own the emotional direction of your brand development by taking control of the story early. Check your storytelling for momentum and direction, ensuring that it encourages action in a manner that aligns with your strategic goals. The core of your business or organisational brand identity is a story – own yours by understanding and controlling the narrative.


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