At the end of every year, we tell ourselves a story.
We piece together the narrative of our much kinder, much healthier and much more successful selves. We pack it into an unrealistic yet hopeful wish that we send out into space on December 31st.
So we make New Year’s resolutions, only to break them on January 1st. And that’s ok. We are no more than human.
But a resolution that can help us on all levels is rather simple (this is not a self-help book). It’s all about finding your existing strengths and quirky, cool sides, not about reinventing yourself within a year.
It’s all about finding your own narrative and, yeah, embracing it. And this concerns both yourself and your brand.
You know, even the New York Times thinks you need a good story. So, imagine.
And if you want to make a few more meaningful resolutions for your business, let’s go with storytelling ones.
Dig in your own past to find your brand’s story
Instead of spending hours in reflection about what you didn’t do right lately, and what you should do right next year, just think about your history.
Look for the cool detail that sets you apart, that belongs only to you. Was it the place where you came from? Your quirky or boring parents? Your hobby when you were eight years old? That funny thing you used to say when you were eating your grandma’s favorite dish?
There always is something. And avoid judging because even if it seems dull to you, it can be a lot of fun for others. Just let them peek into your heritage and explore yourself the legacy that’s already there, whether you’ve known it or not.
Then once you’ve found a detail from your personal history that you appreciate, move on to your brand. Especially for small businesses and startups, your brand is almost identical with yourself. Explore how your own story shapes your brand’s one, and go wild with both of them.
Start thinking in stories
If you’ve ever been close with a visual person, such as a photographer or cinematographer, you know it. They simply see the world in pictures.
And to make your own presence more engaging and your brand – more powerful, why not start doing this, but with stories? At least a bit.
Convert commonplace situations in short narratives, like you would tell them to your younger self. See what happens then.
Most of all, start transforming everyday business situations into the narrative of your brand. For example, if you just had a difficult client and you managed to find a way and make him happy, that’s a milestone. Pack it as a cool story about success being in the small steps and victories. Then share it internally with your team and put it out there in the world.
Do visual storytelling
Once you’re used to perceiving and digesting your brand’s development path as a journey, the next step is to take visual snapshot of your brand story. That’s what visual storytelling is for.
Cartoons, infographics and visual stories are great ways to present to the world what your brand actually does and what its values and goals are. Visual case studies, on the other hand, allow you to also showcase your satisfied customers – through pictures that don’t need tons of explanations.
So in 2015, be visual. Be childishly amused by pictures.
And do video storytelling. A lot of it
We’ve seen this throughout 2014: branded video is here to stay. People like it, and you should try too.
Product videos are one thing, but cooler, inspirational videos are more fun. Think about Vine and the whole buzz that a smart Vine series can bring to your brand. And it’s so easy to implement your story in them – it’s just about tapping the creative potential that your team or your dedicated storyteller has.
As with storytelling in general, focus on user-centric video content. Go back to who is your dream customer and imagine what they’d love to watch and share. And follow that hunch.
Find the right channels and the right people
It’s of little benefit (and no fun) to tell a good joke to somebody who doesn’t speak your language. It’s the same with a good brand story.
In 2015, more than ever, it’s truly important that you find the right people that will fall in love with your brand. And you can discover them only if you know the places in which they enjoy hanging out.
This is the only way to achieve full relevance for your brand story. Craft your narrative and its messages wisely – and then carefully select the media channels for their distribution. The marriage between a relevant message and a relevant medium is a lasting one.
Then let your customers continue the story
Marketing is turning away from soulless interruption of the customer in order to flash a brand message and disappear into oblivion afterwards. It’s becoming more and more soulful – and emotional, and brand storytelling is the tool for achieving that.
When people feel connected with your story – your personal and the brand one, there is an emotion between you. It’s not only business anymore. It’s also pleasure.
That’s what you’re aiming for with all your storytelling efforts: to turn doing business with your brand into an experience in which people want to indulge. Once you’ve taken them there, they will want instinctively to continue your story and make it theirs. Be it through actively spreading the word about you or by participating with user-generated content on your brand’s channels.
What are your storytelling resolutions?
What have you planned for your story in 2015? Edgar would love to know.
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