Brand storytelling is the latest craze in content marketing. Forget that storytelling has been around since the beginning of time…it’s a craze, OK!
Most businesses slap their story on their “About” page and forget about them.
They move on to more important things like building their email list and writing blog posts. However, these companies are missing the importance of their history.
Your company story gives you a chance to connect with your audience in a way that allows them to know why you are in business in the first place. That story alone can validate your mission in a way that makes your audience want to join you. See TOMS or Charity Water.
Tell Your Brand Story With An Email Series
There is a formula that you can use to start building your audience, email list and relationships. The formula combines your company story with the elements of narrative storytelling and bite-sized emails segmented into an autoresponder series.
Splitting your story into an email autoresponder series builds interest and prevents the reader fatigue that will occur with a lengthy “About” page. People sign up to learn your story, you get to tell it in short, digestible segments and you build a deeper understanding with your audience as they learn the reason your company exists.
Although I gave you two examples earlier, I’m going to resist the urge to focus on non-profits or companies involved in promoting social change because that might not be your business. You might run a boring law firm or content marketing agency. (I kid because I know.)
So what are the three parts of a narrative story?
Your first step in a narrative story (and one of your emails) is to define the main characters and their situation.
This is the perfect opportunity to talk about your founder and why she started your company.
Describe in detail the main characters and what was going on in their lives at the time they started your company. Think about the stories of young college dropouts starting a company in a garage while sleeping on their parents couch as an example of a great setup.
Provide enough tension to make your audience understand your founder and want to read about what happens next. Do NOT give into the urge to lie in order to sound interesting. The story alone will be interesting enough and is not worth compromising your business or ethics over.
The conflict here is the inciting incident that shocks your founder into action.
Imagine a small town watchmaker in the early 1940s listening to the stories told by his pilot cousin about how difficult it was to navigate a plane because he couldn’t properly time the distance between two points from the air. With war on the horizon, the watchmaker devotes all his time and energy into developing something that can save his country from the ravages of war.
For a company that created paper scanners, the inciting incident could be the frustration of spending an entire day stapling expense receipts to paper forms in order to ask for reimbursement. There has to be a better way, right?
The conflict sets the stage for you being able to tell the company inspiration and why you are different.
The final step is the resolution. Here, the characters confront the conflict and create a solution.
For example, the watchmaker develops the first chronograph used by fighter pilots and improves the entire aviation industry.
Or, after seeing the possibility of pattern recognition integrated with technology, the first paper scanner is developed and expense reports can now be categorized and emailed, staple-free.
Your company resolved to solve an important problem and your product or service is the incarnation of that vision. Problem resolved.
The three steps of narrative storytelling will form the core of your email autoresponder.
Now it’s your turn to get creative. Make your story interesting.
You could tell your story through a series of video interviews.
The watchmaker could create a comic book series that tells their story in a more visual and nostalgic format.
Some companies have created a fictitious over-the-top character to tell a funny version of a story that gives their brand a laid back and informal feel.
Your story matters to your customers but it’s your job to tell it in an interesting way.
That’s why there is a comment section.