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Tips for Brand Storytelling on your Website

When you look at your website what does it say? Is it intriguing? Is there a sense of curiosity or wonder? Does your website tell visitors a story?

It probably should.

Storytelling is one of the oldest art forms known to man. It is memorable, persuasive and influential. Think about how a good story can make you feel; happy, sad, angry or excited. Think of all the stories you know, from the simple ones created to learn basic lessons, to the complex.  They capture interest and are persuasive enough to influences people’s hearts and minds. Think of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’.

Which is why having your website tell a story is a perfect vehicle for your brand.

Crafting a Best Seller

You might think I am crazy with this analogy. How can a website tell a story let alone sell a story? A website doesn’t have a narrative arc. There isn’t a main character or problem to overcome.

Or is there?

What if you utilize the basic elements of storytelling to create a persuasive brand message that is something memorable? What if you created a brand character and then provided a problem on which your brand acts? This is starting to sound like a story….

  • Create the character – This is a time to be fun and true to your brand. Your brand can be a hero, saving the customer, or a teacher, guiding the customer to fulfillment, or even the comedy side-kick bringing fun and humor. The character you choose for your brand then plays into the type of story that gets told.
  • Create the problem – There are two sides to every coin so if you have a hero then you need a villain, or if you have a teacher you need them to teach how to overcome some sort of problem. Are you fighting stains? Is your foe a bad tasting cup of coffee? Maybe you are against greedy financial planners. Pick a conflict that matches your business goal.
  • Provide the motivation – Obviously your motivation as a website owner is the bottom line, but that is a horrible storyline. Maybe you want to inspire people for better health, or perhaps fresh ingredients for your restaurant that makes the world healthier. Combine the motivation with the character and the problem to create the compelling story.
  • Make a hero – For the hero it is either the consumer or the brand. One or the other has to be the hero in the story and that should become apparent from the language and content on the page. Here is an example; Pepsi. Now they compete against Coke but their story doesn’t mention Coke. What Pepsi strives against is things that are stale and old while the hero embraces young and new. Pepsi’s audience is the up and coming customer who wants to be themselves. The beauty in this is that Coke is always pushing how nostalgic they are so while they aren’t the villain, their branding campaign is, and Pepsi is the hero that fights for the next generation.

Putting it Together

The way you tell the story is not with a direct ploy about the product, but the indirect push of how products can be used and who they are for. Having an article like “10 places to hike before you die,” fits perfectly with a website that sells outdoor gear for people who hike, camp and climb. Rather that promoting the warmth of their jackets or durability of a sleeping bag the focus is on the brand challenging the elements and becoming the adventurer who faces all foes of nature like temperature, weather or rough terrain.

Think of the Nike campaign “Just do it,” and how it is never directly about the shoes but instead the story is about what people are facing, overcoming and accomplishing in life…oh and they happen to be wearing the shoes while they do it. This is what is relatable, memorable and inspirational for the customer. Take that concept and translate it to your website.

So…does your website tell a story? If so, is it a good one?



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