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Telling a Story with Your Brand

Bryan McAnulty - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 |

How do you differentiate yourself when there are so many similar applications and products in the market? The story, image and personality behind your brand is what can make your brand stand out. It is important to realize that people aren't just purchasing your product, they are purchasing an experience and the story behind the product. Everyone wants to hear a story and to be part of an experience. The most important thing a brand can do to promote their product or service is to make it tell a story. A great story adds value and personality to a brand and its products or services. It makes the product more approachable and friendly.

If your brand can present a unique story or make the customer feel like they are a part of something, you'll win big time.

Photo by: Stuck in Customs

Sell Customers an Experience, Don’t Sell Features

We are all storytellers, but we listen to stories even more. We are surrounded by stories. We love hearing them, whether they come from a book, a friend, a movie, a game, a song or a brand. Stories have the power to elicit strong feelings and emotions. When you present the story behind your product to the customer and then invite them to become a part of that experience, they will want to purchase it to have that experience themselves. In this situation they are not buying your product for its features or price, but for the experience it gives them and the story that it tells. It doesn’t matter if brand "XYZ" has one more feature than you or is $10 cheaper, it’s the experience that matters.

How to Start Telling Your Brand's Story More Effectively


Storytelling shows the human side of your brand that customers can connect with. The copy written about a brand isn't the only thing that tells its story. The web design of the site selling the product, the look and feel of the product; how the product functions, whether it is a neat AJAX effect in a web app or the way a small hinge on a physical product moves. These things are all part of conveying the character of the story. A great story will immerse your audience, and keep them on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what will happen next.

1. Brand Identity Design

A brand’s logo design and color scheme are important in conveying the image that your brand represents. Create a design and story that your target audience can relate to. A large part of a brand’s personality is conveyed through the company’s identity design. The look of a brand can tell the consumer if it is something bold, modern, sleek, and powerful or something friendly, natural, cute and playful. Check out another one of our posts to see how important lessons from storytellers can be applied in design to aid in tellings a brand's story.

velora
Picture: The Velora Studios Logo

2. User Experience

How your product or service is designed to function is another big piece of your brand’s story. Whether your brand is selling a physical product or software, design for user experience is equally important. Companies like Apple go the extra mile to create a great user experience with their products. They want users to feel great and immersed in the experience of using an Apple product. Even opening the box is an exciting experience because of Apple’s carefully thought out, elegantly designed product packaging.

A brand's story should connect with customers on an emotional level and create a deeper involvement. It is important to think beyond if a product is accomplishing its task and if a product looks nice. Even if both of those things are true, the most important quality to think about and implement is making the product enjoyable to use.

Photo: Apple iPod package design from thedieline.com

3. Customer Service and Positioning

The last major piece that makes up a brand’s story is how the brand interacts with and responds to their customers, and how a brand positions itself to the public. Listen to what your customers are saying to you and respond showing them that you care. Encourage customers and potential customers to interact with your brand. With the shift of consumer expectations that came with the real-time social web this is even more important. Luckily, now it is also easier to see what your customers are saying about your brand.

Zappos’ customer service is a great example. Zappos makes the purchasing experience as smooth and friendly as possible encouraging customers to call them about almost everything. Call center employees don’t use scripts or have call time limits. The culture that Zappos has created within its workplace is reflected on its customer service and its story is told.

Photo: Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO from Whiteboard Journal

Summing it Up

The best brands are not using bland sales copy and data to promote their products. They are not adding unecessary features or making sure they have the lowest price. The best brands are telling stories and inviting their audience to become a part of them. The story that your brand tells can make all the difference.

Endnote: Start telling your story today and think about how it will appear to others. Show personality in your brand does and give your audience something to latch onto. Have you heard an amazing story recently? Have you become enthralled by a product because of the story and experience it provided you? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Comments
Anonymous commented on 08-Jan-2011 11:50 PM
absolutely true, take Nike for example its about feeling athletic on each one of us or Rolex for its luxurious and special feel.
brand identity design commented on 16-Aug-2011 04:09 AM
People engaged in branding seek to develop or align the expectations behind the brand experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique. A brand
is therefore one of the most valuable elements in an advertising theme, as it demonstrates what the brand owner is able to offer in the marketplace.

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