The Importance of Storytelling in Brand Marketing
Updated: May 26
Director Steven Spielberg has an epic quote about storytelling. "The most amazing thing for me is that every single person who sees a movie [...] brings a whole set of unique experiences, but through careful manipulation and good storytelling, you can get everybody to clap at the same time, to laugh at the same time hopefully, and to be afraid at the same time." When we talk about brand storytelling, this is the effect we talk about creating. So, let's look at brand storytelling and how you can use it to connect with any kind of customer.
What Is Brand Storytelling?
Brand storytelling uses a narrative to connect a brand to customers. Storytelling links a brand's values and missions with the values customers possess. It builds on the brand's history and turns business goals into an inspirational and aspirational story.
Brand storytelling is important because it helps you to personalize your brand. It gives you an organic way to educate the public about your company, purpose, and products and services. Good brand storytelling will,
Make your brand memorable
Improve audience engagement
Increase your brand awareness
Help your brand stand out from competitors
Highlight your values
Increase sales and customer loyalty
Build a community around your brand
Bring a human factor to your brand and advertising
How a Gecko Tells a Story
One of the most clever and memorable brand storytelling examples is the Geico Lizard. The charming little lizard first came to our television screens in 1999, begging people to stop calling him because a Gecko wasn't the same thing as Geico. His short ad spots grew from there, blending visual storytelling with the Geico tagline you can hear right now, thanks to how pervasive their commercials became over the years.
Many of the Geico commercials of the 2000s era demonstrate the core components of brand storytelling.
Present a compelling character. Geico introduced its mascot character simply and memorably, then built on the character's ethos. In every commercial, he is charming and conversational, so the obvious gimmick of a talking gecko still feels personable.
Center the audience. While the gecko is the central figure in the commercial, his message to the audience, and by extension, the benefit Geico offers the audience, is the focus of each commercial.
Tell a coherent story. The Geico commercials use visual storytelling. The gecko might be in a forest talking to an animal in one commercial, touring a new home with a homeowner in another, and in a television interview in the next commercial. In each individual story, the visuals present a clear, concise story that you can summarize in only a few phrases.
More than One Way to Tell a Story
You have multiple ways to tell your story as a brand. Visual storytelling is powerful, but it isn't ideal for every medium or for every brand. Other brands center employees in their commercials, either visually following them in their work or giving them room to talk about their experience with the company.
Whatever storytelling choices you make, the most important thing to remember is the three cores of brand storytelling: a compelling character, centering the audience, and telling a coherent story.
The Big Advantage of Brand Storytelling
How many ads have you seen today? Between your television, car radio, social media scrolling, and website browsing, you've seen more than you can keep count of. Changes are high that you remember little from those ads. The ones you remember, however, use brand storytelling in some way to stand out.
Brand storytelling keeps your marketing from feeling "sales" and helps you stand out in a crowd of ads and content. Moreover, as Steven Spielberg noted about movies, brand storytelling doesn't rely on matching demographics to be effective. You can catch a broader audience and use your targeting to move them down the marketing funnel from interest to the customer.
If you're ready to tell your brand's story, contact me today.