In our mod­ern mar­ket­ing land­scape, brands can­not afford to exist as just anoth­er face­less enti­ty. They need to have a pow­er­ful sto­ry that sells who they are and allows them to appeal to their tar­get audi­ence. While most brands under­stand this basic need to tell a sto­ry, many fail to suc­ceed in the exe­cu­tion. Thank­ful­ly, brands that are fail­ing at their cur­rent sto­ry­telling efforts tend to share a few com­mon issues (see below), ones that can be iden­ti­fied and fixed with the right tools and tech­niques.

1. Your marketing isn’t memorable

Your cus­tomers have a desire to engage with qual­i­ty brand sto­ries, but if the sto­ry you’re try­ing to tell isn’t that mem­o­rable, you won’t make a last­ing con­nec­tion. A study in the UK found that while 79 per­cent of adults “want brands to tell sto­ries as part of their mar­ket­ing,” 85 per­cent of those sur­veyed couldn’t think of a mem­o­rable brand sto­ry.

As this sor­ry sta­tis­tic reveals, most brand-mar­ket­ing efforts fail to rise above the noise that bom­bards cus­tomers every day, par­tic­u­lar­ly amid the rise of social media. Nielsen esti­mates that the aver­age adult in the Unit­ed States spends 11 hours per day inter­act­ing with var­i­ous media, and while all that time cer­tain­ly presents an oppor­tu­ni­ty, it also means there are lots of oth­er sto­ries com­pet­ing for cus­tomer atten­tion. It’s becom­ing increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult for mar­keters to cre­ate desir­able, scroll-stop­ping con­tent when users are con­stant­ly encoun­ter­ing the same mes­sages over and over again. Be it tem­plat­ed dig­i­tal-response cam­paigns or gener­ic Insta­gram cap­tions, this approach sim­ply won’t cut it any­more.

Part of the prob­lem could be that you’re not actu­al­ly telling sto­ries to begin with. While a case study can cer­tain­ly be per­sua­sive, if it doesn’t tie into a nar­ra­tive with an emo­tion­al ele­ment, it like­ly won’t have as much of a mem­o­rable impact. Accord­ing to the Stan­ford School of Busi­ness, sto­ries are 22 times eas­i­er to remem­ber than facts.

Con­sid­er how sta­tis­tics, cus­tomer tes­ti­mo­ni­als, and oth­er mar­ket­ing options can be tied togeth­er as part of a cohe­sive nar­ra­tive. A sto­ry with an emo­tion­al core will put those facts in per­spec­tive so they have a greater impact on your audi­ence.

2. You haven’t built a “tribe” around your brand

Many of the world’s most suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies have achieved their sta­tus by build­ing a brand tribe — a group of peo­ple who believe in the brand and its mis­sion, are intense­ly loy­al to its prod­ucts and ser­vices and will even pro­mote the brand in their dai­ly liv­ing.

This is espe­cial­ly preva­lent with tech­nol­o­gy brands like Apple or Tes­la, which achieved high rates of loy­al­ty by link­ing their prod­ucts with a unique set of val­ues and beliefs shared among their tar­get audi­ence. The brand becomes more than sim­ply a prod­uct — it becomes an expe­ri­ence and even part of a lifestyle.

If your audi­ence doesn’t seem to be very engaged or pas­sion­ate, chances are high that a lack of cohe­sive brand sto­ry­telling is at least part­ly to blame. Your mes­sag­ing needs to cre­ate a sense of sol­i­dar­i­ty and belong­ing among your tar­get audi­ence. Suc­cess­ful trib­al mar­ket­ing goes beyond basic demo­graph­ic infor­ma­tion and focus­es on behav­iors that cre­ate more mean­ing­ful con­nec­tions.

In addi­tion, to fine-tun­ing your own mar­ket­ing, lever­ag­ing the pow­er of influ­encers can be a great way to build your brand tribe. A study con­duct­ed by Twit­ter found that 49 per­cent of its users turned to influ­encers for prod­uct rec­om­men­da­tions. This is why influ­encer tes­ti­mo­ni­als and inter­views play such mean­ing­ful roles in adver­tis­ing. They pro­vide social proof, which is of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance when it comes to over­com­ing trust bar­ri­ers or break­ing into a new mar­ket.

Influ­encers have already cre­at­ed a tribe based on their per­son­al­i­ty, shared inter­ests and engag­ing style of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Part­ner­ing with rel­e­vant influ­encers can help con­tribute to the growth of your own brand tribe. Sim­i­lar­ly, bas­ing your sto­ry­telling pat­terns off the tech­niques used by top influ­encers in your niche can help you bet­ter com­mu­ni­cate your sto­ry in an appeal­ing man­ner.

You haven’t built a tribe around your brand

3. You aren’t communicating your impact

These days, it’s not enough to be a “fun” or “excit­ing” brand. More and more peo­ple want to engage with brands that they feel are mak­ing some kind of pos­i­tive impact on soci­ety. In fact, the 2019 Porter Novelli/Cone Pur­pose Bio­met­rics Study found that 72 per­cent of Amer­i­can con­sumers felt it was impor­tant to buy from com­pa­nies that reflect­ed their val­ues. And close to 90 per­cent report­ed being like­ly to buy from a “pur­pose-dri­ven” com­pa­ny.

This reveals two com­mon issues where brand sto­ry­telling often falls short: not hav­ing a mean­ing­ful cause or pur­pose that you sup­port, and then fail­ing to com­mu­ni­cate what you are doing to sup­port your cause. Brands that suc­ceed in the long run try to impact the lives of their cus­tomers in a mean­ing­ful way. They also strive to make the world a bet­ter place.

For any of these efforts to have pos­i­tive sto­ry­telling out­comes, they must stem nat­u­ral­ly from your com­pa­ny val­ues and the prod­ucts and ser­vices you offer. Find a rel­e­vant cause that you can sup­port, like look­ing for ways to reduce your envi­ron­men­tal impact. Attach­ing your brand to such ini­tia­tives and then inte­grat­ing them into your sto­ry­telling will fuel loy­al­ty and help you build your tribe.

How­ev­er, do keep in mind that it is impor­tant that this ele­ment of social good be gen­uine. Con­sumers are intel­li­gent, and if your impact doesn’t align with the over­all tone of your brand’s mes­sage and mis­sion, it won’t be as effec­tive.

With qual­i­ty sto­ry­telling, your brand becomes far more relat­able and appeal­ing to your tar­get audi­ence. You can make pow­er­ful con­nec­tions that fuel the last­ing loy­al­ty need­ed to build a suc­cess­ful busi­ness. By dig­ging deep into your sto­ry­telling genes, you can take your brand to the next lev­el.

SOURCE: Entre­pre­neur