The act of storytelling is human at its core. It’s our oldest form of passing information and is no less important to us as a society today than it was during the dawn of civilization. Great stories can entertain us, exhilarate us, or even bring us to tears. Regardless of how a story impacts us, the one element that all good stories share is that they appeal to our emotions and, for that reason, we can’t help but personalize them.

Because of our inherent personal connections to them, good stories also help build good relationships. The same is true for individuals and for brands. Successful brands know that storytelling is the best method of truly connecting with their audience. After all, to the average consumer, without a good story your brand simply represents yet another product or service. 

But, with a compelling story, you significantly increase the likelihood that your customers will ultimately reach the highly-coveted status of brand advocate.

So what makes some brands excellent storytellers while others fail miserably?

For starters, brand storytelling is not a one-time event. It’s not a paragraph on a website’s ‘About Us’ page or a blog post. A brand’s story is the complete picture, or “who” the company really is. It’s the reason they exist, how they came to be, what they value, who works for them, and who their customers are. It’s often a mix of facts, feelings, history and perception.

Good storytellers know that their craft is media-agnostic. Your brand’s story is inherently a mix of your name, your logo, your website, your social media, your advertisements, press releases, third-party coverage and the word of mouth that occurs between customers. The key is crafting the right message in the appropriate channel so that you can make a real connection with your audience.

Whether your company is B2C or B2B, your business is still conducted between people. A compelling story helps you build and strengthen the personal relationships that drive your business. This builds trust in your brand, which then supports sales by allowing customers to quickly move through the sales funnel.

Finally, when crafting your message, it’s important to remember that your brand is not the sole character … or even the main character. Your customers are equally important when it comes to sharing and promoting your company’s value. Just as a good story is personal to the reader, the more you can place the spotlight on your target audience, the more personal your brand will be to them.

Great storytelling can turn your brand into something people care about and want to associate themselves with – the ultimate form of buy-in. It can even give a big voice to a small brand if the right content goes viral. The basic elements of storytelling haven’t changed, but its potential reach and omni-channel approach certainly have. And with those, comes the opportunity for a deeper relationship with a larger and more loyal customer base.