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Spot On: Storytelling Strategy

Strategic storytelling for brands

Storytelling and Content Marketing offer a variety of benefits for your brand. In this Spot On Class you will learn how to define your topics, choose the right channels, and tell successful stories.

Brands in the attention economy

Storytelling has a very long tradition. It’s a cultural practice that accompanies us throughout our lives. From bedtime stories as kids, to horror stories on sleepaway camps, to everyday office gossip. Storytelling is everywhere. From TV and Netflix, social media and podcasts up to commercials and entertainment. The problem with that is the so-called attention economy, i.e. the limited resource of people’s attention, which grows shorter and shorter due to media consumption habits.

Attention is one of the most valuable resources for your brand

What makes attention so valuable for your brand? Attention is the foundation of every form of communication. Without attention, you can’t reach anyone in your audience. As a brand, you’re fighting for attention on digital and connected platforms, along with every other form of information – news, entertainment, music. So the big question is, how do you make people listen?

How to make your audience listen

So how do you get people to listen to you? The answer is: storytelling!

 

But what exactly is storytelling? It’s more than a marketing buzzword. Simply put, it’s crafting information in a memorable framework, a narrative pattern. There are plenty of frameworks you can choose from, from interviews to jokes and hero journey.

But why do stories work, you might ask. It’s called the “modality effect” meaning that the learning effect depends on the presentation mode. If your content is presented in a memorable pattern and connected to visuals or acoustics, it will improve the memorability. That’s the reason we actually learn better with music – and the reason you should communicate in stories.

Benefits of storytelling for brands

Storytelling offers your brand 3 big benefits:

Activation: cut through the noise and be memorable

Interaction: get customers involved by interacting with your brand

Connection: stories work like a shared journey, building connections, relationships and trust

How to start your storytelling strategy

 

Alright, that sounds great. How do I start storytelling?

Find your brand core story

 

To find the sweetspot of your brand, the core story which alligns your values with your mission and your audiences needs, please check my first Spot On Class “Find your story”. There you will find a template and a guide to download as a workbook. 

 

Find your story line and editorial plan

 

Creating great content is not only a question of tools, it’s a question of knowing what you need to tell. People are not looking for your brand specifically, they will always find it in different contexts like a single post in your social media posts timeline or one of many emails. It’s in these moments that you must spark their interest in you.

 

In order to define your brand topics, you can use the “story circles” template from the workbook. Start in the inner circle  by defining your brand-related topics (such as products, values, employees, etc.) Work your way through the middle circle with topics revolving around products, usage, industry, and trends. The challenge will be the outer circle, the topics that resonate most with your audience (such as trending topics, lifestyle and news). You need to know the wishes, problems and needs of your audience to address them. Use a customer persona template from the first Spot On Class to help with that.

 

Once you collected your topics within the circles you can start tracing story outlines. Start from the outside and make your way in – guiding your audience from easy, interesting lifestyle-topics straight to your brand and products. This way you will find brand narratives that address your audience’s needs and connect them to your brand. You can always come back to the story circles and add new topics. 

DOWNLOAD THE STORYTELLING WORKBOOK

Define your brand storytelling strategy

For each Spot on class, we provide workbooks to simply remember what you have learned and apply it to your brand. Just leave us your email address and get access to the workbook.

Workbook Brand Story

The workbook includes:

  • Benefits of storytelling for your brand
  • Storytelling circles for defining topics
  • Editorial plan template

    How to tell your brand story

     

    Once you outlined your story, you have to choose the right way to tell it. It’s a three-step process:

    1. Choose a medium (e.g. social media)
    2. Choose a channel (e.g. instagram)
    3. Choose the format (e.g. IGTV videos)

     

    To make these decisions, let the story be your guide. If the story needs only text, write a tweet, or a blog article. If it needs visual context, go for an infographic. If it needs statements and a face, go for a video on YouTube or IGTV.

    When choosing the right way to tell your story, you can also rely on personal preferences. E.g. if you, or a team member is a photographer, go for Pinterest or Instagram. You don’t have to learn content creation from scratch (it can take a lot of time to master creative skills). Start with what you already know and see if it works. Creative professionals can help you reach the next level.

     

    To tell your brand story successfully, consistency is key. Start easy with a post per week and work your way up. No need to get stressed about creating more posts than you’re ready to, there is no rush. Just make sure to stick to the same publishing date and time so that users will know what, where, and when to expect new content from your brand. To help ensure that you stick to your publishing routine, use the editorial plan blueprint provided in the workbook.

    To sum it up: Storytelling provides many benefits for your brand communication, such as …


    … Spark interest
    … Make you memorable
    … Strengthen brand loyalty
    … Ensure commitment
    … Differentiate you from other brands

     

    With this class, you have all the tools at hand to get started. Find your story and tell the world. If you ever need help, we are here for you.

    Your instructor

    Marc Süß
    Founder & Creative Director of Sweetspot Studio

     

    With his Hamburg-based Design studio, Marc helps brands to find their sweet spot. The Sweetspot Studio specializes in developing media products, contemporary storytelling, and commercial arts.

     

    www.sweetspot-studio.com

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