As a brand leader, establishing connections with your target audience is crucial to your success. Especially with a human-first strategy that prioritizes authenticity and deeper relationships to fuel your business.
One of the most effective ways to do this — especially in a crowded online space — is through the power of storytelling. When you can openly share your brand’s story and values with your audience, you can create a deeper, more meaningful connection that goes beyond just selling a product or service.
In this article, we’ll explore what brand storytelling really is (it may not be what you think!) and three ways brand storytelling can help you increase connection with your audience and ultimately drive business growth.
Brand storytelling is a marketing technique that involves crafting narratives around your brand to help you create an emotional, personal connection with your audience. At its core, brand storytelling is about creating compelling stories that resonate with your audience. It will help them get closer to you as the leader and thus connect to your brand as though it was a real person.
One of the key benefits of brand storytelling is its ability to bring a brand to life. Typically, we think of our brands as visuals (logos, colors, fonts) and words (messaging, content voice). But those two things alone are not enough. Brand storytelling allows us to make those two components work together and communicate what you’re all about in a way that’s more personable and relational.
Brand storytelling can also help you establish trust and loyalty. By sharing your interests, values, likes, dislikes, and points of view, your audience is able to really get to know you and what you’re all about. And as the face of your brand, they begin to see themselves in you, and feel a deeper connection to your brand and its mission.
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Brand storytelling is a powerful tool for building emotional connections with consumers. When you tell stories that resonate with your audience, it has a much greater chance of building long-term relationships. This is because storytelling is both memorable and evokes emotions in the listener. When your audience can remember things about you and associate your brand with specific feelings, they are much more likely to keep coming back.
According to a study by neuroeconomist Paul Zak, when people hear stories that resonate with them, their brains release the hormone oxytocin, which is associated with trust and empathy. This is why appealing to people’s emotional side is a superpower in branding. It creates a positive association between the audience and your brand, leading to increased loyalty and engagement.
Finally, brand storytelling is also an effective way to differentiate your brand from competitors. In a crowded market where many brands offer similar products or services, compelling brand stories can help you stand out. Your story is your differentiator. When you are able to just be yourself and show up authentically, you create a brand personality that similar people are drawn to — and no other brand can mimic.
Compelling brand stories are a powerful tool in creating connections between ourselves and our audience. Not only do they help our audience connect more with us through personality and emotions, but they also make it easier for us to know what to talk about in order to create those connections. If you’ve ever opened Instagram stories or TikTok and been at a loss for what to say… then brand stories will be incredibly valuable to your overall strategy.
There are three primary ways that brand stories can help increase the connection and relationship between ourselves and our audience.
Imagine yourself in a speed dating scenario. You have only a few minutes to find a connection with the other person. What do you talk about? What do you ask them? Connecting with your audience is very similar. You have a short window of time to find common ground and pique their interest. So what do you talk about? What common ground can you pull on? What do you know about them that you can relate to?
There is often a tendency among brand leaders to use their content as a sales tool rather than a relationship tool. Instead, consider the things that your audience likes, dislikes, wants, or values — and where that might overlap with your own interests. And remember: these can be simple or boring things. It doesn’t matter if these things directly relate to your business (although, they probably do!). What matters is that they are relabtale and interesting.
The goal is that you are able to go beyond basic facts and figures, and instead speak to the emotions and experiences that you and your audience can both relate to. These emotional connections are what will build deeper, more meaningful relationships.
When you portray a lifestyle that people want, it gives them a peek behind the curtain to see what’s possible for them. Sharing the details of your own life and experiences allows your audience to see themselves reflected in you. This builds a sense of empathy and shows that you understand their challenges, goals, and desires.
Often, brand leaders think they need to live a lavish or exciting lifestyle in order for people to care. But in truth, not everyone wants that. Consider the lifestyle that you want, and that your audience may hope to achieve by working with or following you. Then show up in that way regularly.
People that want the same things as you or want the lifestyle you have are likely the people you are going to work best with. So show them what is possible through your own daily existence. Whether that’s your morning routine or your aesthetic office or your messy (but organized!) desktop.
Finally, brand stories can provide us with direction for our decisions and content. If you’re doing it right, your stories are known to you because they are your real life. You’ve lived this experience. You know how it feels to be where you were, and how it feels to be where you are right now.
Brand stories can give you an anchor to tap back into those feelings and use them as your compass to ensure you are always finding that connective tissue. You can always come back to those emotions and use them as your gut check. These stories and feelings can act as your anchor to pull you back into your audience’s minds and ensure you’re talking to them at a specific moment when they really need it.
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