From tales to sales: Why you need a good brand story

Your brand’s raison d'être is important to connect with your customers. Here are some ways you can evaluate and redefine it if you think there’s room for improvement.
29 March 2018

In an era where content is king, every brand must craft a good story. Source: Shutterstock

Consumers tend to connect with brands and companies that share the same values. Those who care about the environment will prefer brands that watch their carbon footprint. Animal lovers will try to buy from companies that don’t test their products on animals.

Successful brands have a story and an identity that resonate with target customers – and that’s what drives engagement.

According to BigCommerce, 67 percent of millennials and 56 percent of Gen Xers are opting to shop online rather than in-store. These ratings continue to increase year by year, resulting in more and more business owners joining the e-commerce gold rush, recognizing potential in the trend.

If you’re a newcomer to the now heavily saturated e-commerce space, you can expect these questions from the online community when building your e-store:

  • Why did you establish this startup?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Why should I buy your merchandise?

If you don’t know the answers to the queries above, don’t panic. A simple way to tackle all three questions at once is by crafting a brand story.

“From a very young age we love listening to stories and, as we grow older, we respond to tales and anecdotes- brands need to inject the magic of storytelling into their marketing to tap into people’s emotions,” said Steve Hemsley in Marketing Week.

Narratives introduce your company to consumers of all ages. Most people want to know where you started from and how far you’ve come. That’s why you should use your brand story as a way of capturing and captivating online followers.

Chapter One:Consumer Connection’

So, if you create a story, how could it affect your sales? In his bookStart With Why’, Simon Sinek writes, “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”.

Customers connect better with brands that share their values. Source: Shutterstock

Sinek is spot on. By sharing your company’s motives, it’s as if you’re granting the reader “a backstage pass” to your brand. They have a chance to connect with your story and you have an opportunity to gain their admiration.

When a customer relates to your brand, that’s a profitable achievement. That’s also a sure-fire way to build brand loyalty; a customer that feels a connection with your brand will continually return to check on your store’s updates and search for product arrivals.

Cyber-Sheriff founder David Blair-Turner discovered financial advantages after publishing his startup’s story.

“Without telling people why I created cyber-security courses, I felt as if I’d be just another drop in the ocean- my story set me apart from the competition and helped me to build relationships with customers as well as receive continuous bookings,” he said.

Chapter Two: ‘From tales to sales’

Customer connection is an interesting topic through a psychologist’s perspective. Dr Robert Cialdini believes it is possible to get people to say yes to what you’re offering – if it comes with a persuasive storyline.

In his novel Influence (1984), Cialdini writes, “All of the foot-in-the-door experts seem to be excited about the same thing: you can use small commitments to manipulate a person’s self-image; you can use them to turn citizens into ‘public servants’ and prospects into ‘customers’ if you want to.”

He believes “small commitments” such as “telling your story” will help businesses boost sales. Once the company makes the consumer feel significant and included, they will characterize themselves with the tale. They may achieve this by wearing your products and promoting your services. They may even invest their efforts by becoming an employee.

Get your brand story right if you want customers to buy into your mission. Source: Shutterstock

When a consumer’s values align with your own, they could inadvertently become ‘public servants’ for your brand. For example, on Instagram, a customer may publish a photo wearing your merchandise on their online storyboard. Suddenly, they have embodied your ethos. And their followers will take notice.

The genius in this is that for no fee at all, you simply become part of their visual journey and a member of their exclusive clique.

Chapter Three:Customized Content’

Now that you can see the importance of a brand story, how do you build one for your online store?

Luckily for startup owners, there are numerous ways to construct an effective e-commerce site. For example, you could install an “About Us” page to steer customers towards your narrative. Or you could charm buyers with compelling visuals which signify your brand. There are many options out there.

Yet, to get your audience to emote with your ethos, the Digital Marketing Magazine (DMM) believes that customized content is crucial. From a survey, they found that 77 percent of customers will recommend, or pay more for a brand that provides a personalized experience.

Furthermore, DMM encourages companies to send tailor-made emails and to share their story with customers. They believe that, “it gives the customer a positive perception of the brand, making them more likely to purchase…and spread the word”.