What brands get wrong about storytelling — and how to do it right

What brands get wrong about storytelling — and how to do it right

Stories compel our brains. Stories connect us, the world around us, and our past. Stories help define who we are. Human beings live by stories. Stories are the key to everything, and brands understand that marketing to a human involves appealing to the subconscious mind through storytelling. Stories are essential to human culture, and it’s only recently that we’ve come to work them out in place of data, figures and lists — they’re what make us purchase, believe in something or even do something. So why do brands keep getting storytelling wrong? And how can we get this right? Let’s dive right into this.

There are many things that brands get wrong when it comes to storytelling. 

Here are the most common mistakes brands make

1. Telling irrelevant stories

They don’t tell stories in a way that’s relevant to their audience. People want to hear from brands that make them feel like they’re being spoken to personally, not like they’re hearing a corporate-sounding lecture.

2. Not Understanding the needs & desires of the audience

They don’t understand their audience’s needs and desires well enough to tell meaningful stories that resonate with them personally

3. Not knowing how much to serve

They don’t know how much of their story they should tell at one time, they either tell too much at once (and leave people hanging) or too little at once (and leave people wondering).

4. They try too hard to fit into someone else’s narrative

One of the biggest mistakes brands make is not finding ways to frame their own story in ways that will inspire others as well.

5. Using too many characters or plots

If you’re trying to tell your story through an animated video or infographic, consider keeping it simple and focusing on one character or plotline at a time. Having multiple characters or plots can confuse your audience and lead them away from the main message of your video/infographic.

6. Too much jargon

When telling your story in text format (as in an email newsletter), be sure not to use too much jargon or industry-specific terms that aren’t familiar to all of your readers. Your goal should be for anyone who reads it to understand everything—not just those who are familiar with your industry!

The best brands tell compelling stories in a way that makes their audiences feel like they’re part of them.

Now here’s how you can do it right

Tell one story at a time

The first thing that many brands get wrong about storytelling is that they try to tell too many stories at once. This may seem like it makes sense at first glance—after all, why wouldn’t you want to tell as many stories as possible? But in fact, this can be extremely detrimental to your brand’s success.

When you’re trying to build trust with an audience or get them excited about something, they need time to invest in those feelings before they can fully understand why they should buy from you. Trying to tell too many stories at once will confuse them and make them feel overwhelmed by all of the information coming at them all at once—and that isn’t going to help you sell anything!

If you want people to respond well to your messaging and marketing efforts, then you need to focus on just one story at a time. Your audience will appreciate being able to follow along with one piece of content before moving on to another one; this helps them understand what kind of messages they might receive from other

Use your brand’s character to tell a story over time

Your brand has a character or personality, whether or not you’ve defined it. You need to take time to figure out what this character looks like and sounds like so that you can speak directly to your audience in a way that feels authentic. 

Think beyond the product launch or promotion

When it comes to storytelling, brands often get caught up in product launches or promotions. They forget that the most essential part of their story is the emotional connection they make with their customers.

The best way to do this is by creating content around your brand’s values and mission. For example, if you’re a luxury brand, your content should be about how you deliver luxury in every aspect of your business—from how you treat your employees to how you design your products. If you’re an eco-friendly brand, your content should be about how you are working to make the world a better place through sustainable practices. By sharing stories like these, consumers feel more connected with the brand and understand why they’re buying what they buy.

Encourage your audience to co-create stories with you

Your audience is ready to co-create a story with you. They want to tell their stories, too—but they can’t do it alone. They need your help.

When you’re telling a story, it’s important to remember that you don’t have the whole thing mapped out from start to end. Instead, you’re telling a tale that doesn’t yet exist—a story that will grow and change as the listener reacts and participates. You’ll be surprised by what happens next. And so will they!

Think of stories as activation tools for your audience

One of the most common mistakes brands make when using storytelling is to forget that it’s a tool. It’s not about you; it’s about your audience.

A good story will make your audience feel like they are part of an exciting adventure, and that adventure is about them. It should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, with a satisfying conclusion—but what matters most is what happens in between those beats.

A great way to do this is to ask yourself: “what does my audience want?”

The best stories are ones that help people achieve their goals and live their dreams, so if you can tell your audience exactly how they can do this through your brand or product or service—then you’ve got a winner on your hands!

Don’t create content for content’s sake. Create an experience

There’s a lot of content out there. It’s a fact. And if you’re trying to compete for attention in this oversaturated space, it can feel like you’re spending all your time just trying to create enough content—not necessarily making the kind of content that’s going to help you stand out from the crowd.

But here’s the thing: creating an experience is more than just creating content. It’s about creating something that people will want to engage with and share, which means it has more to do with how you’re telling your story than what story you’re telling.

What you should have taken away from this article is that storytelling is vital to every business, and why your brand needs to be telling stories as much as possible. From social media posts to blog articles, to advertising materials, your brand needs good storytelling if it wants to stand out.

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