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Storytelling 101: How To Tell Better (Brand) Stories

Show and Tell on May 7, 2021

illustration car being spray painted

As a marketer, you are probably familiar with the concept of storytelling and the role it plays in brand building. As Hubspot puts it, "storytelling has become a crucial component of the most successful marketing campaigns. It sets apart vibrant brands from simple businesses and loyal consumers from one-time, stop-in shoppers. " 

Compelling stories and memorable brand experiences not only create customer loyalty; they also make emotional connections with consumers in a time where the ‘experience economy’ is the driving force in commerce. The challenge becomes how to tell good stories. 

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula. There are, however, methods you can adopt to significantly improve your storytelling abilities. 

Improving your Storytelling 

Have your audience in mind.

Before you start typing away, it’s important to nail down who your story is for. As you would do with any marketing campaign, start with some initial research on your target audience and flush out your buyer personas. Put yourself in their shoes. What do they care about? Why are they consuming this content? How do they prefer to consume this content? It’s important to get a good grasp on these elements so that you can relate your story back to them. It will also help to guide your direction as you begin to flush out your story. 

Find your angle. 

Every great story has a unique angle. However, finding that angle can take a bit of work. Try utilizing BetterMarketing's 1-2-3 method:

  1. choose your overall topic or theme
  2. deconstruct your overall theme by breaking it into key sub-topics
  3. niche down your subtopics to a specific and more unique angle

Ex: If you're creating a story around your brand’s history, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How was your business founded?
  • Who are your "main characters"?
  • What were some of the monumental events along the way? 
  • How was your company name chosen? 
  • How was your brand’s colour palette selected? 


Ultimately, you always want to start with the big picture in mind while crafting your unique story. 

Provoke an emotional reaction.

Everyone knows that a great story invokes intense emotion from the audience – whether that's excitement, frustration or suspense. Whatever it is that you’d like to get across to your audience, it needs to provoke an emotional reaction. Why? The emotions we feel help us connect to the story and prompt us to take action. Analyze the “hooks” in your story – do they have an emotional component? Try to find the “heroes” and create an engaging story, even if you have a more traditional service or product.

Don't shy away from conflict.

Many brands tend to shy away from sharing their challenges or conflicts, and it's the worst decision they could make in storytelling. Every good story revolves around conflict. Ask yourself: what is the gap, challenge or ‘problem’ in the market that your company, organization or product solves? What would happen to the market if your company, organization or product didn’t exist?

Intrigued? Your prospects will be. Embracing conflict is what makes any story compelling. And brands that express their challenges stand to be more relatable to their audiences. If framed in a strategic way, conflict can bring deeper consumer insights and cultural truths to light, while sparking your audience’s curiosity and imagination.

Make your story multi-sensory.

Adding a variety of elements to your story helps to distinguish your brand in consumers' mind and overall makes your brand more recognizable. And science shows us that people remember multisensory experiences better. 

Case in point: Ferrari.

Ferrari’s campaign made connections between all the variations of their classic ‘rosso’ (Italian word for ‘red’) and the inspiration for each. In the example above, the hue ‘Rosso Mugello’ was inspired by the Mugello racing circuit in Tuscany, Italy. You may not be entirely sure what the exact connection is – and really, it doesn't matter. This tidbit of storytelling fuels the mystique of the brand (pun intended) and pays tribute to its racing history. 

Emphasize your unique solution.

Marketers often make the mistake of focusing too much on the rhetorical “features and benefits” of their brand. It’s crucial for marketers to tap into a customer service mindset and come up with better ways to convey the actual challenges that your customers are facing through storytelling. Focus on how your brand can actually solve your customers’ unique problems.

Key Points to Great Storytelling

  1. Have your audience in mind.
  2. Find your angle.
  3. Provoke an emotional reaction.
  4. Don't shy away from conflict.
  5. Make it multi-sensory.
  6. Emphasize your unique solution.

Ultimately, true storytelling comes from the heart (of your business) and the inspiration for those stories can come from anywhere. The more unique and authentic the stories are, the more likely they are to strike a chord with the audience and establish that emotional bond. Be genuine, explore your history and tell your unique story. 

Editor’s note: Show and Tell’s Paid Advertising Specialist, Natalia Ferrari, is (unfortunately) not a descendant of Enzo Ferrari and does not bring with her a “friends-and-family discount”. She is, however, exceptional at digital marketing.

Our agency combines our love for great storytelling with great design, and backs it up with data and analytics to prove your story is resonating with audiences. We’re here to help you create engaging and interesting stories for your brand and organization.