Do you have a brand story? If you answered yes, is it a real story? In her book Stories that Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business Kindra Hall challenges what that concept means. Indeed, Hall argues that most brands don’t have a story. At least not one that’s effective. She goes on to recommend ways to craft stories that impact customers and influence sales.

What is a Story?

The critical question of the book is what qualifies as a story? To open, Hall introduces things that are passed off as brands’ “stories”. Unfortunately, she argues that they don’t qualify. You’re likely familiar with these. They look a little like:

Our Story – we use only the finest of ingredients in our products. Indeed, we mine them from the glacial depths of magical fountains. Then, we sprinkle them with fairy dust and deliver them to this supermarket shelf ready to help you do something really amazing.

Although this may seem familiar, Hall urges brands to avoid this strategy. She contends that it’s not a story. Because it’s not a story, it’s not as effective as it could be. She suggests a well-crafted story will release the chemical oxytocin in the listener. This “feel-good” chemical makes people happier and feel more connected with the storyteller, which builds trust. This trust can lead to an increased likelihood to buy, subscribe, or donate. Instead of the impersonal “story” above, Hall recommends ensuring these key elements are in a brand’s story:

  1. Identifiable character
  2. Emotion
  3. Moments
  4. Specifics
  5. Normal
  6. Explosion
  7. New Normal

By creating a story with these components. Hall suggests storytellers can better build a connection with listeners or readers.

Parts of a Great Story

According to Hall, the identifiable character is often missing from the story. There must be a character for clients to connect with in the story. Though the character can represent the brand, “the brand” should not serve as the main character. From there, insert an emotion clients understand. Next, elevate the emotion with a specific and recognizable moment. Hall calls this “zooming in”. It could be a specific thing the character saw, felt, or heard. This pulls the listener into the story. From there the story structure is likely familiar.

The normal is what the character experiences on a normal day. This often identifies the need for your product. The character spends too much time at work, is in a cramped apartment, or has a vehicle that keeps breaking down. Hall refers to the “big reveal” – often the product or solution in question as the “explosion”. This is the event that changes everything. To close, listeners or readers then observe the new normal – how the story changes as a result of the explosion.

Share your Brand Story

Now that you have a great story, what’s the best way to share it? Start with your website. Review your “About Me” page and make sure it tells your story – your real story. Next, move on to other key places clients access. If you have a popular blog or YouTube channel, update those as well. Work the story into presentations, speaking engagements, and even new hire orientation. Additionally, consider using your CardTapp digital sales tool to connect clients to a video or link to your story.

Check out Hall’s book for more tips on creating powerful stories. Need help connecting clients to your story? Request a demo today.

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