4 Best Practices for Effective Brand Storytelling

A friend notices an item of yours–a piece of jewelry, item of clothing, you name it–and asks where you purchased it.

Before you know it, you’ve launched into telling her the story behind the brand you bought from.

Maybe it’s the tale of the young single mom who decided to follow her dreams and start designing earrings and necklaces.

Or the story of two best friends who decided to turn their love of whiskey and spirits into a business.

Regardless, there’s no denying that brand storytelling can be extremely powerful when it comes to engaging consumers and encouraging them to buy.

According to Ilya Vedrashko, SVP and Director of Research at Hill Holliday’s consumer research arm, Origin:

“There’s plenty of popular demand for good stories, if binge-watching, binge-listening, and binge-reading statistics are an indicator. Stories move not only people, but they also move product.”


Often your business is competing with companies selling products that aren’t all that different from yours, and it’s not enough to simply rely on your offering itself to make the sale.

You need to develop an emotional connection with your audience of prospective buyers, and one surefire way of doing that is to tell your story…

…and to tell it effectively.

Read on for four tips that can help you share your brand story in a powerful manner that will drive results.

#1: Paint a Vivid Picture.

You’ve probably heard the age-old phrase “show, don’t tell.”

It’s been a consistent piece of wisdom through the ages, from writing teachers to noted individuals, such as 19th-century playwright Anton Chekhov.

Chekhov advised, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Rather than dryly telling your audience that your product is sure to change lives, aim to paint a picture that demonstrates this sentiment and allows prospects to come to the conclusion themselves.

More specifically, this involves describing tangible details and tapping into the five senses–particularly when writing product copy.

From describing how a silk shirt feels to the touch, to the subtle flavors that arise when smelling a bar of soap, provide your audience with the chance to envision the experience of interacting with your product or service.

Learn more about how to paint a vivid picture in your storytelling in this post.

#2: Leverage Social Proof as Backup.

We get by with a little help from our friends… and to be honest, our past customers.

Telling your business and product story is effective, but adding a layer of social proof will make your efforts exponentially more successful.

From written and video testimonials to Twitter shout-outs and short blurbs, your satisfied customers will be your greatest strength in demonstrating value to prospective customers.  

I recommend you take the time to source written or video testimonials with happy past customers, and use your creative powers to help draw forth their success stories organically.

Be sure to ask the customer to describe the experience of using your product or service, as well as the experience of interacting with your business or customer service representatives.

Doing this will give prospective customers the chance to place themselves in the shoes of your past customers and trust that they might have a similar positive experience if they purchase what you have to offer.

Learn more about how to leverage social proof here.

#3: Appeal to People’s Emotions

Making a logical case as to why your customer could benefit from purchasing a product or service from your business is helpful–but only goes so far.

On the other hand, if you add in an emotional connection with the customer through your brand storytelling–he or she may be hooked for life.

(Ok, that might be overpromising, but hey–it doesn’t hurt to set lofty goals.)

Whether they make you laugh, cry, get angry, or feel worried, stories can solidify a positive connection and association to your brand and the solution your offerings provide.

It’s important to note that tapping into emotions doesn’t simply mean using emotive language–you should also work to be vulnerable, transparent, and honest in telling your story.

For example, let’s say you sell a weight-loss system that you used in your own weight-loss journey.

Honestly describing the sense of shame you felt before you lost weight can encourage customers who feel those same emotions now to feel confident and driven to purchase from you and take your word for it.

Learn more about how to master the art of using emotion in your storytelling here.

#4: Use the Right Words.

Telling an effective brand and product story goes beyond the story details and emotions–the words you choose can make all the difference.

The voice, tone, and style you use throughout your brand storytelling process will greatly depend on who your audience is.

Think about how gender, age, location, career, and interests influence how your prospects will or will not respond to your copy.

For example, a younger demographic often appreciates a more casual and conversational tone while an older, middle-aged demographic tends to appreciate something more formal and professional.

Learn more about how to choose words and embody the right tone that will move your prospects in the right direction here.

The ball’s now in your court–reflect on your brand and product story, take these tips into consideration, and move forward on sharing it with your prospects.

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