There is no greater asset to your company’s content marketing strategy than the ability to tell a good story. Commonly thought of as a B2C tactic, brand storytelling has gained immense popularity in the B2B realm over the last few years. In fact, 41% of B2B marketers agree that improving storytelling tactics is a top priority for their team (source).
While many B2B marketers recognize the importance of storytelling, they still struggle with the concept. What is it, and why exactly has it become a necessity? In today’s post, we tackle your toughest questions regarding storytelling.
What is storytelling?
Storytelling is an age-old art that can be defined simply as the telling, expressing or writing of stories. Storytelling is interactive in nature, using words and actions to reveal the elements of a story which often encourage the listener’s imagination.
Over the last few years, storytelling has emerged as an extremely effective communication tool. The truth is, people like stories; they make sense of things, provide context to situations and form connections between people. While each story is different, the components of an effective story remain the same; they contain a protagonist, antagonist, setting, atmosphere, conflict, climax and resolution.
What is brand storytelling?
To address a common misconception, brand storytelling is so much more than the history of a business or company. Brand storytelling addresses the facts and feelings about and created by your brand. In short, it tells the reader who you are and why you do what you’re doing.
One important fact to remember is that your brand story is not one static object; it’s not just a blog post, white paper, or article – it’s all the content that expresses the messages and feelings associated with your brand. This includes both content created by your team, as well as the user-generated content provided by your prospects and customers.
How is brand storytelling different from traditional marketing?
One of the biggest obstacles B2B marketers face is determining the difference between storytelling and traditional marketing practices. Typically, marketing and advertising content is intended to help make a sale while your brand story is meant to make a connection with prospects and customers.
Why is your B2B brand story so important?
It helps you stand out in the crowded content landscape.
As with any marketing strategy, success often depends on being able to grab (and keep) your audience’s attention, but as content marketing grows in popularity, this has become increasingly difficult to do. As companies continuously spew out content, today’s consumers often face content overload. Storytelling is the key to breaking through this barrier, by differentiating your content from the competition – good stories make you stand out.
It positions your brand as an industry leader.
As mentioned above, businesses use stories to make a connection – not pitch a sale. More than ever, prospects don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to. Sure, they want information about your brand, but they don’t want to feel pressured.
Storytelling solves this dilemma by providing authentic, truthful and valuable information to a prospect, without crossing any lines. This establishes confidence in your brand, effectively positioning you as a trusted name and leader within your industry.
A B2B brand story targets your prospects emotions.
All too often, B2B marketers fail to realize that the buyers engaging with their content are in fact, human beings. You may want to gain a company’s business, but the company itself is not the decision maker – people are – and people often base decisions on their emotions.
Unlike the more traditional forms of content marketing— designed to appeal to a buyer’s intellect— stories appeal to human emotions. According to one recent study, the more ‘feel good’ components your story contains, the more oxytocin is released in a reader’s brain; higher levels of oxytocin increase the chance of a prospect making a purchase (source).