Every great brand has a compelling story behind it. If you want people to remember your brand and stand behind it, you need to tell better stories. And according to Jessica Gioglio, “you have to be an evangelist for the product” to tell captivating stories about it.
Jessica is the founder of With Savvy Media & Marketing and has spearheaded social media campaigns for brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Comcast. She’s also written two books on storytelling – “The Laws of Brand Storytelling” and “The Power of Visual Storytelling.”
Nathaniel Schooler interviewed Jessica for the podcast series The Secrets of Audience Intelligence, where they discussed brand storytelling with content marketing. In this interview, Jessica shone a light on how brands and companies can tell better stories and engage their communities with content.
Jessica cited the famous line about great storytellers playing to their audience to establish the importance of audience insights in brand storytelling. These insights help you understand your audience better, so you can figure out how to tell stories that resonate with them.
“(An audience insights report) gives you powerful insights to start shaping what types of stories could I tell that would be interesting to this audience,” she clarified.
“I’m a firm believer that every company, every brand has a story to tell,” Jessica stated.
But while audience metrics and insights are critical for better storytelling, she explained that she usually starts from the strategy standpoint.
She also recommends getting a sense of your current state as a brand. Who are you as a brand? What do you stand for? Start by identifying those core values “because if we’re going to be a great storyteller and you want people to actually buy into your stories, believe them or be inspired by them, people have to believe in you.”
That means you need to start by having a strong brand.
According to Jessica, the biggest mistake companies make is trying to use storytelling as a rebranding tactic. “They haven’t actually done the work inside to actually reflect the image they want to project on the outside,” she explained.
“So if I’m working with a brand, for example, that has an image they want to improve, let’s actually document that journey or let’s actually implement programs that improve customer experience and tell that story and be a bit transparent about it.”
She believes that this is the best way to get customers to believe in what you tell them and also to “get behind you and support you and to follow you on that journey.”
“You have to have a strong sense of your brand to start forming really what that storytelling strategy is and the types of stories that would really make sense for you to tell as a brand. “
Jessica suggests that to start telling better stories, you need to first get a clear idea of what your “why” is as a brand. Who are you as a brand? What is your mission? What do you stand for?
She elaborated on this suggestion using Toms shoes as an example. “They’re mission-driven. Their ‘why’ is for every pair of shoes you buy, they give back a pair of shoes to a child in need.” The brand realises a huge problem and makes it their mission to help fix that problem.
“And when consumers start to realize that, they want to do business with a company like Toms because they’re sharing those values,” she explained.
Jessica recommends doing a lot of testing and monitoring. While your macro story, your brand’s “why,” may not change, it could do with some refinement at some point. Perhaps you could change the way you tell it or how you bring the story to life based on how your audience is responding to your existing stories.
If you want to engage communities with content, you also need to reach them through the right channels. This then goes back to audience insights because they show you where your audience is most likely to be and what types of content they want to consume.
You need answers to questions like – Where do people want to get information from you? Do they want to listen to a podcast? Do they want to follow you on social media? Are they going to come to your website?
Jessica stressed on the importance of focusing on customer-facing touchpoints because they will help shape how you craft and tell your stories. You’ll have to consider the best practices on each channel because text-based content may work on some, while others may be more image-focused.
“That’s really going to help you think about how you bring that story to life because how you bring a story to life in a video is really different than maybe an image and a bit of copy in a social media post versus a longer-form audio podcast.”
For those starting out, Jessica recommends doing a pilot. This is also a great way to sell things internally “because if your company’s only obsessed with performance marketing or content marketing, you want to start doing storytelling and really building a well-rounded strategy.”
You could share examples of the types of stories you want to tell. And you’ll need clear KPIs around that. “That’s also going to really help you focus and not spin your wheels creating tons and tons of content where maybe you only want to do a handful of videos and a bunch of supporting images assets.”
In other words, it saves you time and resources in the long run.
“Then start measuring the response from customers and that allows you to keep pivoting accordingly.”
These are excerpts from the interesting interview that Nat Schooler did with Jessica Gioglio and which can be listened to in its full version here: