The Importance of Brand Storytelling

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In September 2019, Paga, a mobile payments company led by Endeavor Entrepreneurs (Tayo Oviosu and Jay Alabraba), launched their Merchant Spotlight series. By using storytelling to highlight the businesses who use their platform to collect and disburse payments in Nigeria, Paga was able to amplify their clients, tell their stories, and also showcase the different ways their customers use Paga to pay and get paid.

When we think about companies who use storytelling to make their customers fall in love with their brands, become advocates and loyalists, and buy their products and services, we tend to think of companies like Nike, Apple, Netflix, and Amazon.

When Nike launched the ‘Just Do It’ TV campaign in 1988, they could have gone the traditional route and advertised the Nike AIR shoes. Instead, they chose to feature an 80-year-old marathoner, Walt Stacks, running down the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Walt Stacks doesn’t talk about how well he runs with his Nike shoes; he lets the viewers know he runs 17 miles a day and makes a joke about his dentures. People were so moved by the campaign that they sent in letters to Nike, sharing their personal ‘Just Do It’ stories.

Brand storytelling is a critical aspect of brand building. When it’s well-executed, storytelling appeals to a customer’s emotions, allowing them to form a deeper connection with your business. When a customer develops a relationship with a brand, they’re more likely to become loyalists and advocates — eager to spread the word about their products and services.

As a business evolves, companies have the opportunity to share stories about the decisions they’ve made, and the journey to get a product from point A to B. Storytelling is a powerful tool that connects customers to a brand’s, buying into the company’s vision, mission, and values. In our digital age, brand storytelling is necessary to connect with a generation that prefers to live online and engage with brands who care about global and cultural issues.

For entrepreneurs thinking of replacing traditional marketing strategies with brand storytelling, here are a few reasons to make the switch:

In Lagos, the commercial hub of South-West Nigeria, every famous market is teeming with stores, shops, and shacks selling similar wares and items. App stores and shopping centres display products designed to improve people’s lives, but to stand out you’ll need to find a winning edge in your marketing campaign. Emotive storytelling will separate you from the pack and draw potential customers to your brand. Instead of throwing numbers, charts, and convoluted data at your customers, try using storytelling to bring people into the heart of your business by explaining the problems you’re solving with your product or service. Remember, good storytelling evokes emotional responses from your audience.

Apple is an example of a brand that uses storytelling to launch new products and features. Although Apple sells technology products for personal use, their campaigns tell a more nuanced story. They use storytelling to appeal to their customers’ emotions, encourage their audience to embrace creative communication, and turn them from casual buyers into brand loyalists. To take your brand to the next level, you need to form deep connections with your customers and turn them from casual buyers into advocates who recommend your products to their circles. Before crafting your story, consider asking these questions:

  • How do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your product?
  • What value is your service adding to their lives?
  • What words should your customers use to describe your brand?

Allow your answers to inform the ways you connect with your audience.

The coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement both exposed the inequalities that many people live with daily. It led brands to understand that customers want more than sleek campaigns and robotic customer service representatives — they want to know where their favourite brands stand on issues such as inequality in the workplace, sexism, and racism. In the past few months, the Black Lives Matter has witnessed a flood of vocal support from big-name brands, including Adidas, Sephora, Amazon, Twitter, and Apple. By deploying empathetic storytelling and authentic language, these brands appeared more relatable and human. Many customers want to buy from brands who are bold enough to speak against injustice and positively impact their local communities, countries, and worldwide.

While global brands have more resources at their disposal, giving them a leg up when it comes to reaching customers, Nigerian startups have quickly embraced storytelling. Paystack is appealing to entrepreneurs because of its simple interface and continuous support of amplifying small businesses. Similarly, Piggyvest is dedicated to changing the narrative of financial independence for millions of Nigerians. These examples prove that stories don’t always need to be complex or interesting, but they need to be relatable and address the question “how will this help me?”. The answer to that question is the solution to effectively building brand loyalty.

Contributed by Koromone Koroye

Written by

Endeavor is leading the global high-impact entrepreneurship movement. We are accelerating the growth of Nigeria’s high-impact, scaleup & growth-stage companies.

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