Storytelling is a powerful skill, yet some brands don’t use it as a marketing tool. When used properly, stories can generate brand awareness, encourage support or sales and improve your reputation.
For organizations like Mercy Ships, a non-profit that offers medical care from its fleet of mobile ships, storytelling is vital to not only increase awareness about its mission, but to also show the impact it has on individual lives.
“Storytelling connects people directly to the work of our organization,” Mike Moffett, Mercy Ships’ video producer, says. “It puts them on the front lines and shows them how we work to make a difference in the world.”
Let’s take a look at some brands that are doing storytelling right.
McDonald’s showcases food suppliers
McDonald’s isn’t just known for its Big Mac, it’s known for its storytelling skills as well. In fact, research conducted by AESOP and presented in an infographic from MarketingWeek lists McDonald’s as one of the world’s top storytelling brands. It holds the third place spot, behind Apple and Cadbury.
In an effort to connect with customers, McDonald’s has created a series of stories that feature its food suppliers. With interactive web designs and videos, customers can see the people who grow the ingredients that are included in McDonald’s food. For example, a recent video highlights a farm in Michigan where three generations work to raise and harvest the apples that the fast food giant sells.
Take a look at the video:
Cisco highlights its talent through a newsroom
Cisco, the IT giant, doesn’t just write a story once and awhile. The company creates consistent content for its online newsroom, and it’s full of stories about social media, data, video and other relevant topics. This human-interest story, for example, explains how Cisco worked with several other partners to bring affordable Internet and video conferencing tools to a refugee camp in Kenya.
Red Bull features athletes
If you’re on the hunt for a great brand storyteller, look no further than energy drink maker Red Bull. This brand goes way beyond selling a slim can full of giddy-up-and-go and markets itself as a brand with a passion for all things extreme.
On its website, you’ll find stories about high-flying snowboarders like Travis Rice, who is now shooting a movie about his crazy techniques. The Red Bull Stratos project, featuring Felix Baumgartner, also became quite the story.
“Red Bull is the ultimate lifestyle brand,” marketing strategist Brad Hines says. “Half the time I forget their product is just a drink, since they stand for so much more, to the point that they have a popular extreme sports magazine and sponsor countless extreme sports events.”
Mercy Ships shares stories of triumph
Mercy Ships does a great job of highlighting the difference its organization can make in the life one person.
A recent video follows Pulcherie, a woman who lost her sight. After 18 years of blindness, she was given free cataract surgery and was able to see her 11-month-old baby for the first time.
Check out her story:
“What I want viewers to take away from Pulcherie’s story is a sense of purpose,” Moffett says. “This will completely change her life, her family and her community. I want people to connect with that, feel a part of it and be encouraged by it.”
Encouraged to tell your brand’s story? Here are some tips to get started:
Tell a story through an individual
Use one person to tell a story. For example, if your company donated time or products to an organization, ask one of the recipients to explain what that donation means to them. Tell a story through their eyes.
A well-written story rests on details, Moffett says. Every detail helps your audience connect. Tell readers where a person is from, what their hobbies are and what changed in their life since your brand or business stepped in.
Every story needs visuals. Imagine McDonald’s telling the story of one of its suppliers without having any pictures or video to support it. Visuals are a must in storytelling.
Use all forms of media
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of media. You have a lot of options. From text-based stories to interactive visuals and video, don’t be afraid to try it all.
Have an example of a killer brand story? Share the link in the comment section below.