How to structure a better brand story

/How to structure a better brand story

How to structure a better brand story

Do you know the essential element required for brand storytelling?  Here’s a hint – it’s something novelists don’t have to worry about. Too often marketers miss a trick when preparing case studies, articles, media releases and blog posts about their company. If you’re producing content as part of your overall marketing strategy, here’s what you need to know to tell better stories.

The TRUTH test for storytelling

James Lush, the founder of Lush Digital Media, has a great formula to help writers and marketers tell better stories. We call it the TRUTH test because when these five elements are present, any journalist will jump at the chance to run your story. In short, the TRUTH test consists of: 

  • Topical – There’s nothing less interesting than yesterday’s news. Is your information current?
  • Relevant – Is the story of interest to your audience and their problems or challenges? If not, you’d better go back to the drawing board.
  • Unusual – Is there something about your story that hasn’t been seen or heard before? Put a new spin on things to get attention.
  • Trouble – Do you have an obstacle to overcome or a conflict to solve? Everyone loves a little drama.
  • Human – Whatever you do, make a person the centre of your story. People relate to people much better than to a business. Tell your story through the eyes of a customer or an employee for maximum effectiveness.

If you can tick off all five parts of the TRUTH test, you’re on your way to telling a great story. But it’s not quite the whole story when it comes to creating a truly effective story for your business.

Structuring a brand story

Brand storytellers need to consider one more thing and a lot of them never do. Most brand stories follow the simple technique of stating the problem and providing the solution. It’s the go-to method for constructing testimonials, case studies and customer success stories. Good marketers know they have to include a call to action in every story. But even that isn’t enough for maximum effectiveness.

If you’re not getting the results you expected from your brand stories, it’s probably because you’ve missed a critical step. From the audience’s point of view, hearing about your solution is not enough. If your story solves all the problems and meets all the needs of the user, you still have a sceptical audience. You need to quantify your results.

This is where fiction writers have it easy. There’s no requirement to tidy up a story or show the aftermath of the conclusion. By design, many novelists don’t do this because it leaves the door open for the next book. Brands can’t afford this luxury. You want to hit customers between the eyes with all the science to help them feel confident about answering your call to action.

Ways to show proof in brand stories

The best thing you can do is show measurable results. Think about the ways your customers’ organisations have changed because they worked with you and include those in your story.

  • Have they saved time?
  • Have they been able to reduce training time and expense?
  • Has employee satisfaction increased or staff turnover decreased?
  • Are staffing costs or agency usage lower?
  • Can orders be filled faster? By how much?
  • Have net promoter scores increased?
  • Are operating costs lower?
  • Has it improved safety?
  • Has it helped with customer retention?
  • What is the financial impact to the business?
  • Has your customer been able to close more business?
  • Can you calculate a return on investment?
  • Do you know the length of time needed to pay back the cost of the solution?
  • Is the sales cycle reduced?

The more detail you can provide about a variety of metrics, the easier it will be for your target audience to make a case to work with you. Getting specific information about the impact of your solution can be difficult, but it’s one of the most powerful parts of brand storytelling.

Every business has good stories to tell but constructing a story is not easy. Knowing the elements of storytelling to attract your audience is the first step to getting their attention. Good writing and editing also contribute to the overall experience. The vital piece for brand storytelling, however, is the ability to demonstrate results. Saying you have the answer is okay. Showing them the hard data to back up your claims will make you a master of brand storytelling.

If you’d like help creating brand stories, get in touch with us. We work in collaboration with our customers to deliver authentic stories to help them meet their business goals. 

If you want to bone up on your writing and storytelling skills, why not sign up for our next Masterclass on writing?

Like what you’ve read? Sign up to the Lush newsletter for fortnightly advice to help you market your business better, tips from our video production gurus, and a podcast or two from our favourite podcasting team, Brand Newsroom. In the meantime, you might enjoy these:

Content Marketing: Using Animation to Tell Stories

Ouch! Using Science to Make Brand Storytelling More Effective

BNR 24: Robert Rose on Content Marketing and Storytelling

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By | 2017-10-05T22:59:32+00:00 October 10th, 2017|Categories: Copywriting|Tags: , , |Comments Off on How to structure a better brand story

About the Author:

Sarah Mitchell is Director of Content Strategy at Lush. She develops content marketing and community engagement strategies for clients in a variety of industries. Sarah frequently speaks on topics related to Content Marketing, Brand Storytelling and Social Media. She's a co-host of the Brand Newsroom podcast and the Australian editor for Chief Content Officer magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @SarahMitchellOz.