As creative entrepreneurs, we pour our heart and soul into our business. We work hard to create a brand that speaks to our dream clients, but let’s be real – trying to stand out online these days can be as hard as navigating a foreign country without a map.
That’s where brand storytelling comes in. It’s an incredible marketing tool that injects humanity, emotion, and relatability into all aspects of your brand identity. By using stories in your overall branding, you can create a meaningful connection with your audience and make them feel like they’re a part of your journey from the moment they find you.
No matter your industry, a blend of strategy and storytelling can make all the difference in setting yourself apart from the competition. The old saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ holds true here…and we all have a story to tell.
Before we dive into the why and the how, let’s clarify what “brand storytelling” is at its core. It’s a term that’s been coming up a lot in business conversations lately, but what does it really mean?
Brand storytelling is basically the art of using narrative in a way that resonates with customers. When it comes to branding, think of it as a visual narrative. It’s like a juicy novel, but instead of getting lost in the plot, your audience gets hooked on your brand’s personality, mission, and you guessed it – aesthetics.
If you own a business, you’ve probably heard this already but here’s a little refresher: brand design is not just about slapping a logo on a website or business card and calling it a day. A brand’s visual identity is SO much more than that. Storytelling allows brands to represent who they are and what they stand for cohesively across all touchpoints (your website, social media graphics, marketing materials, and more).
Speaking of consistency, using the same narrative can help you create a recognizable brand. Think about it: when you see a checkmark, you immediately think of Nike. That’s the power of strong branding. The brand has used the same logo, the same slogan, and delivered relevant stories to/about their customers for decades now. What do YOU want to instantly be known for to your audience? Storytelling can help you achieve that same level of recognition.
We’ve all had that experience of watching a movie or reading a book that left us feeling something deep down in our souls, right? Well, the same thing can happen when you use storytelling in your branding. As much as we would like potential clients and customers to connect with our brand at face-value, stories are what create the opportunity for deeper relationships with your clients and strengthen loyalty over time.
Defining your brand story and values before diving into the visual elements allows for so much more intention during the design process. This is why I ask my branding clients TONS of questions about their business to really dig into the “why” – so we can craft the story and values that set them apart and resonate with the clients they love to serve.
Your imagery should tell a consistent story and be reflective of your brand values, who your clients are, and who YOU are as a business owner. Using real images with a story behind them can add a whole new level of impact to your business. For example, if you’re a photographer who does a lot of outdoor shoots and elopements, you can incorporate that within your photos or illustrations (check out the branding + website for our client Liz from The Organic Moment to see what I mean!). Ditch the cheesy stock photos! If brand photography isn’t doable right now, check out our recommendations for some high-quality stock photos.
Just as the words you choose and the stories you tell shape your brand, the fonts and colors you use also communicate a message to your audience. Both can convey different moods and personalities, from polished and professional to playful and creative. For example, a bold, sans-serif font might suggest a brand that is modern and forward-thinking, while a traditional serif font might convey a more established and trustworthy image. Choose colors/typography that reflect your personality and the emotions you want your audience to feel.
Storytelling not only brings your brand to life, it speaks directly to the heart of those who consume it — and that can make all the difference if you’re looking to stand out. Telling stories through visuals goes beyond surface-level design (no thanks!) and has the ability to shape a customer’s entire experience. When done correctly, it’s a powerful way to communicate a lot of ideas without having to say too much.
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