#Asia The art of storytelling: Tips and tricks for SMB marketers in Malaysia


Storytelling is not about your company, but about how your customers feel about your brand, what value they see in engaging with your brand



Your brand is not just a name and a logo; its personality is based on all the communication that you deliver to your target audiences — be it verbal, visual or experiential.

With the ever-increasing power and influence of communities, social media and content, there is all the more reason for marketers to craft compelling brand stories that will resonate well with their audience.

Customers like to believe stories about products that make them feel richer, wiser, comfortable and cooler. Well, then, it becomes a self-fulfilling truth and they happily spread the story in their communities.

Marketers need to tell stories that inspire, educate or entertain their audiences. Stories are not always about great products, affordable price or facts. Tell your audiences stories that they can relate to.

Here are the 4 secrets all marketers need to learn to intrigue, engage and convert their audiences into loyal customers:

Embrace your story

Whatever story you are telling, make sure it is subtle, truthful, authentic and consistent. Customers today are smart enough; they will sniff through deceit and never return. Always remember, people have an infinite number of choices. Great stories make a promise and actually offer the experience they promised in the first place. Make a promise, and well, do all it takes, to keep your promise.

Be creative, but remain authentic, and do not stray far away from what your brand promises and what your customers can relate to.

LinkedIn made a promise to its users – a promise to help them become smarter at their jobs, stay informed, inspired and educated IF users would make LinkedIn a part of their daily morning routine. And over the years, the team has lived up to its promise, as clearly evident in its evolution from a platform to publisher.

The “Influencer Campaign” — a mesh of “LinkedIn Today” and “LinkedIn Groups” — was conceptualised and launched in 2014, where 150 prominent business figures like Richard Branson and Barack Obama begun sharing long-form posts with their followers. As an extension to this programme, LinkedIn further opened the platform to all its users for self-publishing and got us all hooked up to its app and website several times a day for generation and consumption of content about the industries of our interest and to learn what our peers are talking about.

Personify your core values

Brand stories are not ads and they are certainly not sales pitches. They will give your business a powerful voice, be it an SME or a large enterprise. These stories should be told with the brand persona in the center stage. A persona that goes beyond selling products, something that connects with your audiences at a more personal and emotional level, helping build credibility and trust.

Storytelling is not about your company, but about how your customers feel about your brand, what value they see in engaging with your brand. Share the unforgettable experiences of your customers and how they connected with your brand. Have your customer cross-post these stories on their website too, wherever possible.

Nike for example has a strong brand persona that is all about performance and winning. Wearing Nike is a representation of an active lifestyle and optimistic attitude for many. People express their own or idealised self in the brands they buy and use.

The Lego movie is a stellar example of how the brand connected with the audience through the movie and delivered the same brand promise of – fun and imagination — only to further enrich the engagement, drawing children back to Lego stores after the enjoyable experience.

Tell a story that matches with the customer’s worldview

Marketers succeed when the story they tell fits the consumers’ worldview, they will intuitively embrace your story and share it with their friends.

Great stories will not teach anything new. In fact, it will agree with the worldview of their customers and make them feel smart. Great stories appeal to senses, not just logic.

Special wine glasses worth more than US$20 to improve the taste of wine are well accepted in the market not because factually or scientifically there is a difference in the taste, but because consumers want to believe that these special glasses are designed to improve the taste and experience. In this case, customers want to believe the story that the marketers are telling them because it appeals to their senses.

Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone

Your story is not for everybody, find your audience, the people that will amplify your message. Your competitors have already made it difficult enough for your message to reach everyone, if you try to tell your story to everyone, people will ignore you and your attempts will fail.

Livestrong Foundation tells its story through the personal struggle of the individuals it supports and inspires people to act upon the message. The fundraising story matched the worldview of a tiny set of people who further spread the idea and supported in raising millions in charity. Comedian Drew Carey offered Livestrong US$1 for each new follower on twitter up to US$1 million instead of buying the twitter handle of a cancer patient Drew Olanoff, whose id was on auction.

The ubiquitous wristband sold for US$1 united people around the world in the fight against cancer, transcending all geographical, political, ethnic boundaries bringing in US$70 million in charity.

We all love stories, and that’s a fact. We use some to convince ourselves and some to convince others.

Marketers didn’t invent storytelling. They just perfected it!

So, what’s your story?

(Inspiration: Seth Godin)


This article was first published on askme.com.my.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your article here.

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