As you've probably noticed (since you opened this post), storytelling is not a new concept within marketing. In fact, it's an ancient art (and part science), written about in so many places that you hardly know where to begin.
But why is storytelling still such a hot topic?
And how do you create online brochures that tell the good story about you brand?
I guess the correlation between these questions and other very hot topics such as word-of-mouth, social sharing, viral marketing and brand perception causes some "guilty by association" success for storytelling as a concept.
But mostly, I suspect it's because we're human. Our brains are wired for storytelling and connection. Our minds are simply drawn to it. So why not start using it when you create online brochures?
Well, let's just say that the science of storytelling is a whole other blog post. Suffice to mention 3 arguments that storytelling works. Psychology Today describes that:
- Consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features and facts) when evaluating brands
- Emotional response to an ad influences a consumer’s intent to buy a product far greater than the ad’s content does
- The emotion "likeability" is the most predictive measure of whether a product will be sold.
So, if "shouting" at your consumers doesn't work, the online attention span is decreasing, and your brand needs a hook to catch consumer attention before the message goes in one ear and out the other, you need to know how to use storytelling.
I know, the task seems daunting, but no matter how "boring" you think your product is, it has it's own unique story to tell. Let's have a look at 3 examples of brand storytelling.
3 storytelling fashion brands
How can a company go from a small self-made online auction to one of the fastest growing retailers in less than 10 years? You probably know the saying: "A picture says more than a thousand words", today's equivalent is quite possibly "A story sells more than a thousand pictures sell" (well, I just made that up, but you know what I mean).
Nasty Gal - young women's fashion
Nasty Gal was founded in 2006 by the then 22-year-old Sophia Amoruso. She started selling clothes online through eBay but was "kicked out" in 2008. In 2011 she launched Nasty Gal. At this time the brand was already reaching $23 million in revenues. By 2012 the company was ranked among some of the fastest growing companies. In 2015 she was a speaker at INBOUND, one of the biggest inbound marketing events, to tell about her success. So what did she do to become so successful?
Nastgal takes digital storytelling to the level as required by the brand's main target audience - young women, a generation that is extremely active online. Here's some of the things they did:
- Detailed description in the form of a story behind every product with focused use of adjectives
- Products are photographed with precision and represented with accompanying products
- Meets the target audience where they are, resulting in a devotion to social media engagement
- Offers great content through a branded blog
- Go one step beyond with the micro-site #GIRLBOSS
When using an online brochure maker, like iPaper, you can easily incorporate these tips when you create online brochures. Have look at the example from Skanska and how they create online brochures that tell their brand's story:
Nike - sports
Another great example of storytelling in the fashion industry is Nike. Hell, the brand was even used as the main case in the movie What Women Want where a marketing agency is asked to develop a storyline for its women's running shoes.
And who doesn't know the slogan Just do it? If you don't, have a look at one of the first stories Nike used to remind every kid that they could be the next Michael Jordan - only with Nikes of course.
You can also "just do it". That is: tell your brands story with engaging elements:
You can also have a look at this example from Reelight, who use video in their online brochure to enhance their brand story.
Mini Rodini - children's fashion
Children may be small by size, but their clothes are big business. I dare say that to most people, their children are the most important thing in their lifes. And if children are the mirror of our aspirations in life, they have to be dressed the part.
On that note, Euromonitor reports that the UK childrenswear market is worth £5.6bn with a retail value estimated to rise to £5.9bn by 2017.
Mini Rodini is just one of many children's fashion companies that have a sharp focus on storytelling to help sell their product and brand. Playing with colors and simple designs in their online representation, the brand attracts the viewer with strong, but subtle messages, that all spinning around 3 main selling points (or should we say stories?):
Make better clothes both for the environment, for the people producing them and for the kids wearing them
A tribute to all children, their imagination and sense that everything is possible
Playfullness for all
Mini Rodini uses a marketing mix including beautiful images, company blog, social media and lookbooks. All which are incorporated into their digital design, leaving the viewer with a sense of professionalism.
Download this Free eBook about Designing For Digital to learn more about online design.
How To USE STORYTELLING WHEN Creating Online Brochures
Marketers almost have tunnel vision towards finding new ways to let their brands speak and tell their unique stories. Combined with social media and the increased use of innovative technology to achieve that goal, the ultimate success is that the brand’s story lets you in on the very emotions that drives consumers' willingness to buy.
The trouble is, after exposing your potential customers to all of your great storytelling in a lovely combination of all available promotional tools like social media, ads, shows, digital and maybe even outdoor commercials - how do you put that "hook" in the consumer and make the sell?
If we didn't have this solution, we would lose out to our competitors. In the catalogs, we can make more beautiful and inspirational combinations & environments. Our catalogs also give us an opportunity to present better messages than you can do on a web shop.
Quote: Brian Klindt, Online Coordinator at Fleggaard.
One thing is having a brand - another is making the sell? How do you leverage all your storytelling efforts? Shape stories that are persuasive, human, and honest.
Give consumers something to interact with, force an emotional reaction (a trip down memory lane, play on happiness, freedom), and give them a reason to stay loyal (like good old fashioned service or crowd sourcing).
Use different channels (social, online catalogs, landing pages), and make sure they are the right ones. The key is to understand and stay true to both your brand and the consumer. Tell your story and make it easy for your customer to relate to your brand.
And one last thing - don't overthink it. Just do it! (See how Nike gets under your skin?).
Have a go - start telling your brand's story!
If you want more inspiration for incorporating storytelling into your brand, I recommend that you read this blog post: