Story-listening is ingrained in the human psyche since the Stone Age. When the fire was first produced and man’s wakeful hours stretched to the nights, stories became the first source of edutainment. He could see imageries and feel different experiences without having even to move a finger. Through stories, man could connect with others, quench his curiosities and discover new things about himself and the world. His horizons broadened, and he realised that storytelling adds value to life.
Let’s take a quick visceral test. What would you choose to read first – a novel or a technical manual? There’s a very high chance you’d pick the novel. This is because we love narratives. We are naturally curious to relate to things at a personal level. That’s how we find similarities, affinities, and trust in others. Therefore, nowadays, that the market is crowded with businesses offering the same or similar product, one of the most effective ways for startups to stand out from the crowd is through their stories. Moreover, many startups and even large corporates have started leveraging brand storytelling to boost their revenues.
Your startup story needs to have a universal appeal to get positive attention from your customers. In the field of scriptwriting, it is referred to as archetype. Everyone can instinctively relate to archetypes. An archetype is a set of emotions, qualities, and traits that people identify very quickly without giving it much thought. If your brand story can convincingly convey an archetypal message, millions of people swarming up to buy your product shouldn’t be a surprise. Take Apple’s historic move in 1976, for example, when they introduced the ‘personal’ computers using a ‘friend’ archetype. It was designed to be user-friendly and allow curious discoveries along with ease of use. Steve Jobs also once said at a retreat, “It is more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy”. Apple was thus able to create a bond with its potential customers through the idea of new ways of using a computer.
Many startups or companies also choose to highlight an emotional cause instead of directly projecting the product. There is always a cause that would fulfil your customers’ needs or aspirations. To take it to the next level, you can invite your customers to work towards the cause and share your purpose with them. Sharing your purpose will give your customers a sense of belonging and ownership. For example, Nike positions itself as a force for social equality and not just as a manufacturer of sneakers and workout gear. Nike invites customers to show their spirit of equality by wearing the tick.
To build such engaging stories for your startup, we have put together a list of essential elements that will help you do so:
- Theme: The theme of your startup story should be essentially based on the purpose and vision of your business. It should reflect the core values and how you define success for your startup.
- Protagonist: A persona of your target audience should take the lead role in your story
- Mission: Your protagonist’s mission should mirror the exact things that your customers would achieve through your product solutions
- Obstacle: Your protagonist cannot become the hero until he overcomes an obstacle. Demonstrate the challenges that your product will help your potential customers overcome
- Plot: The plot helps to manoeuvre the sequence of events to keep your audience engaged.
Storytelling will give your startup an edge by letting you differentiate your offering from others. Stories are also known to be very persuasive because of their emotional appeal. By adopting storytelling in your brand strategy, we hope you create history soon.
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