Branding vs storytelling: what is the difference?

by Emma Jeanpierre

You get branding and storytelling mixed up? Branding is an essential part of your communication strategy, and you most certainly use this term a lot.  Do not make the mistake anymore. 

Branding (or brand content) is, as Jeff Bezos said, "what people say about when you're not in the room". It is the marketing efforts you will put into creating your brand identity. 

Storytelling, on the other hand, is more about the way you communicate, the messages you convey, just as Seth Godin says: "marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but the stories you tell". 

In this article, we will help you understand the main differences between branding and storytelling.

The main advantages of
brand content

Branding is the broader marketing strategy that includes storytelling. It is the fundamental communication of your brand. What are the brand elements you can communicate about? You can communicate on every element that carries your brand identity: your name, your logo, your slogan, your character... 

Why should you use branding?

Branding is a fundamental part of your marketing plan. Communicating wisely on your brand will help you:

  • Optimize your visibility: informing, persuading and educating your visitors about your brand is an important part of the communication plan. According to Pam Moore, it takes 5 to 7 interactions with your brand for people to remember it and build trust. 

  • Build a lasting bond with your customer: you do not want your customers to use your business only once? No you don’t. Good branding gives more credibility and makes human connection easier. Your customers are not just following your company: you share common values.

  • Promote your brand image & your e-reputation. We will use Coca-Cola’s example to illustrate what we mean:

    1. Use your creativity to improve your design: the packaging of their brand is often redesigned to    follow the evolution of the market.

    2. Personalize your connection with your audience: choose an icon or a logo that people can             recognize easily. They choose bold colors and often invite celebrities to promote their brand.

    3. Include branding elements into your advertising scheme to enhance brand recognition.

  • Create a unique team spirit with your employees: get them involved by sharing the same values. Try to constantly remember what your company stands for and cultivate a powerful connection between your employees and your brand identity. In this way, you will be sure that your employees are committed to broadcast those values through their actions with your customer.

How to make the most of your branding strategy?

A proper branding strategy will take time, but the investment is worth it in the long run. 

  1. Define your values before you start communicating about your brand: have an introspection about your brand’s reasons for existence.

  2. Understand your buyer persona’s interests: create unique and personalized content. Catch your audience’s attention by providing them with what they are looking for.

  3. Do not neglect the choice of your logo, corporate identity and style guide. You will not be able to change it very often.

The art of storytelling:
what are the assets?

Storytelling is part of branding strategy as it allows you to build a bridge between your company and your customers. It is the humanizing part of branding, the one in which you give your audience stories they can identify themselves with and help increase your visibility. 

Coca-Cola, one of the most influential brands globally, is well-known for its impactful advertisements. They are aware that stories are much easier to remember than simple facts. Whether they address their audience in print media or visual media, they always manage to deliver a core message that matches their core brand image. 

They can convince the public that their beverage is much needed, and that is the power of storytelling. Here is a video of Coca-Cola’s storytelling methodology, presented by Kate Santore (director marketing of the Coca-Cola company):

 

Why use storytelling techniques?

Why should you care about developing your storytelling skills? Well, because it is a tool of interest!. It allows you to:

  • Boost your content marketing results: people are more eager to read your story if it is personified, if you use a narrative structure and tell them a real story. It will help them identify with your brand. 

  • Create an immersive experience to raise public awareness of your brand: be authentic and creative. 

  • Increase conversions: by connecting emotionally with your audience and showing empathy, they will be more likely to stay connected to your brand. 

  • Generate more engagement from your audience: use the appropriate tone, set up clear values and stick to them. If they can portray your identity, they will engage more. 

How to make good use of storytelling?

To make the most of your storytelling strategy, you should always keep the following in mind:

  1. You must have a clearly defined audience. It may seem obvious, but it is essential. The tone of your writing is totally dependent on who your viewers are. Once you have identified them and defined the style you want to adopt, stick to it. 

  2. Think about all the channels you can use to reach them. Depending on your audience, you may prefer to broadcast your message on TV, blog or social media. The choice is yours but always bear in mind that some channels will be more adapted than others to target your audience.

  3. Storytelling is not only about writing. The story you tell can take the shape of a picture, a movie or a short clip. Video storytelling is an interesting format you should consider.

Using storytelling inside your
branding strategy: tHE KEY TO SUCCESS

Now that you know the difference between branding and storytelling, you may wonder how to combine them. It would be best if you included storytelling inside your branding strategy, but how?

In creating a powerful marketing plan that tells your unique story which will not only benefit your visibility but also to your credibility. Remember that storytelling is a great option to provide them with a personalized brand experience.

In the complex world we live in, stand out and build a unique and authentic relationship with your customers. At the time of automation, go back to simplicity and tell your story. Another strategy to boost your branding strategy is to call on influencers. If you want to know more about influencer marketing, read our article: 5 good reasons to use influencer marketing strategy to increase conversions

You may have other questions on that specific topic? Don't hesitate to contact our dedicated team, we'll be pleased to help you.

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