Stories are powerful. From sharing stories around the campfire to writing fictional novels, storytelling has connected people together for thousands of years.
But, have you ever considered storytelling to be a powerful marketing method? Your company has a story to share as well. By building a solid brand narrative, customers will instantly feel connected and eager to learn more about the products or services you offer.
One way to tell a story is through promotional products. By developing clever ways to share your brand’s story, customers will experience a deeper connection to your purpose. A thought-out story will also show the TLC you put into creating a business model that is cohesive and intentional.
Whether you’re involved in the financial industry or own a pet-grooming business, a smart way to showcase your brand is through consistent product campaigns. Take the above example – this moving company put together a moving day essential kit for busy, stressed-out customers. Moving into a new home is no easy feat, however, this kit – featuring a stainless-steel water bottle, backpack, notebook, measuring tape, blanket, and bottle opener (for that hard-earned beer) – is a thoughtful gift for any customer trying to survive moving day.
A Turn of Events: How Advertising Has Shifted
As a promotional product consultant, it’s our job to help businesses develop a purposeful marketing campaign with promotional products. Think of it as you are the author of your story, and we are the editors, coming up with innovative ways to tell your brand’s narrative through promotional products and other marketing tactics.
In recent years, advertising has seen a shift – brands are sharing their story with consumers, rather than pushing countless advertisements down their throats. People want to relate to your brand’s story and feel like it is approachable, not have a sales rep regurgitate elevator pitches over and over again.
The best way to develop a cohesive, approachable brand is to consider your brand’s color palette, logo design, and the promo items that reflect the services you offer. What pain points do you address? How can you make a customer’s experiences even better?
For example, a boutique hotel can give guests branded gift baskets personalized with local treats, bathrobes, bath bombs and facial masks, and a bottle of wine – all with the hotel’s logo on it. Not only is this a great story post for Instagram, but customers will always remember this kind gesture and share the hotel’s booking information with family and friends. Now, that’s a story to tell.
Successful Brand Narratives That Made an Impact
Differentiating yourself from your competitors begins with a unique story. If you sell bottled water, how will customers understand the difference between you and competitors if there is zero substance that makes you stand out?
There are many examples of companies that have found a unique way to stand out through storytelling:
One company that has mastered this is Airbnb, an online marketplace for arranging or offering lodging (typically within a person’s home) or tourism experiences all over the world. And, instead of sharing the company story, Airbnb encourages customers to share their experiences via social media and on the website. When customers share their experiences of ziplining in Costa Rica or taking in the breathtaking views at the top of the Eiffel Tower, Airbnb is able to paint vivid pictures and cause wanderlust among viewers.
Then, there’s Mailchimp, a marketing automation platform and an email marketing service. Since its inception, Mailchimp has been delighting customers with silly, yet memorable merch. They’ve sent customers plush toy monkeys, knit caps for cats, and even wrestling championship belts.
“Thinking about them as gifts changes our perspective, too. If we considered them primarily marketing expenses, we'd want to figure out how to minimize cost and maximize the brand effect—essentially, we'd be thinking about ourselves,” explained Mark DiCristina, Head of Brand and Mailchimp Studios. “As gifts, we think first about the recipients and about how they'll feel when they receive the gifts. So, we go over the top to make people feel special."
If these two brands can do it, so can you! By creating a process and really focusing on your brand’s unique story, not only will you see your business grow, but you’ll also get to witness the power of narration and the significance it plays within a business strategy.