NCET explores business and technology
By Mikalee Byerman
Every evening as I prepare my toddler for bed, I’m reminded of the essentials of good brand marketing.
And no, I’m not talking about the fact that she already exhibits mad IPhone skills and deftly scours my dozens of apps in search of “Mr. Balls” (which just happens to be her name for Talking Tom. Don’t ask.)
Instead, this occurs during the tech-free, rudimentary bedtime routine that begins with four simple words: “Once upon a time.”
Perhaps no words in the history of language open the imagination as much as these. They prepare you for a story to unfold, a narrative arc with heroes and villains, conflict and resolution, character and literary devices.
“Once upon a time” is the classic beginning of any story. And as it turns out, a story is the classic beginning of any good marketing message.
As humans, we are wired for the circular nature of storytelling. We crave it. We are taught it as toddlers and continue to seek it out throughout our adult lives.
Thus, storytelling is the secret to a powerful brand message. Here are a few literary-inspired ideas to use in your brand marketing:
- Put the “you” in unique: One of the first steps you’ll undertake is identifying exactly which story to tell. What makes your company/brand different? How are you unique among your competitors? What part of your story, your brand, your voice, your history, your mission, your core values is different? Take inventory, identify the strongest aspect with the most compelling story, then begin to craft the narrative.
- Identify character(s): No story is complete without characters, and in this case, those characters don’t necessarily have to be people. Your products can be characters; your brand elements — like a logo — can even be a character. Just remember to tie human, relatable characteristics to your brand story for maximum effectiveness.
- Find your voice: “Voice” equals “tone.” Voice tells the audience how to feel, who you are, how you identify yourself. Do you use humor? Are you sassy? Snarky? Professional? Nerdy? Quirky? Determine the tone, then make sure marketing messages are consistent with that overarching voice.
- Be authentic: The most powerful marketing stories are the ones that originate organically, aren’t forced, and truly reflect the brand. Make sure you’re not trying to make your brand fit the story; instead, the story must fit the brand.
Of course, these tips are only the beginning. For more inspiration, join me at the upcoming Tech Bite luncheon on June 22 at the Atlantis.
Or find a toddler and a good Dr. Seuss book. That works, too.
Learn specific techniques about brand storytelling at NCET’s Tech Bite luncheon on June 22. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces networking events to help individuals and businesses explore and use technology. Register for the event and get more info at NCET.org.
Mikalee Byerman is Director of Audience Engagement with Estipona Group and is a successful freelance writer, with bylines featured in Ladies’ Home Journal, Huffington Post, Southwest Spirit and numerous other publications. This column first appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal.