The power of brand storytelling

Highlights

Emotional storytelling helps connect your potential customers or clients to your business. It’s a valuable marketing tool, for B2B and B2C communications
Emotional branding needs to hone in on one emotion that it wishes to evoke in your audience and align with your brand values to ensure that it is authentic and effective.
Artlist’s extensive collection of music, sound effects, and stock footage can assist you in easily and cost-effectively creating impactful brand storytelling campaigns.
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It’s easy to think of branding as a company’s logo, color palette, strapline, and font. But branding is far more than these visual cues. A company’s brand envelopes its entire identity: its aims, values, and how it conducts itself. For this reason, knowing how to conduct emotional or brand storytelling is vital to a company’s success. It’s a building block in a brand and customer relationship.

Imagine that you are in the market for a new car. You have a choice of two vehicles. One is presented to you as a photo with a list of specifications and a price. Another is presented to you in a well-produced video with uplifting music that details how much you will enjoy driving the car and how its build and performance are best-in-class for the environment, safety, and value for money. Which option are you most likely to choose? The one to which you form a connection through storytelling or the one that’s functional? The chances are high that it’s the one where you have the opportunity to relate to the product’s and brand’s story. That’s the value of emotional storytelling when it comes to marketing.

So that you can make the most of emotional storytelling, we’re going to explore what it is, why you should integrate it into your work, and how to do that, even when you’re selling to other businesses.

Emotional storytelling in B2B marketing

It might feel unnecessary or even unprofessional to engage in emotional storytelling when you’re undertaking B2B marketing. This is one business selling to another business, right? This means it should be about value-driven, rational decisions, yes? Well, yes, but also no. Even when businesses deal with other businesses, it’s still people interacting with people. And people respond emotionally even in the most robust of corporate situations. 

Research by b2bmarketing.net suggests that 50% of purchasers would buy from a brand to which they felt an emotional connection without comparing prices. While the rational element clearly strongly influences the decision-making process, so does the emotional, which makes engaging with it in your marketing worthwhile. 

There are four primary reasons to use emotional storytelling in your B2B marketing, all of which are elements that differentiate you from your competitors. 

1. Brand storytelling builds trust and offers authenticity

Establishing a brand narrative that opens up the story behind your business and what it stands for helps build trust and credibility with your audience. They feel that they know and understand your company, and in particular, if you share common values–for example, environmental sustainability and equality of opportunity–they can relate to you and are more likely to want to support your business. Customers who perceive your company as trustworthy will be more likely to buy from you and return to your company. 

The issue of trust and alignment of values applies just as much to retail customers as to commercial ones. When you’re selling to another business, it too needs to believe in you, and if its corporate values are those shared with your business, then it pays to highlight this.

2. Brand storytelling reinforces how your product is a ‘painkiller’

The best products are ‘painkillers’, not ‘vitamins’. They solve real problems for their users rather than be nice-to-have extras. Through emotional storytelling, you can demonstrate that you understand your customer’s pain points and provide them with a real solution. You can show this through customer testimonials or case studies made into stories. In story-telling terms, it gives you a ready-made narrative arc with building tension and release. 

3. Emotional storytelling makes you memorable 

A dull, spec-driven marketing campaign is unlikely to stick in the minds of your potential customers or clients. But if you engage their ears and eyes with a soundtrack that resonates with them and your company and compelling visuals, they are more likely to remember you. Furthermore, if they relate to the overall story positively, then it places your company in a superior position to win their business. 

4. Brand storytelling demonstrates empathy with your customers

Whether it’s an individual retail transaction or a large corporate contract, demonstrating your empathy for your customers or clients is essential. They need to be assured that you understand their needs and challenges as well as what’s important to them, and in doing so, they can trust you to deliver what they need. If a potential customer believes that they are important to you and that you are both on the same page, then it gives them more reason to want to do business with you. With respect to telling a story, if you can unfold a narrative that conveys how you resonate with your customers or clients, it helps you establish your relationship with them.

How to make an emotional video

When you are aiming to create content that builds on emotional storytelling, you need to remain clear-sighted about the aims and objectives of your content and how you will communicate it.

What’s the emotion?

Begin by identifying the emotional trigger that you are aiming at your audience to encourage them to do business with you. It might be relief, or positivity, or preparedness. It must be laser-focused on your target market.

Who are the characters?

Good emotional storytelling involves relatable characters for your audience. The audience, in some way, needs to connect with the protagonists. Perhaps it’s because they recognize themselves in them, or they care about them. 

Where is the story going?

A successful story involves some form of problem or conflict and a resolution at its climax. You can build this arc through various narrative structures when it comes to brand storytelling. You might, for example, tell your brand’s founder story or use a customer testimonial to demonstrate how your product makes a tangible difference in people’s lives.

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Brand storytelling examples

Here at Artlist, we have some terrific examples of brand storytelling that make use of Artlist’s music library and footage archive. Why not take a look for some inspiration?

DJI’s See the Bigger Picture, which features Tristan Barton’sRevelations’ available on Artlist, promotes feelings of freedom and possibility.

Oliver Michael’s ‘Pura Alegria’ provides the inspirational soundtrack to NFL Luke Wilson’s returns to his high school by Hungry Boy Productions.

How Artlist can help 

If you’re looking to create content that uses emotional storytelling, Artlist has an extensive collection of assets that you can use to help you. You can search for music by mood, for example, powerful, playful, or peaceful. Or if you’re looking for a specific type of music, maybe folk or perhaps indie rock, you can search by genre, too.

Artlist’s footage library can also be used to add clips to your content that might be too expensive or too complicated to shoot yourself. Examples of this include stock footage filmed in foreign countries or environments you cannot afford to visit (read our interview to underwater diver Alfredo Barroso) either in terms of time or money, time-lapses that are time-consuming to produce, or maybe content that features subjects you’re unable to manage, perhaps a litter of puppies. 

Best practices for emotional storytelling

Should you decide to try emotional storytelling for B2B marketing, there are some best practices to which you should adhere. They will ensure you make the most out of the process and retain your professionalism.

First, keep the message clear. The aim of your story and your preferred audience should be nailed down in the planning stage. Next, make sure that you use real stories. They are more relatable and chime with the authenticity that emotional storytelling is there to promote. For the same reason, it’s also important to ensure that whatever story you tell aligns with your brand values. This is, after all, a part of your branding and is representative of your company. It needs to reflect who you are and what you stand for. And you mustn’t lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish through emotional storytelling and the problem you’re solving for your customer.

There should be a call-to-action at some point in your content, and last of all, don’t forget to monitor the efficacy of your emotional storytelling and refine it throughout your campaigns. It’s an ongoing process.

Wrapping up

Emotional storytelling can be vital to your marketing strategy, whether your clients or customers are small independent stores or multi-national corporations. Remember to establish who your audience is and what you’re trying to communicate to them, and then be sure to make use of all the content and assets that Artlist has to offer to make your emotional storytelling on-point.

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Daniela is a writer and editor based in the UK. Since 2010 she has focused on the photography sector. In this time, she has written three books and contributed to many more, served as the editor for two websites, written thousands of articles for numerous publications, both in print and online and runs the Photocritic Photography School.

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