How can ‘boring’ brands leverage storytelling?

Do you work in a professional industry like compliance, legal or finance? The stuff that’s deemed a bit… boring? In industries like this, you’re used to acting a certain way to please certain people.  

But things are changing, and people are demanding more authenticity from brands now – EVEN the professional ones. We’re not talking about making TikTok’s or sharing makeup-less selfies.  

This is about storytelling, and getting to the heart of who you are as a business, to attract and convert a wider pool of people.  

Find out how by reading on 👇 

What is storytelling?

Rachel was a digital marketer for a household name in insurance. They had yet another restructure and Rachel was made redundant in March 2022. She updated her CV and was proactive in looking for a new job. She didn’t expect to find a job that quickly so made a long list of things to do around the house that had been put off for months. Rachel started in her new role just five weeks later. None of the list got completed. 

This is storytelling. It’s using stories to engage an audience in an authentic way. Authenticity seems like a bit of a buzzword, but people are sick of the bulls**t. There are only so many companies that can be world leading, surely?  

Yes – we get it – the idea of being authentic as a brand can be scary. You might be worried that it’ll put people off. But do you know what? That’s fine. Let them choose a competitor. You weren’t suited to working with each other anyway. Showing your true brand colours is kind of like a qualification process for leads. Sure, you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who do like you, you’re their favourite brew.  

Four elements make up a story. You need: 

  1. Character 
  2. Problem 
  3. Action 
  4. Solution 

In the story above, the character is Rachel, the problem is being made redundant, the action is looking for a new job, the solution is applying for lots of jobs and finding one. 

Why use storytelling in marketing?

There are tonnes of benefits of storytelling in marketing. Firstly, storytelling helps you to get your message across in a memorable way. You want to inspire people to act with a story that triggers an emotional response in them.  

Of course, eventually, the action you want people to take is to buy your products! But first you want to reel them into your brand and build trust. It’s all about focussing on the solution – the outcome – rather than on your product. It just so happens that the solution is your product. 🤫 

And it comes across as authentic. Yes, that darned A-word again! People prefer to buy from people. They want to feel something when buying a product. Look at the popularity of all the ads on Instagram with products going viral because of the seemingly authentic videos of customers loving their purchases. They’re probably all staged but people are buying those products because it looks like other people love them. We’re all sheep really! Baaa! 

Storytelling is also good for SEO. That’s a nice tick in the box for digital marketers right there. Google’s algorithm prefers pages that people like to spend time on. By having engaging content on your page, whether it’s text, a video or however else you want to present your story, people will linger for longer and that gives positive signals to Google.  

How to find the story in your “boring” brand

Rather than wracking your brains trying to find something you might perceive to be “interesting”, start with a real-life example. Like a customer who had a pain point that you resolved with a product. Customer testimonials work well for B2B storytelling, and like those flipping Insta ads, they can convince others with the same pain point to buy your product.  

If you haven’t got a real-life customer you can use, create an example story using a persona. The aim is to make is personal and relatable. Going forward it’s more authentic for brand storytelling (here we go again 🙄) if you use real examples. So, see if you can start collecting user stories and testimonials. And if your customers will go on camera, even better!  

If you collect customer reviews in any way, if there’s a good story there, contact your customer and ask if they’d be happy to be interviewed. You can then create multiple pieces of content from this and use it across various channels – blog, video, social media, email, etc. 

People are also interested in learning about how brands and companies came about. Tell the story of the business’ founder. From adversity to triumph!

Simon worked from the kitchen table, living off beans on toast for a year before he worked out the brand’s niche and discovered the best way to attract leads. Soon he was talking at events, hiring a team, and growing the business. The business has now been around for 5 years, and Simon has just won entrepreneur of the year at a local business awards event.

No brand is boring!

Even the driest of topics has a people element. You can always find stories when there are people involved and people need to be at the heart of your brand storytelling strategy.  

If you think your products could be more interesting, focus on those solutions. What pain points are you solving and how does that make people feel? A ratchet strap is just a ratchet strap but when it holds down furniture in a van it enables the removals company to help people move to their dream home.  

One of the main things to remember is that content marketing – which is the umbrella that storytelling usually falls under – is a long game. You’re not going to see overnight success but it’s worth it because you’ll build trust and credibility. Then when people are ready to buy, your brand will come to mind. 

Want engaging content?

Get in touch to find out how RedSprout can create engaging content for your B2B brand.  


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