This masterclass recap is thanks to our friends at Xero
Anita Siek started her copywriting business Wordfetti as a side gig with $250.
Did that grab your attention?
We thought so, and you can thank the power of storytelling.
Stories are one of the oldest tools used in communication. Human brains respond to words, language and the descriptive power of stories. When we tell stories, cortisol, dopamine and oxytocin are released from our brains. When these chemicals, associated with empathy, memories and emotional responses, are release, we find ourselves drawn in to learn more.
In our recent Masterclass Online, we were joined by Anita Siek, an ex-lawyer turned brand strategist and copywriter. Anita is the founder of Wordfetti, a human-centred brand strategy and copywriting studio that specialises in helping brands stand out and connect to consumers through the power of words. During her session, she shared a series of practical tips to help build an engaging and unique brand story and drive success for your business.
Why you need a brand story
The two-way process of storytelling and listening creates empathy on an emotional and physical level. It also has the power to increase perceived value through emotion – consider, for instance, the perceived value of the Omega watch thanks to the James Bond movie franchise.
Storytelling is the one thing that cannot be easily copied. While it’s easy to mimic colour palettes, features and benefits and websites, you can’t replicate someone’s story. It’s yours alone, and how you tell that story is your brand’s biggest monopoly.
The five characteristics to a strong brand story
- A clear purpose: Consider this the mission statement to your brand story. Do you want to build connections with your audience, or perhaps convey thought leadership?
- Tension: Used to trigger emotions, senses and invite curiosity in the reader. Consider how you want your audience to feel when reading your story.
- Short and sweet: Clarity trumps cleverness, so follow the formula of problem, solution, and transformation.
- Human-centred: Spoken in the brand voice, your story should feel conversational and be personality-driven. Consider sharing your lived experiences, personal beliefs and values or personal challenges.
- Relatable: Your story should be something your audience feels connected to, either through the pain points of the story, or a likeness to their own journey or personal beliefs.
Three story angles that work for any business
- Value + belief story: What is something that you deeply believe about your business? Why is this important to you? Consumers today relate to a brand story that aligns with their own personal values. Consider the success of brands like Thankyou that rely on value and belief-based storytelling.
- Founder story: The purpose of a founder story is to build trust, connection and relatability, and convey to your audience why you are the one who is uniquely suited to solve their problem. You could use the “Ah-ha moment!” angle, the moment you were able to identify how to fill a gap in the market (consider the story of TOMs) or the origin story about what led you to launching a business. Is your business solving a problem you had faced yourself? Your desire to do things differently? Or was the business born out of passion?
- Client story: Testimonials allow your audience to see themselves in the shoes of your happy clients. You could share the story of your first client, the transformation client or the time you overcame a client’s challenge.
Storytelling tips from a copywriting expert
- Tap into the three factors of a conversion-driven story.
-Attention (the hook, the “of course I want to know more!” moment)
-Connection (built through pulling out elements of relatability, or identifying pain points)
- Consider what Anita called ‘the water-cooler effect’. Drop your audience in the middle of the scene where the drama is happening. Use sensory language to create a vivid picture in their minds (films and television shows do this beautifully.)
- Know your audience and your brand’s voice. When you know your audience, you can work backwards to meet their needs. If you are able to pinpoint the internal and external pain points for your audience, you can solve for this in your writing.
- Weave storytelling into your entire client journey for it to truly stick. Consider your testimonials, emails, website and social media as opportunities for storytelling.
And remember the wise words of Dale Carnegie , author of How to Win Friends and Influence People,“when dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.”
Download Xero’s free Stronger and smarter: a small business handbook for a practical guide made up of expert tips to keep your business moving during COVID-19 and into the future. For more guidance, you can check out the resources hub on our website.