What’s Your Story? How Narrative Drives Community Engagement and Brand Awareness

Posted by Kenny S. on Dec 15, 2016 8:00:20 AM

2 minute read

The other day, my brother and I took our families to a holiday event at a local amusement park. At one point, we found ourselves lined up on benches while our kids surrounded this lovely old woman in a cozy red parka with white cotton trim.

I steadily sipped my hot coffee and watched as the children sat and listened to Mrs. Claus regale them with story after story about reindeer, elves, and presents. It was delightful.

Capturing Your Market's Attention

Whether you're four years old or forty, everybody loves a good story. There’s just something inside of us that can't help but lose itself in a gripping narrative—to experience its twists and turns and to sigh with relief as it reaches its final denouement.

In a previous post, I mentioned Maersk Line as the perfect example of a company who encourages their community members to generate their own incredible content. Maersk's content often invites shiploads of attention precisely because it tells a compelling story. Every picture or video provides another gripping element in the global narrative Maersk is crafting.

Connecting Through Common Narrative

Human beings aren't just story-hearers. We're also storytellers. Stories are what bind us together in community. Americans unite around common stories of Pilgrims, Revolutionaries, and freedom. Chicago Cubs fans rally around a 108-year long story of heartbreak and disappointment finally put to rest in one moment of incredible bliss.

The beauty of Maersk’s approach is that the stories they invite often don’t focus on the company at all. Instead, they spotlight the things that bind their constituents together like life at sea or the how the growing global market they've helped to create is benefiting local producers.

Spreading a Message

How does a first-century Jewish man start a movement that would one day count 2.2 billion people amongst its members? How does a once obscure company named Apple go from an idea in a garage to one of the most wildly successful technology companies ever to exist? How does a shipping transportation company come to dominate their industry?

Their secret is simple—each has a story worth spreading. Whether stories of love, or technological wonder, or global interconnectedness, each of these narratives have spawned a worldwide community of loyal fans, friends, and advocates ready to spread the good news about what their community has to offer.

Putting it all Together

How do you create a storied community to help sell your products or services? First, you grab people's hearts and minds with the unique story your brand has to tell. Then, you empower them to tell their own stories as they fit within that broader narrative. Finally, you enable them to share that story with everyone they know.

What stories are you telling? Do they connect your customers to one another? Are they worth spreading? If not, then its never too late to reconnect with the stories that have shaped your life and business. Hit that storyboard and start coming up with ideas.

Soon, you’ll have your own circle of starry-eyed little ones gathered to hear the wonderful story you have to tell.

Topics: Community, Marketing, News

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