Brand Storytelling: Is Yours Corny or Creative?

Rachael Bews

Read Time: 6 minutes

Brand storytelling is a vital part of your content strategy, but there’s a fine line between corny and creative. 

Choose one too many adjectives, or a cliched turn of phrase, and you will soon go from engaging your customers to deterring them from you and your brand.

How do you know if your approach is corny or creative?

Follow our step-by-step guide to keeping your brand storytelling on track below…


Brand Storytelling Starts With Your Audience

All good marketing strategies start with a thorough understanding of your brand’s target audience. Creating brand personas can help this process. Take this one step further by inhabiting the life of your target consumer. What social media platforms do they use, who do they follow and why, how do they communicate with their friends? Use this as the foundation for your brand storytelling.

For example, if your target consumer is a woman aged 65+, you won’t want to be describing your brand history with lots of contemporary slang via TikTok. This would lessen the chances of your customer connecting with your brand story on an emotional level.

Read more: 6 Steps to Develop an Effective Brand Language

Create A Clear Tone of Voice

Once you know how your target customer communicates, you can hone your brand’s tone of voice appropriately. Ensure you address your customers in the right way – would they expect a particularly formal approach, or a more familiar message? Do they use colloquialisms or perfect business English? Are you going for a strait-laced or humorous tone of voice?

Sometimes, brand storytelling can excel when a unique tone of voice or concept is introduced. This surprises the consumer and piques their interest. Take for example the ‘Go Compare’ insurance adverts with mascot ‘Gio Compario’ or the ‘Compare the Meerkat’ concept of Compare the Market. Both these companies excel by lifting their subject matter into a more humorous sphere.

Be careful with this approach though – it can quickly slip into corny and not in a good way! Decide how far you can push your brand storytelling so it feels confident, creative and purposeful. 

Read more: Finding Your Brand’s Unique Voice

Consider How Your Brand Storytelling Will Be Delivered

Brand storytelling doesn’t just live on your ‘About Us’ page. It’s a living, breathing thing that needs to permeate all aspects of your brand, including your content pillars.

Read more: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Content Pillars

Before you write your brand story, think about where you want to connect with your customers. Can you distil a snappy line for your email signature? Will your brand story work well on your social platforms and in your marketing materials?

Knowing where you want your brand story to live ahead of writing can make sure it is fit for purpose. Challenge your brand storytelling agency to curate 500 words into 300, then into 150, 50 and finally down to a single sentence.


Don’t Overwrite

Brand storytelling is an art form. It’s what we specialise in. That being said, there are lots of pitfalls that even we have to remind ourselves of from time to time. The biggest one is overwriting or cramming in every possible adjective in the hope this will elevate your story to new heights.

Simple, concise language that is lean and clean is likely to work best. This is especially true in luxury brand copywriting. After all, if a piece of art is a luxury item, should it really need saying? Can you explain the concept of luxury without saying the word? This is an important mindset to have before any writing begins.

Read more: 7 Marketing Clichés and How to Avoid Them

Let’s say you are a cupcake business. Your brand story says, ‘We make the tastiest cupcakes around’. But shouldn’t tasty cupcakes be a given for a cupcake business? Wouldn’t all cake businesses say they have the best around?

‘Our cupcakes could put a smile on Scrooge’s face’ – imagine this instead for a Christmas email newsletter or piece of in-store marketing. It’s clear, concise and expresses meaning with personality and just a hint of wit.


Avoid Topical References

Ideally the brand story you write should be evergreen. Don’t risk dating your identity by aligning yourself with a celebrity or topical news item. Brand storytelling should rise above the day-to-day and feel more aspirational and uplifting for your customers.

Stay Genuine

Don’t try and be clever by inventing facts to pepper your brand story. Your story needs to be consistent and authentic. Instead, we suggest focusing on the ‘why’. Don’t write about what you do or how you do it, but why you do it.

Don’t Be Too Personal

If your brand is deeply rooted in your own personal experiences, make sure to communicate this without being too personal. Consider how you want your audience to feel and not what you want them to know.

Read more: How to Write Engaging Content

In the future, you can share more detailed information with your most loyal followers via a personalised email newsletter or Facebook Group. This will provide more reasons for your customers to keep coming back and won’t risk scaring off new customers just casually looking at your website or social media.


Consider Your Location

International marketing can pave the way for branding faux pas galore. A brand name or witty comment can have an entirely different (sometimes offensive) meaning in another country. There’s an important line to toe between serious and silly and authentic and outlandish.

There are serious SEO negatives associated with cramming too many languages into one web page. Simply translating your brand story into five languages won’t consider the cultural complexities of your target market. Our advice would be to boil your brand story down to some key points and work with native speakers to create original content for each target language.


Some Final Brand Storytelling Top Tips


Now’s the time to go forth and conquer your brand story. Here are a few more tips to ensure your storytelling is a success…

Your story needn’t be perfect, just make it real

Make sure your story has a purpose and direction

Remember you are writing for human beings

Don’t aim to be the best, just aim to be you

Speak to your customers’ aspirations, hopes and dreams NOT your own

Get in touch with your customers’ core values

Be relatable to avoid alienating your customer

Master your tone of voice and brand language before hitting keyboards


The William Agency is a specialist brand storytelling agency with experience in branded content production and content marketing. Speak to us today to find out more

Written By: Rachael Bews

Written By: Rachael Bews

Rachael is a social media specialist and freelance contributor to The William Agency.


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