“Core storytelling is important to allow people to understand what’s your story, what you are about, what your business personality is and allows them to understand the overall values that you have as a business entity.”
When we read articles content online, we love stories. Stories are human, realistic and they tend to evoke feelings in our mind. This is true whether you’re a digital marketing guru or just a random person looking for articles on the internet.
When applied to businesses, the idea of core storytelling becomes an essential piece that creates a humanity that is typically lacking in many businesses small or big.
What is a Core Story?
When talking about a core story, we’re talking about how you show to people the “spirit” around the business. Have you ever wondered what branding truly means? Let’s get a nice and simple quote from one of the top movers in the world – news magnate Rupert Murdoch. In 1997 during a speech he gave to ABC News, the broadcasting mogul said this:
“For better or for worse, our company is a reflection of my thinking, my character, my values.”
What does this mean for you? The truth is that the work that you put into your branding is actually work that goes towards your company’s reputation and history. You’re building the legacy that you want your business to leave in the minds of your potential audience, creating a trust relationship with them.
As you work out how your brand pans out, you’re trailblazing a path to your history – and to the story of your business. Through a strong brand history, you can derive a beautiful core story that talks about who you really are as a business.
The Important Elements of Core Storytelling
There’s a few elements to creating a core story for your brand. These are the origin, the conflict and the climax. Do these seem familiar? They’re the basic elements of crafting stories. Any good story will at least have any of these – and yours is no different.
Marketing Your Business Origin
If you haven’t been living in a rock the past decade, superhero movies and origin stories have become the bread and butter of successful movies.
Even today, we’re treated to the origin story of the Black Panther – an originally B-level Marvel superhero who is currently hitting the home run in the box office. The great storytelling that the character is given in the movie created a strong impression on the patrons; this is what you want.
The marketing of your origin should encapsulate everything that you are as a business – values, ethics, personality, how you started etc. Tell them how you started the business. What were your frustrations? What were your motivations? What compelled you to go into your niche and help them?
Having a strong origin narrative creates a brand that people can relate to and marketed as something your lay audience can achieve by following behind you.
My favourite example for brand origin stories is Tesla’s history. See, Elon Musk was not always the head honcho of the electric car company. It was founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003 following their frustration with GM’s forced recall of their electric cars.
This relates to customers because they have the same volitions, same frustrations and similar stories of annoyances. Origin stories talk to people in a certain way, giving them a view into how you got started.
Connecting Through Your Business Conflict Story
The conflict is something that we’ve always loved as readers and something that you should utilise as a business when talking about your core story. Business conflict stories are not as dramatic as they should, but still distil the essence of your values as a small business or as a corporate giant.
What do you stand for? What do you stand against? The conflict comes not from how many you are in argument with but what lines do you draw in the proverbial sound. Why is this important? People love rallying cries. People love it when businesses are behind humanistic ideals and social justice from all spectrums. This connection to your audience creates a loyal following.
One of the prime examples for this is Bunnings. Bunnings is one of the most influential and trusted brands in Australia and if there’s one thing about them that strikes out, it’s their obvious allergy to going fully online and creating e-commerce-reliant marketing like how Amazon does it.
Their apparent trust in the brick and mortar business model and adamant, stubborn nature is their conflict story. It inspires people to see this institution to keep thriving amidst global and technological challenges. Like any Australian, they’re not leaving without a fight and this kind of branding principle speaks to people.
How Climax Ties Up Your Brand Stories
The last element of a core story that wraps the value of this technique in a nice, rigid bow tie is the idea of climax. This does not exactly mean the end of your story, but rather a look into where your brand is headed.
Consumers love direction. They love to aspire to their favourite brands’ future plans for itself its vision. Nobody wants your generic company vision. It’s boring, it’s clinical and it’s plain uninspired. The corporate vision that people are looking for are much more complex.
Your audience should see an end-goal. Where are you going? How are you pursuing it? Why do you want it? It’s there to inspire loyalty and action – that when they’re with your brand, they are assured of progress and a lasting values relationship with you and your products.
Let’s go back to Elon Musk and this time, let’s focus on his other company, Space X. What’s the future for Space X? They just blasted their Falcon Heavy rocket to space (together with that sweet, sweet Tesla Roadster) but why do people care so much for a brand whose primary product (rockets) they might never be able to afford in their lifetimes?
That’s because it’s giving people confidence of a bright future. Whether it’s here on Earth or in Mars by 2030, the promise of Space X to bring humanity in its next stage excites people. It talks to their overall optimism in life, the possibility of a great future ahead and with Space X paving the way for it.
This level of business marketing creates a core story that people love, people look up to and people are interested of. It inspires brand loyalty and an assurance that everything is going to be fine as long as you support the business… and it shows in anything that the tech magnate Elon Musk touches. This is also the reason he is one gigantic cog in their marketing. The core story of the companies he head are intertwined with an inspired human story behind the remarkable achievements of the business.
What Should be the Point of Your Core Story
The point of creating a core story is not simply to have it there. No. By letting your business have its own history – a past, a present and a future, you are marketing your business as something alive, growing and with a strong personality.
By humanising your business, you’re taking yourself away from the “they only want my money” narrative of marketing to “they inspire me to do great” kind of reputation. There’s nothing more unappealing to audiences than a business that is lifeless… faceless. Core storytelling fosters trust and loyalty – two things that you want if you want your business to grow.