Thoughts on Brand Storytelling in Today’s Online World
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    March 2014
Thoughts on Brand Storytelling in Today’s Online World
"Those who tell the stories rule the world.” So goes an old Native American proverb. That’s an important message for anyone trying to proselytize about their brand online—especially with the significance of visual storytelling, content creation, mobile, social, transmedia, etc.

A great brand story requires the same elements as a good novel: creativity, authenticity, emotional connection, and audience awareness. But your brand story should also inspire action. (ROI folks!)

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you perfect your brand’s online tale:

Brainstorming isn’t just for the big stuff!
We love to host good brainstorming sessions. But brainstorming isn’t only useful for big stuff like website redesigns and logo upgrades. Any initiative will benefit from a great team of thinkers who get together to focus on what’s really important: aligning message, audience, platform and content.
Project Spotlight
spotlight Check out this New Media Release from Goose Island. PWR’s new URL convention keeps the branding focus on the client, not us. (See PWR News below.) And getting assets like web and print ready images directly to the inbox of targeted journalists is a great way to grow your media pick-up.

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Those who tell
the stories rule
the world.
—Native American proverb

Whether your initiative is big or small, take a moment to ask yourself, and your team, questions about the story you’re hoping to tell. What is your key message? Who is the real audience? What action do you want your audience to take? What text, graphics, colors, and words, best tell your tale?  What content and platforms tell it best? How can you make your tale more interactive?  What content do you have access to and what platforms is the content appropriate for?

Authentic storytelling requires consistency and
attention to detail

Great brands are easy to spot at a glance. They make their stories easier to understand quickly by utilizing color, font and language consistently. They also pay attention to the details, because buttoning up the details conveys authenticity and builds better brand awareness.

Today, this means flowing your story across all platforms and devices so that it renders and functions well everywhere. Because everywhere is exactly where your audience will see it. Maximizing how your brand story appears, and works, on tablets, iPhones, Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere in between, tells a better tale.

And make sure you’re branding your own brand, not your vendor’s.

PWR News

To make sure our clients are branded more exclusively, we’re transitioning our URL practices so that the PWR name will no longer be included. It’s your story, not ours. This is just one more way we want to help you tell it well.

Now, if you're one of our PR clients, your URL will read like this:

More highly branded URLs coming soon for our evite and e-newsletter clients!

Engagement is about emotional connections
At its roots, storytelling is about creating and growing emotional connections, and it has been since the dawn of time. But now, 90% of all consumed media is screen-based.1 So, tapping into the emotions of your audience online is a must.

Know what’s always engaging? People. If your brand has a human story, tell it.

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Multimedia is also engaging. Video and image sharing online continues to grow year after year.2 Interactive elements, that allow your brand to listen and respond, also engage—marketing online today is about two-way communications.  Useful info, fun games, surprisingly creative graphics… there are loads of ways to convey emotion online to tell your brand’s story.

But remember, pure sales messages are not engaging. And neither is jargon and corporate speak. (This “grandmother test” may help you spot yours.)

Repurpose, reuse, reshare
One of the challenges we hear most often from clients, is that they don’t have the time or resources to create content. But when we brainstorm with these same clients, we often discover that content is all around them. 

Sometimes, it¹s a simple matter of adapting content the guy in the next cubical created for some total different purpose. He wrote tips for new members and she¹s in charge of the e-newsletter? Sounds like something that can be tweaked and made relevant for that audience as well. So make sure your organizational silos aren't stopping you from telling your brand story. And don't forget to make all content platform appropriate. What works on Facebook isn't necessarily right for your homepage, so tweak before you share.

...and they lived happily ever after!
We’re all hardwired to tell, and enjoy, stories and people have no doubt been using stories to sell things since the beginning of, well, the human story itself.  Brands are taking this to the next step, adding journalists to their marketing team3 and embracing true storytelling.4 If you want to chat about how we can help you tell your story, just reach out. We're always happy to jump into a new narrative.

Content Tip Experts say...
If you’re lacking visual content for your webpage or email, consider making key quotes more visually interesting and interactive using design elements and share functionality, such as “tweet this” buttons.
Design Tip Background check
Background images are great to add to your email when it helps with branding. But not all email browsers render backgrounds, so make sure you assign an alternative color and it will look nice for those folks too!
Delivery Tip Testy, testy, testy
Trying out different send times, subject lines, and even lead content can help you better understand what is, and isn’t, working with your audience. Try some A/B split testing with your next email campaign and see what you learn.
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