Stories have been in this world for a long, long time. Ever since the first human beings started to communicate with another, the art of storytelling was formed. Knowing exactly when it started is a myth… until of course we (finally!) develop the first ever time machine and travel back in time to figure it out. While waiting for the future, we’ll help you find your way through the tales of employer branding with storytelling.
What’s your story?
First of all: What story do you want to tell? Finding your personal or branded story is harder than it seems. It will take a bit of digging, before you get to the actual core. Reflection is key, so we recommend you take a look at your brand and analyse it until there’s nothing left to analyse. Use brand identity models (Hofstede, Kapferer or Keller for example) to get a grip on your analysis. Guidelines are essential, because trust us, you might get lost along the way. If all goes well, you’ve followed the steps and got to the end, DON’T STOP THERE!
We repeat: do not stop right there. You’ll only have an internal perspective, so you have to gather different point of views. Both professional and personal opinions will help develop your story and brand identity even more.
Right. If you’ve found your story and explored it with the models we described in the above paragraph, you’re ready for the next step. Having an interesting story or brand identity is not enough. Sure, with the help of both a brand identity model as well as different external opinions, you’ve concluded a main brand story. The next step is to make a proper story out of it. All good stories have a head-middle-tail structure. So, we stick with the old Greek, and do exactly the same. Besides the “head-to-mid-to-tail”, the almighty Aristotle also used three key features that make up a perfect story:
We totally understand that you’re not fluently speaking Greek, so let’s translate that: credibility, psychology and reasonability. We’ll advise you to keep these three key features in mind, whilst restructuring your brand story.
The introduction of characters within your story can really take your brand to the next level. However, doing so (in the right way) can be difficult. Some characters will forever have a certain image attached to them. You literally can not think of the brand without thinking of the character. These examples have deeper values than just being a pretty face. Just sticking a face on a product will therefore not work. To create an engaging communication with your audience, an emotional human aspect should be added.
An excellent example of a successful character of a brand is Mickey Mouse.
The Disney tune immediately started to play in your head, didn’t it? Walt Disney himself created this creature in 1928 and it has been a success ever since.
M&Ms really took humanizing features to a new level. The coloured characters all have different emotions that stand out. Yellow for example is shy and always positive, whilst Orange is always stressed and looking over his shoulder. Red, for that matter, has no fear and is confident no matter what. See, we can even learn something from them!
You’ve developed your story, from head to tail, including characters with emotions. Cool. Nice job. Does it stop here? Of course not. This is where so many companies screw up. They’ve put up this lovely story and then just leave it there. NO! You have to tell the world! After all, this is the story that will set your brand apart. You should treat your story like a marketing campaign. Discover where and how you want to share your story and develop the right content for the right channels. You could also encourage interaction with your audience, by using a puzzle, prize or question.
Update, update, update!
Do us a favour and evaluate your story every now and then. Aspects such as major changes within the company might change your brand story. So keep it up-to-date! Here’s another golden tip: Use your story to attract talented candidates by including current candidates. Updating your story with your current team is essential, so why not let them play a part in your story? By doing this you are keeping your brand up to date and relevant. Potential candidates will see this, and will want to become a part of your brand.
There you have it: five steps to create an engaging story. By the way: do you realise you’ve been a part of this story? Whilst reading this article and gaining new knowledge, you’ve become a part of our story. So, welcome to the family and please: spread the story-love!