Nowadays, it's becoming more and more difficult for e-commerce brands to stand out from the crowd.
So, what's the solution?
Many businesses are now spending time investing in their brand “story”: a chance to convey your brand origin, identity, values and aspirations all at once. Effective brand storytelling has been known to have a strong impact on conversion rates, particularly in the e-commerce industry. When it comes to your website, functionality is at the forefront of any developer’s mind. With so many considerations - fast page loading speed, product display, easy checkout, promotions, and inventory - businesses are overlooking the art of brand storytelling.
Why is brand storytelling so important?
It might seem like more of a finishing touch, but conveying the story behind your brand to potential customers could in fact help your business to stand out from competitors. The reason brand storytelling is so effective relates to the mirror neurons in our brains. These neurons activate the sensory and motor neurons, thus our response to stories is more active and participatory. In practice, when a customer hears, reads about or experiences brand storytelling; the information is experienced more actively. Consequently, a brand with a story is more likely to stick, as they are more memorable. Whilst a browser may not always buy from your website the first time around, communicating your brand story is more likely to engage the customer, increasing the chance of them revisiting your site. When used correctly, a brand story can contribute to an increase in conversion rates.
How and why to build a brand story
1. Who is your audience?
The first step involved in brand storytelling is defining who it is you aim to convince. Or, more simply put: who is your audience? You’re trying to provoke an emotional response from your website visitors, which is no small feat. Those business owners who listen carefully to customers’ needs, motivations and aspirations communicate their brand story most effectively. Successful brand storytellers demonstrate their understanding of the problem a customer is facing, and how their product or service can solve it. Once established, it’s time to align your customers' drives with your brand storytelling. This is the most straightforward way to ignite an emotional tie that links your product to a customer’s life.
2. Strengthen your brand
Brand storytelling is your business’ attempt to captivate the attention of a potential customer. Most of us will have felt attached to a brand’s story at one point or another, giving the brand that competitive edge. Brand storytelling is a method of connecting with individuals on a subconscious level - it’s an opportunity to relate your product or service to real life. If your brand is recognised as having a memorable story, culture or value, you’re handing over an incentive for the customer to be loyal to your brand.
Brand storytelling should be a complex and multi-dimensional part of your brand’s identity. Yet, far too often businesses sabotage their brand stories using the same information in the same form over and over again. The trick to storytelling is to convey your brand-story through a variety of approaches, including graphics, video, text, and imagery. Your website is the perfect place to conceive your brand story. Below is a list of suitable contact points to feature your brand story:
Many e-commerce home pages follow the regular display template, featuring selected products and promoting any discounts or active deals. A brand storyteller introduces their website by including visuals of “where it all began”, or a feature film which considers the unique quality of the materials you use, or the skilled technicians who make your products.
Crowdfunding campaigns rely almost entirely on the art of brand storytelling, so they’re a great place to seek inspiration. On websites such as Kickstarter, Crowdcube and Crowdfunder, business owners exceed their target fundraising targets by sharing the story behind their business and igniting some emotion in individuals. Some of the most successful crowd funded projects, such as Pebble Time and The Coolest Cooler, told stories that captivated individuals to the point that they parted with their cash. If your company has just run a successful crowdfunding campaign, celebrate by sharing your feature video on your homepage. This ensures visitors engage with your brand story as soon as they visit your site. Moving forward, adapt your brand story to convey your aspirations and what you’ve achieved thus far.
Your “About” page
It’s common to feature more of your brand story information on the “About” page of your website. Many “About” pages nowadays are devoted to storytelling and providing a narrative: who the founders are, what sparked the idea, what makes a product unique, the materials used, and even production methods. These questions should closely relate to your Unique Selling Proposition. Define what distinguishes your business from others, and convey this in order to ignite sales.
Social Media & Email Marketing
Supplementing brand storytelling on your website with authentic, relatable content throughout your social media content and email marketing gives your brand a better chance at being memorable. Make sure that you are consistently communicating with your audience to enrich their experience of your brand story. Ensure your content is varied across different platforms and beware of overkill! You should aim to establish a deeper connection with your customers: some of the most memorable brands use stories that are unrelated to the product itself. In fact, some of the most convincing brand stories stem from emotions rather than the use and practicality of a product.
3 examples of impressive brands, with equally impressive stories
1. TOMS Shoes
Blake Mycoskie founded the inspiring footwear company in 2006, after volunteering on a shoe drive in Argentina. Whilst TOMS shoes may seem rather ordinary, it’s their brand story that makes them stand out from the crowd. For each and every pair of shoes sold, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to someone in need. Through this idea, they have also generated the hashtag #oneforone. TOMS ensure that their website visitors are aware of their good deeds and brand origin by infiltrating the different contact points on their website with their brand story.
Visitors are greeted on the Harry’s homepage with the simple, albeit powerful line: “The shaving company that's fixing shaving”, which sets the tone for the rest of the e-commerce site. Their “About” page is very well executed, and an excellent example of brand storytelling, including several categories with information about where it all began, their factory, and their purpose: their ”giving back” scheme. The copy is factual, continually reminding browsers that Harry’s solves a problem: an effective, well-designed, reasonably priced razor manufactured in Germany.
3. Warby Parker
Warby Parker has become an online glasses giant by conveying their strong, moral slogan: “good eyewear, good outcome”. Warby Parker give away millions of pairs of glasses to people in need, and their projects are well documented. The “About” section of their site also describes the company’s culture and includes in-depth information regarding their sustainable production methods. The eyewear business puts forth engaging content that resonates with the increasing “socially-conscious” consumer, and has had a huge impact on conversion rates.
Let us help you tell your story
For more help conveying your brand identity and story through a multi platform campaign, get in touch! Let us help you make your e-commerce store stand out from the crowd and increase your conversion rates.