Tuesday, August 30, 2022

In the publishing business, we’re no strangers to the power of a good story. Whether it’s a book, a magazine article, or a film, we are suckers for a good yarn. Storytelling has the power to motivate, entertain, and educate. 

Whatever you’re selling, a website is often the first touchpoint with potential customers. That makes it the perfect opportunity for you to grab attention and introduce your story to establish an emotional connection and make your offering more memorable.

Your website is built with many moving parts. And while copywriting is crucial, storytelling on your website involves much more. From graphic design, layout, visual components, content matter, format, interactions, and more, they all come together to form the narrative of the story your website is telling.

What Exactly is Brand Storytelling?

"Humans have evolved with an inherent desire for and sensitivity to compelling stories."

We use storytelling to make sense of the world, relate to others and better understand ourselves. When done right, storytelling moves minds, drives emotions and even influences how we think and what we do.
As with any great story, websites can be designed to develop a narrative that connects a brand to its customers — creating a tangible link between what the brand stands for and the values customers deem essential. 

Using narrative elements like characters, setting, conflict, rising action, climax and resolution within your website story allows your audience to follow along — and remember it.

How does brand storytelling in web design enhance a website?
How important is it to include brand storytelling elements in your website? It seems like a lot more work than a website with good, clean design and a user-friendly interface.

When a website tells a story, it becomes more than just a website. Its role now is no longer restricted to generating leads or closing sales. It’s your brand ambassador, telling customers not just what your business can do for them but how they can be part of your mission to improve the world. 

Storytelling in web design transforms your website from a storefront to an immersive experience that evokes emotion, makes visitors stay longer, and leaves them wanting to form a stronger connection.  

How to use storytelling through your web design
The hero of your story isn’t you. It’s your customer. 
While tempting, your website shouldn’t be painting a picture of yourself as the hero who saves the day. Your potential customer wants to see themself in your story as the main character or the hero in the brand narrative your website is depicting. 

Their goals and problems should be the propelling force of your storytelling. Their needs are the compelling hook that will draw them into your story. When your customer sees themselves and their problems reflected in the story you're telling, they'll be more likely to want to try the solution you’re offering.

Use storytelling archetypes to your define and unify brand voice
Archetypes are fundamental universal symbols and character types. Whether that’s a ruler, a jester, or a sage, we all know of these and innately understand what they stand for.

Branding agencies such as Mystique use brand archetypes to help clients build a framework to define how a brand should act, speak, and look. When you represent and follow a brand archetype across your voice and messaging strategies, including the story you tell on your website, your target audience will find it easier to relate to you and form a deeper connection with your brand.

Storytelling on your website goes beyond just words. 
The story you’re telling starts right from your identity — your name and logo — the foundation of your brand. Does it set the stage for the right narrative for your audience? 

Even your colour choices impact the narrative and evoke emotions, influencing the user experience and making colour psychology a vital element of brand development and storytelling.  

Typography is another excellent tool for visual storytelling on your website. Fonts, their size and weights, the kerning and leading all affect the story you're trying to tell.

Imagery effectively conveys ideas better than a verbal description alone. Well-selected pictures can communicate emotion and express a mood to support your website’s story.

Design elements, functionality, animations and interactions all help to keep visitors engaged in the story.

Let visitors navigate your website story independently.
With website design, a clear and straightforward navigation system is critical. In a storytelling website, when you give your visitors signs and suggestions through emotional cues, they will feel in control. When their journey flows naturally, they’ll feel like they are part of the story. 

Use brand champions to help you tell your story. 
The most compelling story you tell about yourself can’t compare to a real experience shared by one of your previous visitors. Use testimonials, case studies and reviews as part of your storytelling arsenal to significantly enhance your website's impact on potential customers.

Have a clear takeaway or call to action to wrap up your story.
Resolving the narrative on your storytelling website involves giving your visitors clear, explicit instructions at critical moments on their journey. These instructions should be interspersed throughout the story, not just in the climax. Studies show that direct, clear calls to action improve conversion on websites. And if you've connected well with your visitors on an emotional level, they'll respond.

Use storytelling to reach and engage your website audience.
When building your website, it’s impossible only to consider the content and design aspects. It’s important to have a robust brand identity and strategy if you wish to employ storytelling techniques on your website. 
Storytelling can strengthen the connection your audience feels with your brand. With a  compelling narrative that uses every element on your website to tell a cohesive story, your visitor journey is transformed into an engaging brand experience that evokes emotions and leaves them wanting more. And like every good storyteller, you’ll leave them wanting more.

About The Author
Paul Bies
President at Mystique Brand Communications
Helping small and medium-sized brands find their voice… working with them to ensure that it's heard.
About Me
Guest Blogger
This is a guest column for the COPA judges so they can share some of their wisdom with the industry. The COPA Judges are the who's who of the publishing industry in Canada.  COPA Judging Panel Link 
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