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Every brand has a story, and if you are not effectively telling that story to consumers, then you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to create brand loyalty and attract new customers. In fact, with compelling storytelling, you can increase the value of your product or service.
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Psychologists have studied how people react to ads and have found that content that stirs an emotional response has the most significant potential to motivate a consumer to buy or to become a raving fan of a particular brand. As a business owner, you know your story, but you might not have the storytelling skills to captivate an audience best.
How veterans learn to tell stories
As a veteran myself, I know that serving in the military for four years and deploying to Iraq for a year refined my storytelling abilities. I still remember the day that I came home from Iraq. I was sitting in the airport, undoubtedly happy to soon be reuniting with family and friends but still nervous and anxious about my buddies left behind. The first question a civilian asked me was, “How was it over there?” My objective was to deliver a quick, one-sentence response until a follow-up question required that I elaborate on my story. The civilian asked, “Aren’t you soldiers over there just fighting for oil?”
What proceeded next was a five-minute story that consisted of a firsthand account of the work our combat troops were accomplishing while fighting for our country’s freedom. It was satisfying for me to see the transition in the man’s face as he listened to my story, got swept up in the emotions it brought about, and the look on his face when he finally understood the meaningful work that was being done. That’s the power of storytelling.
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As it turned out, this was not an isolated incident. I have now told my story more times than I can count, and many of my veteran colleagues have also told hundreds of stories regarding their military experiences. Just look, for example, at any war documentary or movie, and you will see just how invested people are in the stories veterans tell.
In launching my startup, I enlisted the help of five military veterans to help craft our brand’s story. What resulted from their brand strategy was features and mentions in world-renowned publications for my startup.
How the style of veteran storytelling can help your business build credibility
The style of veteran storytelling, taking you from the trenches to triumph, quickly pulls listeners in and makes them feel like they are part of an experience. Humans are programmed to be intrigued by stories with setbacks and even casualties, that ultimately lead to success or new understanding.
These are the very same types of stories that can help your business grow through branded storytelling. Even if your product or service is not related to the military, hiring a veteran to help craft your story can be beneficial because over time these men and women have learned to become natural storytellers.
When military service members earn medals and awards, several accounts of the actual event has to be meticulously documented. Essentially a story of the events that occurred is used to determine if the service member deserves the award that has been recommended by their superiors. A veteran can take these same skills and apply it to your business after spending some time getting to know you, your products or services and hearing the story from your perspective.
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What makes a great branding story
An excellent branding story does not try to sell. It is not a direct advertisement. A brand story is more like an introduction and a way to answer some essential questions such as who you are, what you stand for and how you can help the consumer with a specific problem or desire. Once you have one or more narratives that fit your brand, you can tell these stories through compelling images, videos and text that can be shared on your website, social media and at events.
Many companies have written down their values or have even crafted a mission or vision statement, but not many have learned to use the power of emotional storytelling. Large brands like Coca-Cola and Nike use customer-focused storytelling that is highly emotional and covers topics like making friends, falling in love, working hard and accomplishing big dreams. There is no reason your company cannot do the same.
Why hire veterans to craft your brand’s story
Combining your company’s story with the raw power and emotion that veterans are experts at creating their own stories can be highly beneficial. If the No. 1 factor of effective storytelling is making an emotional connection, there is no better person the help craft that experience than a combat veteran.
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