BRANDING AND STORYTELLING IN SPORT
Branding and storytelling go hand-in-hand, and together form the foundation of your connection with your fanbase. Through maintaining a clear brand vision and following a content strategy, your stories will promote the interests of your fans and earn you a leading position within your niche of expertise. Our Geneva Marketing and Communication agency has worked to bring you some key information on the topic.
Brand value is linked with its story
The growth of social media has driven storytelling for branding as the key content marketing skill.
Both branding and storytelling are all about conveying the message that you wish to put out there, and for success in either category there has to be consistency and adherence to the identity of your brand.
At our communications agency based in Geneva we have created a Content Lab to meet your branding needs and tackle your challenges. We copywrite, copyedit, brand, film, design, illustrate, promote… you name it, we do it.
We know that a compelling brand story focuses on two core elements: meaning and values. This means that you, as a brand, need to know what you wish to say, what your intentions are when you say it, and what the desired outcome of saying it actually is. Your content needs to reflect the values your brand adheres to and be meaningful to your fanbase.
With a series of relevant, branded stories your content will create an experience for fans which allows you to be relatable (by meeting expectations and standards) yet stand out from the crowd (through unique and engaging content).
Stories offer a sense of meaning to your brand. Including data in your storytelling adds substance to your message, and sharing facts, news or advice enhances your brand credibility and grows your image as a reliable source of information. A good story combined with a strong brand ignites your fanbase, enticing them to jump aboard and join you for the journey.
Storytelling, however, is a skill not everyone naturally possesses. But if this speaks to you, do not despair, as luckily it is one that can be learned by adhering to a couple of simple, but fundamental, rules.
First of all, you need to know your topic. This cannot be stressed enough, as there is nothing worse than producing content that suggests you don’t know what you’re talking about, or which compromises your brand values. Ask yourself what you want to convey.
You also have to get to know your audience. If you aren’t certain what direction to go in next, put out a poll or invite them to share suggestions. Ask yourself what they need from you, and how you can meet this need.
Once you have the topic and the audience’s needs figured out, you need to make use of what’s already out there and learn from others. Our creative team in Geneva research other brands to see what they are doing, have a look at the most-read articles available on the web and the structure and style they use, and figure out what aspects of this know-how can be applied to your own brand. We ask ourselves what our content looks like next to that of other brands – is it better than what’s currently available, or is it not yet ready to put out there?
With these key ideas in mind, you’re ready to try and tackle storytelling. If you’re still in doubt, consult someone who knows how to elevate your brand story, as taking risks with your brand image is rarely a good idea (or keep reading for more information). Our Marketing and Communication Agency in Geneva is at your disposition.
Our Content Lab will be happy to work with you and set your brand or e Learning courses on a fast-track to success. We create an environment where your vision and our expertise can turn into a partnership capable of growing your fanbase and solidifying your brand image. We love E-Learning.
Still want to know more? Our Graphic Designer & Copywriter Dorine, from our Geneva-based communication agency Penceo, has compiled a must-follow quick-reference list of 10 rules that any good storyteller should aim to become very familiar with.
1. Prepare, brainstorm, and start with notes.
Ask yourself what you want your audience to learn from your story and use this to create your working title. Now do your research and generate a list of bullet points or snippets of text that you wish to include in your story, read up on it and familiarize yourself with relevant subtopics, and then make sure you fact-check the content you’ve come up with.
2. Answer the question, then stick to the subject.
Your reader has come to your article expecting it to meet the need that had them Googling for information in the first place. If it doesn’t, they’ll go elsewhere. If it veers off-topic, they’ll go elsewhere. All content you include should be able to pass a simple test of relevance. Does it respond to the audience’s identified need? Strike off anything that isn’t sufficiently relevant Producing good content also means knowing what not to include.
3. Know your audience.
Who are your readers, and what is their level of knowledge? Should you be using jargon? How much context do you need to provide? Knowing your audience is vital. To get to know them better, monitor their previous engagement with posts. Do they respond better to lists, anecdotes, infographics…? You could even conduct a survey asking them what they would like to see and how they would like it presented.
4. Structure your story.
With your notes at the ready, divide your content into logical subtopics and create a short list of bullet points to denote individual paragraph content. Brainstorm ideas for your opening line and decide what you need to recap in your conclusion. This overview will form the backbone of your story and will help it flow logically from one thought into the next. A haphazard structure is unlikely to keep your readers interested.
5. Be authentic.
Originality has never been more important than it is today, with the internet offering readers endless options to choose from. Establishing where your brand stands in the wider sphere of things requires developing your aims and establishing your values, and then showing your audience your brand identity through everything you do. Unpredictability in your brand image can be off-putting even to the most well-established fans.
6. Create your editorial voice.
How do you want to communicate with your audience? Do they expect a factual tone from you, or do they expect to be told a story through humorous anecdotes? Are you formal or informal when you address them? Have a read of popular blogs and informative websites and develop an idea of how you want to come across, then keep this in mind when creating text.
You might want to note down three to five key words representing your brand’s intended tone, so that you have a point of reference, and write some sample text showcasing how you wish to come across.
7. Avoid monotony and repetition.
Although it may not be spoken aloud, your text still needs to have a comfortable rhythm. Varying your use of sentence lengths and sentence structures avoids monotony and helps the text flow smoothly. Not convinced? Read this paragraph again and have a look more closely at the sentences; their structures are pretty self-explanatory.
In terms of repetition, be aware of the distinction between ‘being repetitive’ and ‘emphasizing an important fact’. Presenting the exact same information over and over again in an only slightly different way can be off-putting. Placing emphasis on a key point, however, is a concise way of ensuring your reader understands an issue.
8. Spacing matters.
The spacing, font and positioning of your text is as important as the words themselves. Having only three paragraphs won’t work if it means there are big, inaccessible chunks of text, but having ten single-sentence paragraphs isn’t what you’d call a good idea either.
It’s all about bringing a sense of visual balance to the layout to ensure the legibility of the material, without compromising the structure of the text.
9. Fonts matter.
Your chosen font needs to be easy on the eyes and consistent with your branding. Using a single font type is usually sufficient when posting a story, but if need be you can opt for two complementary fonts. Be aware it can quickly become distracting for the reader if there are too many things going on visually, or if your use of the fonts is inconsistent.
Feel free to use different text sizes or colours to bring e.g. a quote to the foreground or emphasize information (sparingly!) using italics, underline or bold.
“[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."
- A.A. Milne
10. Graphics matter.
When presenting significant amounts of information, turning to infographics is the obvious choice, but until that point is reached the visual side of things is often rather neglected. Most texts would benefit from the addition of high-quality visual content, including both branded and unbranded graphics.
If you haven’t already, work with a designer to develop your brand’s visual identity, and brainstorm how best to visually represent your brand alongside blog posts, articles and other texts. Graphics should never be an afterthought thrown in haphazardly, they should have as much purpose as every part of the text!
11. Edit, re-edit and then edit again.
This speaks for itself. Take the time to edit, proofread, have someone else read it over and proofread again. You never want to be posting content you haven’t double-, triple- or even quadruple-checked for errors.
Now, to bring it all back full circle; text and visuals are intrinsically linked, and both need to be on point for you to develop your brand through written content. Think user experience and Google will approve your article by indexing it.
For more information on storytelling and branding, Dorine and Pascal are available to review your content strategy and suggest how you can move forward with your brand. You are also welcome to visit our communication and marketing agency in Geneva and meet us in person!