several women

Want to foster a deeper connection with your audience? Tell human stories.

While the opportunities for connecting with your audience nowadays are limitless, the resulting noise created by all this clutter can be overwhelming. Instagram feeds are bogged down by often forgettable, purposeless content — post after post bleeding into the next. Thus, standing out has become increasingly important for brands that want to foster a deeper, more meaningful connection with their audience and build brand awareness.

One the most effective ways brands can make a lasting impression on their audience is by sharing the human stories behind their brand. Stories that capture their personality, demonstrate their values, build pride in their brand and spark an emotional connection.

As humans, we naturally connect with and through stories. We’re drawn to narratives that evoke emotions and — whether we are aware of it or not — make us empathize with the characters involved (real or imagined). When it comes to brands, sharing the stories of the people who embody the mission, vision and values — from company leadership and employees to members and customers — can help foster a deeper, more authentic connection between a brand and its audience.

But don’t take our word for it.

Research indicates that storytelling can be a powerful tool for brands looking to build a loyal following. One study found that stories activate parts of the brain associated with emotions, making them more memorable and impactful than facts. Another study conducted by Stanford University found that stories can increase audience engagement by up to 22 times compared to facts alone.

One brand that understands the power of storytelling is Nike. Over the years, Nike has shared countless human stories that have resonated with audiences around the world. From the story of Michael Jordan’s rise to fame to the “Just Do It” campaign featuring everyday athletes, Nike has built a reputation for connecting with its audience on an emotional level.

“Our stories need to be authentic, real and connected to our values,” former Nike Brand President Trevor Edwards told Adweek. “It’s not enough to just talk about the product; we need to connect with our audience on a deeper level.”

Red Bull has also achieved remarkable success in storytelling by telling the stories of the adventurers and athletes its brand reflects and the lifestyle they represent. Red Bull’s approach has been so successful that it has become a case study for other brands looking to connect with their audience in a more meaningful way.

In an interview with Adweek, Red Bull’s chief marketing officer, Florian Klaass, explained the company’s approach to storytelling. “We believe that if we create content that people are interested in, they will find it and share it,” Klaass said. “The more people share our content, the more we’re able to reach new audiences.”

Red Bull’s focus on telling human stories is clearly of interest to its audience. The company has become one of the most recognizable brands in the world, with a loyal following of fans who are drawn to its unique, authentic approach to brand storytelling.

Another brand that has had success sharing human stories is Dove. In 2004, Dove launched its “Campaign for Real Beauty,” which aimed to challenge beauty standards and celebrate diversity. The campaign featured real women of different body types, skin tones and ages, and quickly became a global sensation.

One aspect of the campaign told the personal stories of women worrying about their appearance, while often disregarding their natural beauty. These emotional and impactful “Beauty Sketches” revealed that the things we worry about with our appearance are actually of little significance to others. According to a case study by Harvard Business Review, the campaign helped Dove increase sales by $1.5 billion and created a loyal following of customers who felt a strong emotional connection to the brand.

Human stories offer brands a powerful way to connect with audiences on a deeper, emotional level. By tapping into the power of personal stories, brands can cut through the clutter and create a lasting impression. More than building brand awareness, brands can build a community of engaged, emotionally invested followers — and loyal fans.

Anecdote is a team of creative and strategic thinkers, writers and editors specializing in editorial development and management. We partner with brands that share our commitment to quality and craftsmanship to create premium journalistic content that builds connections and fosters community. 

If you are looking to outsource your blog needs or need some help on your next editorial project, we would love to hear from you. 

More from the blog.

coin jar

How to create consistent blog content on a budget

Producing regular blog content may be a necessity for B2C brands that want to connect and engage with their audience, but it can be done with nearly any budget. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, even brands with limited marketing budgets can find a way.

Read More »