How do you create a brand narrative that has emotional resonance and a thematic through line? Diverse teams and departments ultimately share a collective goal of reaching audiences and giving them rich, meaningful stories rooted in the identity of a brand.
Use this visual guide below to set the building blocks to your brand’s compelling story. Foster alignment through strategy, branding and measurement, and transform distinct units into one cohesive narrative-building collective.
Balance effectiveness and efficiency. Build content that resonates.
Align on what success looks like.
:+1: Be authentic and consistent. Honesty is the best policy.
:eyes: Know your audience. Find out what makes them tick.
:speech_balloon: Communicate effectively. What problem do you solve?
:sunglasses: Build your character. Find your voice, tone and personality.
:heart: Connect with your community. Friendship is a two-way street.
Step 1: Setting an Integrated Foundation Across Channels
Marketers need take a Human-to-Human (H2H) approach and dig deeper to understand the unique relationship each target audience has with the channel in question, complete with personalized, relevant content.
25% of consumers say recorded video is their favorite type of content.
Check out PAN’s guide to building a successful lead-generation strategy working with your PR agency for more information on persona-building and related tactics.
For integrated marketing to play its part effectively in working across departments to build an exceptional brand narrative, it cannot ignore the subtle nuances of both the channels they love and the audiences they seek to engage. Here is where persona building becomes invaluable.
Step 2: Sharing Your Story Across the Media
The media, in relation to artistic or entertainment-based narratives, is reactionary. Journalists may offer unique perspectives or insight, but their findings come in response to a static narrative – think film critics or sports commentators. In relation to brands, however, media takes a much more active role in shaping the narrative itself.
Marketers relinquish some creative control so that the narrative may come to life through the lens of an objective third party. While at face value this can seem daunting, make no mistake – it’s highly effective when done right.
PAN’s research found that when asked which type of content consumers feel lends the most credibility, “brand story” ranked number one, but demographics make a difference.
From a media perspective, the most value a brand can have is as a resource, offering unique points of view on emerging trends and the news of the day. Through different interpretations or perspectives, a different type of narrative evolves. A supplementary through-line that puts a brand front and center as leaders in their field. This type of media relations, known as thought leadership, emphasizes the soft power of a brand, not through its journey but the real-world applications of its expertise.
Having a pulse on the shifting needs and mediums is what makes that contribution so valuable. You can get ahead of those conversations to make sure your brand has the greatest impact.
If you’re looking to build a thought leadership program or reimagine an existing one, don’t miss PAN’s guide on the topic: Building a Thought Leadership Program to Drive Value and Trust.
Step 3: Visualizing a Story that Connects
The war for eyeballs is largely being fought over content. But because content can vary and the levers by which one measures content can be ill defined, marketers often struggle to effectively capitalize on its narrative-building value.
By leveraging strong creative content, brands can foster their identity in innovative and interesting ways.
When asked to rate which type of brand personality they are most attracted to:
34% of consumers said feel-good content
Age did not make a difference. Consumers respond to emotional content.
Content shouldn’t feel like a sales tool, but an engagement method.
This presents an opportunity to tell your story via new and diverse lenses.
Knowing what your audience wants, where they want it and how they want it delivered is key to a successful strategy.
We dive deeper into getting the most out of content in our guide here: Taking Your Content Marketing Strategy to New Heights.
Step 4: Measuring the Impact of your Story
All of these elements working together in harmony should create a cohesive, integrated brand narrative that emotionally connects with audiences in new and unexpected ways.
Measuring the Success of Brands Digital Presence Across Departments:
Evaluate Search Visibility
Align corporate communications, content, social and demand-gen teams to assess organic clickthrough rates, message pull-through and quality of content on high-value pages.
Measure Message Pull-Through
You aligned cross-department teams on messaging and positioning, but is it working? How are people talking about your brand on social? In the media? Are you seeing strong visibility on your core website pages?
Map Customer Behavior
How well do you know your audience? Spend time getting to know your persona(s). Customer data is relevant to all teams from PR to content to social to sales. Use what you know about preferences to build a better cross-channel journey.
Optimizing Conversion Opportunities
Using what you know about search visibility, message pull-through and customer behavior, work cross-departments to make adjustments to content, tweaks to messaging and/or differentiate distribution to improve both conversion opportunities and conversion rates.
Drive Qualified Leads
You have strong conversion rates – but are they driving qualified leads for your sales team? Gather cross-department feedback on performance and update your content strategy to better optimize the right channels, content and mediums.
Download The Value of Data in the Digital World for a hands-on benchmarking system to identify gaps in the awareness to consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.
Foster alignment through a single playbook of strategy, branding and measurement, and transform distinct units into one cohesive narrative-building collective.
Creating a brand narrative that has emotional resonance and a thematic through line isn’t only a possibility, it’s well within reach.
Diverse teams and departments, ultimately share a collective goal of reaching audiences and giving them rich, meaningful stories rooted in the identity of a brand.
The 2021 PAN Communications Survey was commissioned by PAN Communications and fielded by Dynata, a global online market research firm. The responses were generated from a survey of 1,000 adults and were surveyed online between March 26-30, 2021. The survey was made up of consumers aged 18+ and surveyed their perception towards brands across multiple mediums.