How to apply storytelling to employer branding

This is a truth backed by science. The human brain is wired to remember stories much better than the most compelling statistics or words. Stories help the mind and brain visualize facts and outcomes. And that is why, customers, candidates and suppliers look beyond what is written on an organization’s website to research in social media sites.

Today, organizations are far more than providers of products and services. The create and build dreams and experiences of infinite possibilities. Storytelling is an intrinsic part of creating such magic. Let us see how storytelling can be successfully applies to building a powerful employer brand.

Storytelling can be applied to all aspects of your organization brand


Be it for job descriptions, organizational culture, milestones of progress, sales successes or employee experiences, storytelling can enhance the impact of brand communication.  

Studies show that millennials place values and culture at the top of their choice of employers. Building a brand that speaks to this audience is therefore critical – not just for talent acquisition, but also to evoke pride in existing employees. A storytelling approach opens a two-way communication that authentically connects to people. Social media has opened up exciting possibilities of reaching out and engaging a wider audience, and communication on this platform needs to strike the personal chord. 

Storytelling is a compelling way of establishing the human aspects of an organization that demonstrate their vision and culture. In today’s digital era, the focus is on ‘digital storytelling’ - where the organization brand is developed through human stories told on multiple channels and powered by technology. It is a compelling brand differentiator to trump competition in attracting and retaining talent, customers and partners. 

Applying a ‘winning’ narrative to employer branding 


The first imperative is to develop a strong and consistent pivotal message for your brand story. Companies need to stay on message even as they develop new and engaging content for different audiences. For customers, the story has to be woven through a feature-rich storyline of expertise, competencies, beliefs, values and individual voices that ease their pain points. For employees and potential candidates, the focus will be on employee stories that talk about pride, happiness and fulfilment at work. This will talk to their need for belonging and purpose.

Next comes the choice of platforms to tell the story. For example, job applicants are avid and adept users of social media – building a thematic narrative across social channels can strengthen the company brand. It could be ‘a day in your life’ or ‘life at your company’ theme – or engaging podcasts hosted by employees. For customers, it could be themes on industry trends and how your company’s products and services are making a difference in actual individual lives and enterprise outcomes. 

The stories themselves need to be short, compelling and sticky about the audience’s ‘why’ and ‘what’s in it for me’ reasons. Most important, the star of your story should not be your organization – the audience should be able to visualize themselves as the heroes. The idea is to invoke visions of transformative experiences that enable them transcend the status quo. Any theme should be relatable, appeal to future possibilities, and have a higher calling than a mere business transaction. 

Making audience engagement an intrinsic part of the story 


At the core of the storytelling approach is the subtle, powerful and seamless intertwining of the audience’s attention with the company’s identity. The aim is not just to narrate a story, however compelling it may be. Make it interactive and resonate with the target’s aspirations, challenges, and vision of what they want to become. Push them to question - internally and externally. This creates better connects and ensures your brand is intrinsically linked to your audience’s self-awareness and emotional triggers. Result? Better attention leading to longer retention of the brand in stakeholders’ minds.

Organizations may lead with strategy, and tell with facts - but stories are what makes them real and relatable to all the stakeholders. However, like the wise saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Authenticity is the one trait that must underpin the storytelling approach. So go ahead, build your brand with authentic stories that touch the chords of all your stakeholders.
 
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