How you frame your brand story can have a large effect on how your audience receives it. When it comes to brand storytelling, framing has to do with why certain aspects of your brand are highlighted while others are downplayed, all so that a coherent brand storyline can exist.
Framing in short is how the stories you share, and the way you share them all fit within a given framework, so they can tell an intentional narrative. Read on to lead how framing your brand story can change the meaning of it.
1. Enforcing an Overarching Narrative
Every brand should have an overarching brand narrative they are trying to convey. This is usually a single phrase that encompasses the brand identity and fosters an emotional connection with the audience. By using your brand narrative as a frame, it guides what ideas, events, and stories to highlight as you develop your brand story.
Many things come together to make this narrative come to life. Transmedia storytelling is the process of weaving your story together across multiple mediums. Transmedia storytelling, especially on social media, is a way that brands share small segments of a story which come together to convey the overarching narrative.
The brand narrative that is demonstrated through multiple smaller stories across social media is similar to a short story cycle in which multiple short stories that are sometimes seemingly unrelated come together to tell a narrative.
2. Creates an Emotional Connection with Your Brand
Photos, images, and other visuals are great for forming an emotional connection with your audience. Visual storytelling can be a great way to frame your brand story because it evokes emotions and creates a mood which puts your audience in the best mindset to absorb a message.
In terms of brand storytelling, social media and content marketing are two of the ways we use visuals to frame our stories. On social media the visual aspect is what gets your audience’s attention, so they are willing to take in the story that comes along with it. Humans of New York on Instagram is a great example of this in action.
Grasping the attention of your audience can be difficult. Choosing the best visual accompaniment requires a lot of knowledge surrounding your audience and time-consuming analytics to figure out what your audience wants to see.
An Artificial Intelligence software such as Cortex analyzes the content and engagement rates for your content, that of your competitors, and of 33,000 other brands to give you data backed content suggestions in a fraction of the time it takes a human. This ensures that the accompanying visuals you choose really do form the emotional connection that you are hoping for.
3. The Purpose of Your Brand
When it comes to your brand purpose, framing comes into play by positioning an issue facing the world in the context of your brand. This is both in terms of your literal product or service and also your larger purpose or goal in the world.
Framing allows you to discuss the problem you solve as a brand, aka your reason for existing. Your brand story might be about what you do and what you value but if an audience doesn't have a context as to why something like your brand is needed, then the story won’t have as much value.
A brand purpose is more than “to make profit” or at least it should be framed as more than that. If you delve into the problem that your company aims to fix them it frames you as a valuable addition to the world.
4. Crafting Brand Characters
Framing helps you develop both your brand character and your leadership characters in an engaging way.
Like any story, a strong main character is really important. For a brand story your main character is the brand itself. A brand is made up of many people, but the brand persona should be seen as one specific character. It’s important that you frame your brand as a round character by adding human elements such outside interests or underlying motives and values.
Placing either your brand character or a brand leader within a larger story arc like the hero’s journey can turn them into a symbol or a legend rather than an individual. Legends and symbols are memorable, and therefore helpful to your brand story.
When a brand leader is framed as a legend, their influence on the brand story surpasses their actual leadership responsibilities.
Framing leaders in specific ways can even immortalize them after their death. In the past few years both Steve Jobs (Apple) and Burt Shavitz (Burt’s Bees) have passed away. Despite this, their legend continues to affect their respective brand stories, even after their direct say in the brand has ceased.
5. Influencing an Individual Story
Framing can also be used as a storytelling technique within one particular story to give certain experiences, ideas or events a specific meaning.
The news is a great example of how framing can warp the same factual story. Consider how two opposing news stations may cover the same topic, especially when it comes to politics. The way you frame a story consists of what aspects you choose to highlight and which you choose to ignore, so that the facts fit into your intended narrative.
Much of this kind of framing has to do with how the story is written and the POV. Different narrative styles also influence how the story is received by an audience.