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5 Ways Framing Can Influence Your Story

Matt Peters
December 02, 2018

How you frame your brand story can have a large effect on how your audience receives it. When it comes to brand storytelling, framing highlights aspects of your brand, all so that a coherent brand storyline can exist. Visual storytelling will improve your marketing strategy.

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Framing is how you share stories within a given framework, so they can tell an intentional narrative for your audience. Wondering how you can frame your brand story using storytelling techniques?

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. 

Approximately 65% of the population are visual learners. This is an opportunity for you to tell your visual story and connect with people. Visual storytelling and infographics can be great ways to convey your identity, ideas, and message visually. Visual content will resonate with a greater population and will set you apart from other marketing campaigns.

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. Visual storytelling will hold the attention of the brain because it does most of the work for people. A good story will hold anyone's attention. Visual storytelling in blog posts and other visual media like infographics will give your audience their time back--all while creating a human connection when it taps into emotions. Visual media is easy to read and follow.

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. These posts create a visual narrative using visual writing and images to capture the heart of the reader.

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 software allows visual storytelling to be backed by data. Cortex will even help you decide on what images will rank higher and create the best visual story.

The CMO Guide to Artificial Intelligence

3. The Purpose of Your Brand 

When it comes to your brand purpose, framing positions 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. 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, the story won’t have as much value. Your story should focus on the "why". You can use visual storytelling to show your audience what you offer to them. The human brain will connect with visual storytelling because it will seem less like marketing and more like a visual story. Digital marketers use this to tell their brand story and explain their purpose.

A brand purpose is more than “to make profit” or at least it should be framed as more than that. A good visual storyteller can use storytelling tools to make a presentation compelling. You can use visual storytelling to frame your company as the ultimate solution for the problem you address.

4. Crafting Brand Characters 

Framing helps you develop both your brand character and your leadership characters in an engaging way. Crafting strong brand characters and visual storytelling examples are important tools for marketers. Characters are essential when you are telling a story. Visual storytelling is all about the examples you create. Characters are a great way to create a human connection that people can connect with.

In visual storytelling, 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.

steve jobs (1)

burt (1) 

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. Even news stations visual storytelling to create a narrative. 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. As a creative director you can use visual storytelling or storytelling marketing to improve your content and brand story. Visual storytelling can frame your content in a human way that people will trust. 


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