7 Steps to Start a Career in Brand Storytelling
1 year, 4 months, 3 days. That’s how long I’ve been a Brand Storyteller. It’s also all the time I’ve had to become so great at it that I can help others become as well.
I started my career in marketing as a Content Analyst and now I’m leading the Storytelling Team at Moni, an early-stage fintech startup creating shared prosperity for Africans everywhere. Everything between when I started my career in marketing and now prepared me for this role.
Everything will eventually make sense. One day in the future, you’ll be in your home resting, sipping your poison, and remembering how you wished for such tranquility and riches. You’ll understand how the life you now enjoy is a beautiful puzzle that came together because of the many pieces of your life — including the broken ones.
Brand Storytelling is just another arm of marketing. Marketing is the foundation on which Brand Storytelling is built. In this article, I’ll be sharing the pivotal things you need to know about yourself, your skills, and your interests before you decide to plunge into the deep blue sea.
Let’s get into it!
1. Is Brand Storytelling for me? Let’s find out:
Just like every other role or niche in Marketing, Brand Storytelling involves many things. Kaitlin Loyal, on Scribewise, defined Brand Storytelling as “Using a narrative to connect your brand to customers, with a focus on linking what you stand for to the values you share with your customers.”
The Impact Institute on the other hand says Brand Storytelling is the use of authentic, emotional stories by an organization to drive growth and foster customer loyalty.
Here’s how I define brand storytelling:
Brand Storytelling is becoming an authentic narrative for customers to build relationship with a brand to accomplish growth and foster customer loyalty.
Being a Brand Storyteller is a combination of some major marketing skills:
- Content Marketing
- Product Marketing
- Creative Writing
- Brand Marketing
- Growth Marketing
- Public Relations
You probably want to ask if you have to be great at all eight of them to be a great Brand Storyteller. The answer is NO. Focus on five out of these and know the others well enough to be able to identify great work. You can learn each of these online. Once you take these courses, all you have to do is practice, practice, and practice some more.
2. Choose the kind of Brand Storyteller you want to be
Marketing is perhaps the most niche sector in the world. Even in writing, there are technical writers, creative writers, screenwriters, copywriters and so much more. There are different types of Brand Storytellers as well. We have the:
- Product-led Brand Storyteller
- Story-led Brand Storyteller
- Growth-led Brand Storyteller
And so much more.
All this is from my experience being a Brand Storyteller and watching the industry trends. For the longest time at Moni, I was a Story-led Brand Storyteller and now I am a Growth-led one. As a growth-led Brand Storyteller, my focus is on growing the brand’s market share in the ecosystem, all the numbers that matter to stakeholders, and the growth of the company.
I think this is a good time to share the free Brand Storytelling workbook I created for you. In this workbook, you’ll take an inventory of your current skills, see if Brand Storytelling is a right fit, decide what kind of Brand Storytelling you want to be and so much more.
3. Cultivate the additional skills required to be hired as a Brand Storyteller
Soft skills are almost as valuable as hard skills in the world we live in. Many companies, especially startups, want to see what other value you bring to the table. Experts create a list of top in-demand skills required to be hired each year and I think that’s a good place to start. If that’s a long read, you can watch this short video that summarizes them.
The #1 Brand Storyteller in Nigeria on Instagram: "THE NEW TOP 10 IN-DEMAND SOFT SKILLS OF 2023…
1,296 Likes, 58 Comments - The #1 Brand Storyteller in Nigeria (@adebolalives) on Instagram: "THE NEW TOP 10 IN-DEMAND…
Brand Storytellers must be empathic, creative thinkers, and very cultured. You’re the one responsible for how people feel about the brand. Learn how to be a decision-maker and how to adapt to different circumstances. Asides from these skills, you’ll need to cultivate some habits that will help you become better at your job.
4. Connect with other Brand Storytellers
I know we aren’t many out here but that’s a good thing. You can find a few Brand Storytellers and connect with them. You can connect with Brand Storytellers individually or in communities. I could have named this step ‘Networking’ but that would be oversimplifying the concept I’m trying to explain. Networking is meeting people, and talking to them about your interests, your achievements, and how you want to show the world. Networking is usually like a peacock dance when he wants to find a mate. Connection on the other hand is less showbiz. It’s taking your time to find people who have similar interests, values, and desires as you and connecting through that. You don’t have to force a connection. It happens because you both have some things in common.
The multi-million question then is where can you find Brand Storytellers?
- Social Media
5. Find a mentor or a coach
If you aren’t “into” the mentorship thing, you may not be cut out to be a Brand Storyteller, especially at these times. You need to find people who know what you don’t know or are doing what you find difficult to do. Once you find them, learn from them. Share your career goals and interest with them. Ask them to help guide you and show you what to do to hit those goals.
6. Document your journey
Many people wait till they become great at something before they start talking about it or sharing their processes but true marketers and by extension, storytellers know that you share as you go. You learn something today, you share it tomorrow. You succeed at something today, you share the process tomorrow. There a million ways to document your journey and your process. You can create a blog, you can write articles on Medium or LinkedIn, you can do an IG live, host a Twitter Space, create a YouTube channel, post content on social media and so much more.
Write about the things you’re learning and your experience becoming a Brand Storyteller. Your experience is different from mine. Someone else would relate with your experience more than they would relate to any other’s. You have to use yourself to practice the storytelling you’re learning.
The most important benefit of this is that it results in you building a credible personal brand. This will help the right hiring managers find you and will also help you connect with other Brand Storytellers like you.
7. Keep Learning
One of the reasons I decided that I wasn’t going to be a doctor anymore was because doctors keep going to school, taking some courses, and always learning. I thought I could find a career that doesn’t involve constant learning. Well, maybe I should have studied Medicine. Marketing is a constantly evolving world. There’s always something new, innovative, and different per time. And if you snooze on it, you lose relevance.
Brand Storytellers need to keep learning. You need to keep learning user behaviour and how it changes. You need to keep up with new industry trends. There will be new tools, you need to learn how to use them. It’s a never-ending cycle.
So what do you think? Is Brand Storytelling for you?