Stories have been in existence for as long as we have been human. Deliberately or subconsciously, we tell hundreds of stories in our day to day communication. When done well, storytelling can do wonders for a business: turn a brand into a legacy, add a competitive edge in the market, win the loyalty and affection of consumers, and much more.
While every brand needs some form of storytelling, it has a special relevance for education brands. People look to associate an education brands for a reason --bringing a change to their lives. They could be looking to develop a new skill or sharpening an existing one, gearing up for a new job role and so on. They need to know if the institution they plan to associate with can help them fulfil this goal. Here’s how storytelling helps education businesses engage with the consumers and create a long-lasting relationship.
Sense of purpose and values
The starting point of any education business is a purpose and values. Any educational institute without these metrics cannot establish its relevance. Brand Storytelling conveys purpose, and that is exactly what people want to know, when they decide to enroll with an education brand. Think of top army schools in the country. They are sought after for a reason. The story of an educational institute suggests why it started (purpose), how it (purpose) evolved, and why it is still relevant (for consumers). Storytelling decodes this purpose for consumers and helps them choose an institute that matches their purpose. In other words, right purpose and values will encourage people to enroll in an institute, but not until these are communicated with a story that captures attention.
Using storytelling to create a distinction
Like every industry, education has stiff competition and the problem of plenty. Often, people have a huge challenge when they are sifting through educational institutes for themselves, their family or friends. They look for an institution that they will be proud of for the rest of their lives. They want to know why they should associate with institute X and not any other. This is where storytelling helps in creating a distinction. It helps the institution put together all the compelling reasons which make it unique. Hence, people have the reason to join an institution and make them a part of their life journey.
No business needs a human connect as much as education does. Therefore, an education institution must humanise itself through its messaging… and mean it. Every human story has a plot, some characters, interesting incidents, a climax, and some takeaways for the future. Think about the success stories of alumni, projects, and recognitions at different points of time.
Remember, how the success of Sharmaji Ka Ladka has always been talk of the town? These human stories convey the personality of the institution, reflect similar trait as you would find in a human. Human stories have immediate connect, great recall, and strong affinity. What else do we need to create a successful education brand? And more importantly, building this human connect is not a choice but ground rule for every educational institution aiming to establish its brand.
Author Joel Achenbach sums it up well when he says, "Story loving isn’t just culture; it’s biology." People do not invest their time, commitment and money in brands. They invest in stories that that matches theirs. Therefore, it is a strategic business priority for an educational institution to let its audience know its story. This story wraps the brand purpose into several real incidents and moments that humans can relate with. Now list down all your favorite educational institutions and you will know that they have told a story that you believe in.
(The author is a co-founder Litmus Branding.)