Local Business Storytelling with Nick Bowditch

Ex-Facebook & Twitter employee, social media speaker, and marketer Nick Bowditch talks about Localised Business Storytelling to market your business and brand. How to tell your brand’s story! Dave was very keen to invite his good mate to The Location Station for a chat because Nick’s perspective on marketing and life in general is, as Dave puts it: “pretty bloody unique”.

5 Questions You Can Answer After Listening To This Episode On Local Brand Storytelling With Nick Bowditch:

  1. What does storytelling have to do with marketing?

  2. What did Nick receive as payment for his first job, instead of money?

  3. Where do I begin if I want to create a story for my brand?

  4. How can local businesses specifically benefit from storytelling and what tools can they use?

  5. In Nick Bowditch’s opinion, who will win the war: Snapchat or Instagram?


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Brand storytelling is one of the most important aspects of marketing, yet probably the most overlooked by small businesses. Nick Bowditch has a pretty interesting story of his own to tell, being the only person in the world to have worked in marketing at both Facebook and Twitter. Dave was very keen to invite his good mate to The Location Station for a chat because Nick’s perspective on marketing and life in general is, as Dave puts it: “pretty bloody unique”.

A successful and unsuccessful entrepreneur (his own words), Nick is a thought leader in social media who works extensively in the start-up ecosystem in Australia and internationally, speaking in front of over 120,000 people each year. Nick shares his unique perspective in his new book “Reboot Your Thinking: 28 Days To Think Different. Be Better.” which is available now.

In today’s episode Nick talks us through his business storytelling tips, particularly how location based businesses can create a story for their brand which is uniquely their own, building immeasurable value for their consumers.

INTERLUDE! If you’ve just discovered Redback Solutions, below is a short video about who we are and what we do. If you just came for the article, you can simply skip past the video and keep reading 🙂

Video production by our friends at Thirty3South Films in Newcastle


What Does Storytelling Have To Do With Marketing?


Good advertising doesn’t just show you the product, tell you the price or shout out features and benefits. Good (meaning effective) advertising engages you in a story where this product or service will change your life in some way.

“If every brand just thought about how the thing they’re selling is going to fit into / change someone’s life… that’s as simple and as complex as it needs to be.”

Where Do Brands Write Their Story?

Is it possible to create a story through just one social post, or must it be an intricate schedule of regular content production?

Each piece of advertising, whether it be a tweet, a banner ad, a blog, video content or paid search results has the potential to become a story in itself. It is when you begin to sew these pages together and speak in a single, unified voice that you can write your brand’s individual story.

If you really want to have a lasting impact and be convincing for your audience, then each single piece of content or advertising should not stand alone. It should be simply one arc or element to the overarching narrative of your campaign.

As marketers and business owners whose primary goals are measurable KPIs and ROI, it can be difficult to put a lot of effort into a less-easy-to-measure approach like brand storytelling, but once you begin to tell your story, you’ll soon realise just how much bottom-line value it can bring to your business.

How To Tell Your Brand’s Story

Often without realising it, local businesses are the ones that do storytelling best. This is because they know their business inside out and they know their resources. Small brands have always been forced to get creative in order to compete with bigger businesses on bigger advertising budgets; thus necessity becomes the mother of invention.

According to Nick, the most effective growing mediums for brand storytelling are those which allow viewers to peek behind the curtain such as:

  • Instagram / Instagram Stories
  • Snapchat
  • Facebook / Facebook Live

Research has shown that local customers are responding more positively to raw, unpolished content. Content that is less about pushing products and more about documenting the day-to-day life within a brand, such as recounting heartwarming or amusing anecdotes from that week. This kind of authenticity isn’t something you can fake and it isn’t something you can buy, which is great for small businesses with practically a zero marketing budget.

“That’s how we build an affinity with the brand… by building an affinity with the people behind the brand”

Personalising your content doesn’t necessarily have to mean turning your online presence into a reality show — most people’s lives and businesses aren’t that dramatic. It can be as simple as having the subject matter expert (whether it be the owner, franchisee or an employee) engage with customers by telling the brand’s story in their own words, like an Instagram post or Facebook Live video expressing excitement about a new product or service.

Scaling Brand Storytelling Across Multiple Locations

Relaying a message through one branch using one personality can be relatively easy, but how can you scale that story across 5, 50, even 500 locations or franchises?

As essential as it is to have uniform branding and guidelines in place regarding what your franchisees or managers can/cannot say, it is important to allow them the opportunity to speak with their own voice about things that are relevant to their particular location. For example:

A customer from Muswellbrook drives past your local store and sees the new decals on the window. They have a chuckle remembering the video that employee Sally took of Mike the Manager attempting and failing miserably to stick up those very decals on that really windy day last week.

Your small town audience doesn’t care what’s happening at head office in Sydney. They’re more likely to develop a connection with the local manager even if they don’t know them personally, because it’s a story they can relate to and see first hand.

Not Everyone Is Comfortable In The Spotlight

We weren’t all born with a silver spoon in our mouths, not even Dave Eddy or Nick Bowditch. If you want to have a crack at personalised brand storytelling but don’t think you’re very good at writing or being in front of the camera, then learn!

The value gained from investing in help to improve your skill levels is immeasurable. A few acting lessons for example, will make every piece of photo or video content you produce from there on that much more believable. A short writing course for blogs or SEO can improve reader engagement as well as your search rankings.

Now You’re Ready To Tell Your Brand’s Story, Where To Begin? Once Upon A Time…

It can be overwhelming being told we have to build a complete story around our brand which encompasses a website, social platforms and countless forms of content. Luckily, we’re already well versed in how every story should begin and end, perhaps without realising it.

Every time Nick Bowditch tells a story, whether it be marketing for a startup business, speaking for TEDx, building a website or writing a book, he uses the six simple steps of a narrative that each of us learns from a very young age.

1. Once Upon A Time,

Here is the status quo, it’s always been the same. This is the way things have been forever and what people have learned to expect from this type of business.

2. And Every Day…

Every day business is being done this way. Things happen in the same way as they did yesterday and the day before that, therefore here are the opportunities and pitfalls of your industry.

3. But One Day…

Now is the time to insert your brand into the story. This is why your business is here to offer more than just average quality products and service.

4. And Because Of That…

Because of what you do and the fact that you do it so well, here are the ways in which your business will benefit the lives of your customers.

5. And Because Of That…

In this chapter, your point of difference changes the game. Because of the exemplary service you have provided, your customers now think differently about your brand and the industry in general.

6. So They All Lived Happily Ever After.

Now that you’ve provided the best solution possible for their need or problem, the customer won’t be returning to the life they had before, but a much happier one.

Practically applying this narrative doesn’t mean turning your campaigns into fairy tales. Just try to have these steps in mind with every bit of content or communication you create and ask yourself “Where does this fit into my story?”. Doing this will help you piece together a genuine, well rounded and recognisable story for your brand.


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