A well-told narrative catches the imagination like nothing else. We’re predisposed to be drawn to them, and audiences are far more likely to connect with a good story than a good product when it comes to promoting your brand.
Companies used to be cold entities that provided us with stuff. However, that is no longer sufficient to engage individuals with your brand. Customers are drawn to companies with which they can identify, brands with which they are interested, and businesses with a compelling story to tell.
A great tale is only one part of effective marketing. Before you start, remember that you’ll eventually want to establish website branding, content, and other marketing assets such as logo design and a strong brand identification to provide a home for your company’s story and a place for people to connect with it.
Your brand story is your company’s narrative and a crucial aspect of your brand identification. While many brands opt to highlight their origin story or that of its founders, you are not required to follow these criteria. Think beyond the box and push your creative boundaries – just make sure it’s engaging and connected to the qualities of your business.
A solid brand story should convey who you are. This holds true for any form of brand, whether it is a corporate, organizational, or personal brand. That is, it should embody the values and ideals that your brand symbolizes. Your story is what unifies all of your branding initiatives, bridging the gap between your mission statement, brand development style, and marketing campaigns.
Another purpose of your brand story is to humanize your company, allowing consumers to connect with it and build a sense of familiarity, personality, and brand loyalty. Plan on updating your story on a regular basis – the world never stops changing, and neither should your brand, so don’t be afraid to change it to meet the times.
Why is a Brand Story Important?
A compelling brand narrative moves your company from serving a utilitarian role in consumers’ lives to truly being something they’re proud to support — critically important if the vision for your company includes words like “lifestyle.”
People like what they like, and support what they support. A brand story is not about convincing customers to change their values, but communicating that your company aligns with their worldview. By supporting your company, these consumers will, in effect, be affirming their beliefs and contributing to the world they want to see.
A brand story increases your value beyond selling a commodity and inspires great customer loyalty. All-in-all, it’s a powerful marketing tool that can serve as a north star for decisions about messaging going forward.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of a powerful brand story.
It helps you connect with customers
How do you approach shopping? Most spend their money with a brand they know and love. These days, the average consumer is looking for more than just a good product for a good price. Yes, those are very important considerations. But often, customers want to spend money with brands that they respect. They want to “vote” with their money by investing in organizations that they feel contribute to their values.
An authentic brand story offers something beyond a product to the customer, helping them understand who you are and why you do what you do. They can have a sense of your values and understand what it means to wear or use your product. If all else is the same, consumers will go with the brand they prefer. And for many, they’ll go with their brand of choice, even if it’s more expensive or less convenient.
Plus, consumers engaged with your brand story may be more likely to refer you to their friends and family. And referred customers are more profitable and more loyal.
It builds trust and loyalty
If you can show customers how they’re contributing to something, if you can make them feel good about spending their money with you, they’ll drive the extra mile to get your product instead of the competitor’s.
As humans, we are all creatures of habit. If your business can capture the hearts of consumers and keep their trust, they’ll come back again and again.
It differentiates your brand
Unless you’ve invented the next version of the wheel, there’s a strong chance a version of your product already exists on the market. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tap into your target audience. Compelling brand stories differentiates your brand. Sure, you might roast a similar type of coffee as another company, but your brand identity and brand personality are unique. They’re decidedly not the same as the competition, even if your product is.
Showcasing your brand’s mission, history, and core values gives shoppers the opportunity to choose a product made by people they identify with.
For example, maybe an outdoor enthusiast founded the aforementioned coffee company. Perhaps their packaging reflects this interest and the company supports nonprofits that provide outdoor opportunities for underrepresented youth. Maybe the founder talks about crafting their main roast specifically to take on long hikes or weeks-long camping trips.
People who are avid bikers, skiers, or hikers may be more likely to choose this brand and tell others in the outdoor community about their new find.
It showcases the conflict or problem you solve
A compelling mission is one thing, but if your story doesn’t demonstrate how a problem was solved or value created, your audience is not going to part with their hard-earned money.
People will still ask themselves, “What does this do for me?”
The problem your brand solves is the villain of your story.
Maybe you’ve created a product that overcomes a common obstacle for people — and the idea came out of your own struggles. Tell that origin story. It’s very valuable because potential customers will see themselves or their problems and how your product or service solves them.
A brand story isn’t just about personality or a flashy mission statement. The problem-solution narrative is what holds attention and relates beyond customers’ values to their everyday issues.
How to Create Your Brand Story
Your brand story is an integral part of your company, so you should take time to brainstorm ideas and flesh out an accurate narrative. These steps will help guide you:
1. Define your message
Before you build your story, you should understand what you want to convey. It’s easier to craft a story around a clearly defined message. To start off, your message should answer each of these questions in a sentence or two:
- What does your brand do?
You already know what products or services you provide. But that’s just the surface of what you do.
Every product has an additional value or impact on whoever buys it, and this is a critical ingredient of your brand’s story. Take board games, for example. The value isn’t in the pieces themselves or the rules of the game, but in bringing people together to have fun.
- How does your brand do what it does?
The “how” is an important part of any brand story. Describe how you manufacture your products, what materials you use and what technology goes into it. You should also describe where you manufacture and who you employ. If your brand provides a service, describe the level of expertise and know-how that goes into it.
You don’t have to include all of this in your brand story, but it could be useful to enhance your narrative. Remember, your customers value transparency.
- Why do you do it?
Most people prefer to buy products from a brand with an agenda they believe in.
Define a higher purpose for your brand, one that people can relate to. This means defining what drives your brand and how it benefits others. You will attract more customers by giving them a reason to connect with – and support – you.
- Who are you?
You don’t want your brand story to be all about business, products and sales. Customers like brands that have a personality, and one of the best ways to do this is by giving a “face” to your company.
Do this by finding a personality for your brand. Brands can embody the same qualities as human beings. Think of what characteristics can be used to describe your brand and the people involved in it. Should it be casual, or serious? Knowledgable or ambitious? Familiar or helpful? Whatever you choose your brand story should convey authenticity.
Your brand identity is an extremely important part of growing your business overall and should influence your brand’s style, colors, brand name and marketing efforts.
2. Understand your target audience
In order to know what story would work best for your brand, you need to define your target market. This way, you’ll be able to craft the narrative that’s most likely to speak the customers you’re after.
The best way to understand your audience is by talking directly to them about their experience. You can do this by sending out crowd surveys and performing research on their habits. Once you have your target market pinned down, understand who they are as people – think of what your brand can do for them, what language it will use to grab their attention, and what methods you will use to communicate with them.
3. Build your narrative
This is where the brand storytelling begins. At this stage, you need to pinpoint the important aspects of your identity and its message, turning it into a story that will resonate with your audience.
When relevant, it’s always good to start from a conflict or struggle that your brand seeks to solve or overcome. Describe what caused you to take action. In general, audiences want to know what made you start your brand.
Next, you should describe how your brand works towards that vision. How do you plan on accomplishing your goals? This part of the brand story should highlight what your brand is doing now, and how it will continue in the future.
Finally, explain how your products will impact people’s lives directly, and in the context of the bigger picture. How will it make their lives better? But also – how will it improve the world?
4. Compose your brand story
Once your brand story story is complete, don’t let it gather dust. Find the right platforms to broadcast it. This might mean posting a series of videos on YouTube, creating posts for social media, landing press articles and interviews with relevant publications, and more.
Each form of media should be optimized for its platform in order to accurately communicate your cause and gain attention. In other words, telling your story using video won’t require the same material as a written article, so you’ll have to create relevant content for each outlet.
Don’t forget to tell a version of your brand’s story on your website, too. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a dedicated About Us page. Remember, your story is a vital part of your brand, and everything your brand does should be in sync with it.
The creation process should begin with your brand story template or plan. It can aid in the organization of your brand story’s must-haves and provide guidance to the creative process needed in crafting a genuinely excellent brand story. We propose that you include the following sections in your plan:
- Introduction: Start by introducing your brand and setting the context for your brand story. Explain what your brand does, who it serves, and what makes it unique.
- Background: Provide some background information about your brand, such as how it was founded, what inspired its creation, and what challenges it has faced along the way. This will help humanize it and establish your authenticity.
- Purpose: Explain the purpose of your brand, including its mission, vision, and values. Describe how your brand seeks to make a difference in the world and what motivates it to do so.
- Unique value proposition: Describe your brand’s unique value proposition and what sets it apart from your competitors. Explain what your brand offers that no one else does and why this is important to your target audience.
- Brand personality: Describe your brand’s personality and tone of voice. Explain how your brand communicates with its target audience and what emotions it seeks to evoke.
- Customer experience: Describe the customer experience your brand offers, including how you treat your customers, how you address their needs, and what kind of support you provide. This should come from your target market research and ongoing research on your current customers.
- Success stories: Share success stories that showcase how your brand has made a difference in the lives of its customers. These stories can be in the form of testimonials, case studies, or videos. Don’t be afraid of multimedia when building your brand story, a variety of content can only make it more appealing.
- Conclusion: Sum up your brand story by restating your brand’s purpose and unique value proposition. Emphasize what sets your brand apart and why your target audience should care. Consider adding ways to distribute your brand story and get it into their sphere of influence in your conclusion.
In theory, any form of AI content generator could be used as a brand story generator if fed the right prompts. But considering the importance of your brand story to your brand and business, we think any AI generator should serve as a first draft only. An effective brand story needs your personal company touch to make it authentic and genuine.